The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:
Whether your parents and in-laws are close or far, grandparents can be an important part of your kids’ lives. Understanding that every family has its quirks, I think that most of us agree, we want our children to have a good relationship with our parents if at all possible. With busy schedules and families living many miles apart, it can be a challenge.
Here are some ways to encourage those connections.
Tips to Assist the Grandparents:
1. Feed your parents specific information about with your kids’ lives. They may know that Luke is interested in basketball, but that general topic may not last long in a conversation. However, if they know that Luke’s favorites are the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Bullets, they can look in the newspaper for statistics or game highlights to discuss.
2. E-mail or mail them the school’s newsletters. Highlight the activities that most interest your children.
3. If your parents have a computer, give them a webcam. Teach them how to make video calls on Skype. Both your parents and kids will feel like they’ve had a visit when they connect visually.
4. If they aren’t tech-savvy, teach your parents the specific skills they need to communicate through e-mail.
5. If computers aren’t an option, help your parents start a “chain letter.” Mail letters back and forth in which questions from your parents are answered on the same page. If your kids are small or don’t like to write, let them dictate their answers for you to record. Include pre-addressed, stamped envelopes if money is tight for your parents.
6. Invite them to any event they can possibly attend. Let them know they aren’t expected at every one, just that they are welcome.
Tips for Your Kids’ Side of the Relationship:
7. If the grandparents live far away, take photos every time your kids are with them. Hang these in your child’s room and on the fridge. Your children will feel more comfortable talking to a familiar face.
8. Talk about your parents’ positive qualities. Save the criticism for times when their easily-influenced ears are out of range.
9. Share the good memories you have about your parents from your childhood. It will help your kids realize the investment that your parents have made in the family.
10. Have your children make small gifts for your parents. Seeing their creations – such as bookmarks, pencil holders and pictures – when they visit their grandparents, will remind your kids of the special place they have in their grandparents’ hearts.
How connected are your kids to their grandparents? What ideas do you have to cultivate those relationships?
|Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.|