Strengthening bonds between grandparents and grandchildren of all ages is not just a good idea, but it’s critical to family stability.
Your children will find strength in the foundation of family (even more so, as teens and adults) as they know their grandparent(s) on a personal level.
Summer is a GREAT time to take advantage of this opportunity to nurture this relationship with grand kids of ALL ages because there are so many inexpensive and free things to do. Also, being out in nature instantly brings a relaxed and open atmosphere which is perfect for communication – whether it’s the first time you talk, or you chat every day, the outdoors lends a natural setting for open dialogue.
Have you considered that Grandparents have a unique position from that of parents or friends?
This is For Parents:
- Parents who let their children, older kids and teens spend time with grandparents* are wise to promote this connection in anyway possible.
- As a parent, don’t you need a break is sometimes? Having a grandparent(s) for the kids to go visit for even an hour; where the homework battles, the daily duties and necessary responsibilities are set aside for awhile, there is a healthy environment they can thrive in. The reason for this, is they can focus on the relationship, which will prove incredibly valuable as the years go on. Studies show that cognitive and social behavior is greatly improved the more time children, older kids and teens spend with grandparents.
- Grandparent(s) are a pillar of support to you, as a parent, to reinforce the values and guide in the morals you are teaching. In stories and in other ways, give wisdom and tidbits of advice, which balances what you are doing in the home.
- In this day and age of busyness and often living far from relatives, it is vital with the disintegration of the family in our society today, that you do not allow that in your family. By promoting communication with grandparent(s)* the abundance of love, care and attention, that only they can give will pay off immensely as the years roll on.*
This Is For Grandparents:
- Make time for ALL of your grand kids. They are a treasure beyond any gems on the earth! No amount of money can compensate for the cherished time you will spend together.
- I know it can be difficult to deal with the noise, chaos and a bit of a mess that comes with little ones when they visit. However, the energy, love and hugs will far outweigh the temporary inconvenience. They will love you unconditionally and in a way, that no one else can.
- The older kids will open up to you with their problems if you give them the opportunity. They may be dealing with small or large challenges that only you can help them with due to your experience, or that they may trust only to you.
- And teens – they need you! Do not assume that with the changes in technology and life style, that you have nothing in common. Remember, people are people, and the time in history does not change that. We all have emotions, feelings, trials and tests to overcome. They need your wisdom and perspective! Be there for them, they are listening. Don’t lecture, but share and have fun together.
- When they become adults, they will come for to you for advice, look to you as a confidant and a source of comfort. Be there to let them know that things will get better. To persevere, always do the right thing, never compromise values and all will be well.
What do you do if you have grand kids that you do not know as well, or that you don’t ‘connect’ with as easily?
- Pray to know what to do and how to reach them.
- Ask the parents for help of what they like to do, what they like to eat, find something you could have in common.
- Be persistent, but considerate of the person’s personality, as you work to make the relationship strong.
- Don’t be afraid to get out of YOUR comfort zone to open the communication:)
Now, here’s some Summer FUN ideas you can do with the Grand Kids!
Summer is one of my very favorite times of the year. There are so many places to go and tons of FUN to have!
I KNOW it can be difficult to get the family together, with so many schedules, ages and different interests, but I hope you will take on this CHALLENGE –
- Do something with each and everyone one of your great-grand kids THIS summer
- Do something with each and everyone of your grand kids THIS summer
- Do something with each and everyone of your kids, if you have them THIS summer
It may take a lot of effort to accomplish this little challenge, depending on location and availability, but it will be worth all the effort even it it is not apparent at the first.
Here are a few ideas of things to do:
- Skype with grand kids. If the children are young, read them a short picture book via Skype. If they are older have some jokes on hand (check out the local library or bookstore for a good one)
- Play a board game
- Have a little party at your house, just simple with one or two of them. Another grandma I get to share my grandkids with did facepainting! How fun is that!!!
- If you can’t get everyone together at one time, still spend time with each one somehow that fits into your budget and health.
- Lunch or breakfast at your house, or at a restaurant, with a smaller group gives the opportunity for visiting.
- Go to the park and feed the ducks and play on the play ground.
- Visit an outdoor garden or easy trail to walk.
- Play an internet game at a set time once a week – you can agree on one that is fun and appropriate for both of you.
- Go to the zoo.
- Visit an aquarium.
- Take them to a water park, or a splash pad.
- A museum geared for children, or older, depending on the age of grand kid. Many are free and afterwards get an ice cream cone or small treat.
- See a play – serious or fun.
- Go fishing.
- Go bowling.
- Go on a bike ride together.
- Go on a hike or an easy to walk trail.
- Play the X-Box/gaming system together for a set time with the condition they walk around the block with you afterwards. You will have something to talk about, maybe your poor ‘gaming’ skills?? But hey, you can laugh together about it and have that in common.
- Sports such as tennis, 4-square (does anyone play that anymore?), hop scotch, you can come up with great ideas to ‘challenge’ them with.
- This list could go on for pages and pages
- Most important – do NOT, I repeat, do NOT give up!!
Some family members are more receptive to strengthening relationships and bonds within the family, and some may be a bit more resistant. Keep at it, keep inviting, keep loving and be patient.
Take the opportunity to be with your family of ALL ages.
We share grand kids with Derek and Donna Jaco. These two are very supportive of all of their grand kids and enjoy being involved in all they do.
Dinners and get-together s with all the grand kids are cherished events for the Jaco’s.
And, we share a brand new grandson!
Another set of grandparents we share with are amazing and so incredibly creative! They can make anything – seriously – you can’t believe the elaborate FUN parties!!!
One of the events they enjoy doing with the grand kids is –
Face painting for any holiday, or just because!
We also share a couple of grand daughters with another set of grandparents who are really fabulous. That Grandpa enjoys taking them into the garden and picking the delicious produce he grows. The Grandma is an extremely talented musician and teacher. She reads to them and sits with them at the piano either playing alongside, or helping move their fingers along the keys as they learn how it sounds. Tremendous people!
It’s never too early – or too late – to build a strong family foundation.
Relationships are spending time, talking, laughing and simply being together. That’s how communication flows, and love deepens. Enjoy your family today, and everyday!!!
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2017
*Disclaimer: If there are issues with grandparent(s) or any family members, that could harm a marriage or children, you may want to seek professional help, or counsel as needed.
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.