The need for this post may surprise you. It’s easy to think that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is inherent; natural; something that blooms and brings the greatest possible joy to both your parents and your children. How could something so wonderful need to be encouraged?
Unfortunately, the truth is that sometimes, the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren does need to helped along. There are a number of reasons for this:
- You no longer live close to your parents, so your children are not accustomed to having their grandparents in their lives. As a result, you may find that your children are shy around your parents and aren’t sure how to act.
- One or both of your parents are no longer living in their own home, but are instead living at Porthaven care homes and similar facilities. This means your kids are unlikely to just be able to pop round to visit Gran as and when they want.
- Finally, your parents may be struggling with physical health issues or dementia, which can make conventional, simple bonding difficult.
If any of the above circumstances apply, you may find that the relationship between your parents and your children isn’t quite as close as you may wish it was. Thankfully, this is an area that you can address— here are a few ideas you may want to consider…
Share a skill
Many children naturally look up to their grandparents as a source of wisdom, so sharing a skill can be a wonderful way of making the most of this tendency. Your parents could teach your children how to cook, or share hobbies such as crafting, gardening, and other low-intensity choices. The actual skill itself is not particularly important; it’s the ability for both your parents and your children to focus on something else, rather than trying to make awkward conversation with one another. Essentially, the skill is a gateway to greater, personal bonding, and this can prove very efficient at helping to bring two very different generations closer together.
Share a story
Most of us can remember our grandparents telling us stories about their lives, and memories of those stories are some of the most cherished we have. However, while a grandchild learning about the life of their grandparent is important, sharing stories should ideally go both ways. Try to encourage your children to share stories with your parents whenever they see them. The stories don’t have to be elaborate; a simple “here’s what I did today” can provide a source of conversation that helps put everyone at ease.
Play board games
Even in an age of video games, there’s still a place for old-fashioned board games. These games give everyone playing something to focus on; as discussed above, this is a great way of allowing a conversation to naturally flow. Additionally, board games are naturally fun; they create a competitive, lighthearted environment that can be just what your parents and children need to let go and relax in one another’s company. We play a lot of board games that involve the whole family. No family member is too young nor too old to enjoy a good game!
The ideas above may help your children and your parents to develop a closer relationship, but it’s important to remember that these things take time. Sometimes, the best thing you can do may be to give your children and your parents the chance to build a relationship at their own pace. Give the above a try, but don’t be afraid to just step back and let things happen naturally, too.