This is a collaborative post and therefore does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of this blog or its author.
They say that age is just a number, and this couldn’t be truer. If you have kids and they don’t really have a relationship with their grandparents then there is absolutely something that you can do about this, and it is a great way for you to make sure that they don’t grow lonely through not having enough social contact. Grandparents are able to fill a unique role in a child’s life, and they can also provide incredible insight into family history. If you know that your child and your parents are not that close, however, then there are things that you can do to try and encourage both of them to get to know each other.
Relationships require nurturing and you will also have to give it plenty of attention. You need to make sure that you do your part by having plenty of chances for them to interact. This can be in person, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, just showing your parent the artwork that your child made at school that day is more than enough for you to build a great conversation point and the value that your child can take away from this is incomparable. If you have a dispute with your former in-laws because you have gone through a divorce then it’s important that you put all of this to one side so that you can focus on the health of your child. Everyone will be happier for it, and even though your child and your in-laws may not see eye to eye right away, it is a relationship that is well worth building.
Set your Limits
One problem that a lot of people have is they find that grandparents can be overbearing when it comes to parenting. You need to make sure that you enforce rules with your children and with your parents as well. The last thing that you need is for them to try and impose their own child-raising methods. If you want to avoid this then make sure that they are aware of how they could undermine your own parenting methods, and that you don’t want to confuse the children. You also need to tell them how much you value their relationship, and that you are doing everything you can to give them the support that they need.
It’s not uncommon for grandparents to live very far away. You may need to have more creativity when it comes to this. You can try and visit them from time to time and it also helps to stay on the phone with them as well. This will help you to maintain strong contact with them and it will also encourage your kids to do the same. If your parents are able to use technology then consider setting up a video chat so that you can get the entire family on the screen. This is a great way for you to involve everyone and it is also a great way for you to really make sure that everyone is able to talk.
Your children will outlive their grandparents, so you need to try and build memories that are able to sustain your children in the future. It helps to encourage them and it also helps to encourage activities as well so that you can have a concrete reminder of the time that everyone spent together. Try and take lots of photographs and make sure that your children are aware of how special this time is. This is something that you won’t regret and it can really be a stepping stone for your children so that they can look back and build even more meaningful relationships with other people in the family as well.
Your Parents will Have Limitations
Your children may find it hard to understand that their grandparents will tire much faster when compared to other family members. It is worth having a chat with them so that they understand the way that they walk. It also helps to avoid burdening your grandparents with child care more than you have to because even though this gives them time to spend with the kids, it can really cause them to have such little energy by the end that they can’t enjoy it. You need to take into account their emotional limits as well. If you know that you constantly have to check in on a grandparent to make sure that they are okay then this can drain on your emotional health as well, so it is a good idea to try and get some outside support so that you can lessen the burden on both yourself and on them. You can find more info on that by using the link.
Don’t be Jealous
A child will most likely develop a very close relationship with their grandparents and at times they may even prefer the grandparent to you. You need to know that your child still loves you unconditionally and that the love that they have for you is not at all comparable to the love that they have for their grandparents. You have to make sure that you don’t allow your own disputes with your own in-laws to disrupt the relationship that your children have with their grandparents either.
The time that we have with the elderly is somewhat limited and it can even be complicated by mental or even physical declines. It can be very hard to explain to a child what dementia is and it can also be hard for them to have the love and respect they once had as well. You need to take note that illness and even death can have a very different impact on children and they may even develop behavioral problems or become reclusive when they go through something like this. The only thing that you can do here is to make sure that you give them the support that they need and also discuss any happy or sad feelings that they have.
If you want to give your child an older influence but they don’t have any grandparents, why not volunteer your time and take your kids to visit some of your elderly neighbors? This is a great way for you to build meaningful relationships while also supporting others.