Creative Child

Fostering Your Children’s Important Bond with Their Grandparents

by Sarah Lyons

Growing up I had a close relationship with my grandparents and have wonderful memories of our time together. My grandma loved to teach me about plants, to play card games, and to cook together. My grandpa took me camping, fishing, and was always sneaking us extra dessert. Grandparents and their grandchildren have a special bond. This will look different for each family but there are some ways you can build and encourage the bond between your kids and their grandparents.

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Encourage time together

Time spent together will help grandparents and grandchildren to bond naturally. This will look different for each family but some ideas could include cooking together, running errands, attending the child’s sporting events or school activities, going to the park, playing board games, going to a movie, sitting and talking, or going out to dinner. Some grandparents find that having a set time assures they have time with their grandchildren. For example, every Saturday morning you go to breakfast or every Tuesday they babysit while the parents have a date night. If you do not live in the same city, try using a phone or video call at a set time each week. The nice thing about weekly calls is that it allows for following up on the things the next week.  Giving your child talking points can help the conversation flow better. If you know your parent is struggling with things to talk about with your child, send them a quick text reminding them to ask about the big math test or how the playdate went. These are some  good examples of ways parents can facilitate the bond between their grandparents from a long distance. 

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Let the parents handle discipline

A common source of conflict between parents and grandparents can be discipline of children. Grandparents may have different disciplinary styles or feel different behaviors deserve reprimanding. Let grandparents know that, in most situations, you will be responsible for any discipline needed. This allows grandparents to enjoy the fun aspects of time with the kids. When bringing up the subject, be kind and patient and explain that you don’t want anything to come between the kids and their grandparents and the special relationship they have. If discipline must be handled by the grandparent, they should try to stay as close to the parents disciplinary style as possible or delay punishment for when the parents return.

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