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4 Ways to Help Grandparents Feel Involved

posted: 04/06/16
by: Katie Morton
Grandparents With Children Enjoying Outdoor Barbecue
iStock

The bond grandparents share with their grandchildren is a special one. While many grandparents would love to be closely involved in their grandchildren's lives, factors such as distance or health challenges can make it difficult. However, keeping your parents involved in your kids' lives is important (even if the relationship can be tricky, sometimes). And, the good news is, there are lots of ways to make grandparents feel close to their grandkids, even if they don't live right around the corner.

Schedule video calls

Video chatting software, such as Skype or Apple's FaceTime, makes face-to-face interactions with the grandkids easier than ever. The best part is that all ages can participate in video calls, from infants to teens. While young babies may not be able to communicate verbally, they love looking at faces, so even an infant can benefit from scheduled video dates with their grandma and grandpa.

Create shared experiences

As your children get older, grandparents can use video chat to participate and interact with the kids in age-appropriate ways. One idea is to buy two copies of the same book. Your child can have one copy, and grandma and grandpa the other. Your parents can then set a weekly date to read aloud to their grandchild--creating a special activity they'll both look forward to week after week.

Encourage meaningful time together

When grandparents are in town, or you take the kids to their home for a visit, allow your child to have alone time with his/her grandparents. One way to create a bond is to suggest an activity that both generations enjoy, such as preparing a meal together, playing a card game, sewing or knitting, gardening, or working in the garage on the cars. Whatever activities your parents enjoy in their leisure time can be shared with their grandchildren--allowing your parents to feel important as they teach their grandchild a new skill.

Scrapbook with family photos

Part of aging is looking back on the time we've spent on earth. Collecting old photographs to put together in a family scrapbook can be an activity that the whole family enjoys. As you scrapbook, encourage your parents to tell the children about their heritage and family. Passing down family stories from generation to generation is a way to honor your history and keep memories alive.

Know that children benefit from time spent with their grandmother and grandfather. The bonds of family grow with each visit, phone call, and video session, so make the effort to include your children's grandparents. The multigenerational lifelong relationship will enrich all of their lives and create memories that will last for a lifetime.