A strong bond between grandparents and grandchildren brings many benefits that flow both ways. A good relationship with your grandchild can provide them with the life skills and worldly wisdom as well as a strong sense of family values.
And grandparents can learn from grandchildren too – watching the grandchildren grow and develop can reconnect you with your inner child and remind you of the important things in life.
So no matter if your grandchildren are only a street away or an entire continent, here’s our tips for maximizing your time together to build a very special bond.
Quality Time Indoors
Indoor activities provide a wealth of opportunities for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren. From art projects to sharing family history, hands-on activities help bridge the generational gap while also having fun.
- Teach each other a new activity: Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to set up a blog, while your grandchild wants to learn how to sew. Spend an afternoon teaching each other a skill, craft or hobby — then work together on your new skills. You can gain a new skill, while also sharing a project that interests you.
- Start a project together: If you have shared interests, consider working together on a long-term project. Knitting, baking,cooking or working on a blog focusing on your family are all great indoor activities that you can do together. By starting a long-term project with your grandchild, you have an activity that will provide countless hours of fun together.
- Have one-on-one time together: If possible, spend time with one grandchild at a time and do something special together. See a movie, go out for lunch or have a sleepover to get to know each other without other distractions.
- Travel back in time: Through old family photos, teach your grandchildren your family’s history with funny stories and favorite family recipes. To make a permanent recording, you and your grandchild can write your family’s history on stationery, or record it as a video. If you aren’t sure of your family history, now is the perfect time to research your family tree together.
Spending Time Outside
When the weather is nice, head outside with your grandchild. Need ideas? The following tips will help you create meaningful memories together.
- Plant something: Select a flower, tree or vegetable to plant together in your yard. If you live in an area with a cold climate, opt for planting kitchen herbs like parsley or chives indoors in a small pot. Discuss your plans for the plant together; will you pick the flowers, use the tree for shade or share the vegetables with your neighbors? You can teach your grandchild how to care for plants, as well as to have a physical reminder of your time spent together.
- Have a picnic: Pack up a basket and head outdoors for a fun lunch or early dinner al fresco. Include a pleasant stroll through the woods or head to a park you haven’t explored yet for a fun time. If possible, pack toys like a Frisbee or soccer ball, or bring a magnifying glass to get up close and personal with insects and flowers in your area. In addition to the fresh air and a bit of exercise, you can use the time together to learn about your grandchild’s interests.
- Go outside for produce: Head to a local apple orchard or farmers’ market with your grandchild. Together, select seasonal produce like apples, butternut squash and pumpkins in the fall or melons, peaches and plums in the summer, then head indoors and search for recipes featuring your finds. Use this as an opportunity to share family recipes and create a fun annual tradition with your grandchild in the process.
Being the Best Long-distance Grandparent
For grandparents who live a significant distance from their grandchildren, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected and bond. From old-fashioned to high-tech, you can find ways to communicate that will help you get to know your grandchild.
- Use the phone If possible, call your grandchild to chat about school, the weather, upcoming projects and favorite sports teams. To make the phone call special, designate a set time every week where you can call each other. The set time also instils in you — and your grandchild — the importance of the phone call.
- Keep in touch online With the click of a mouse, email your grandchild jokes, family stories and pictures. A quick email that says you care about each other can make the world of difference. You can also keep in touch with your pre-teen or teenage grandchildren by friending them on Facebook or following them on Twitter.
- Be high-tech with video chat Do you want to watch your grandson take his first steps or see your granddaughter show off her latest masterpiece? With video chat programs like Skype, Google Hangout and FaceTime, you can see your grandchild and get a glimpse into their everyday lives without having to worry about running up the phone bill. Video chat also makes it possible for you to read a bedtime story to your grandchild, further cementing your bond.
- Play games online Even though you can’t play board games at the kitchen table together, gaming apps are the next best thing. From Words with Friends to Monopoly, you and your grandchild can still play together.
- Use snail mail to keep in touch Exchange letters, postcards and small care packages in the mail with your grandchild. Write about your day, share a favorite family recipe or a copy of a special photograph, or send a batch of homemade cookies for your grandchildren to enjoy. Your grandchild — and you — will enjoy receiving something fun in the mail.
Through a variety of activities, you and your grandchild can spend quality time and get to know each other better in special, shared time together.
Grandparents – let us know how you stay connected to your grandchildren by leaving a comment below.