Nothing compares to a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchildren. The special bond connects two very different generations without many of the typical tensions that arise between parents and their children. But today, even grandparents who live close to their grandchildren may not be able to connect in person because of the current risks. However, there are still many ways to nurture meaningful relationships and create lifelong memories. The following ideas will help you build a special bond not only during these times, but well after “normal” life returns.
Get Comfortable with Technology
Technology has been a godsend for families, enabling people to “visit” their loved ones face to face through FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or Messenger. You may have already checked in with loved ones this way, but remember: younger generations have been extremely tech-savvy for a long time. If you have the ability to connect with grandchildren over an internet-enabled device, set up regular times to do so, showing them that you care enough to make the effort to meet them on "their turf”!
Focus on One Grandkid at a Time
If you have several grandkids, connecting with them in one fell swoop, whether through a call or in-person visit, is easiest. However, it is worth carving out some regular one-on-one time with individual grandchildren so that each one can feel special and valued. Also, without the chaos that comes with many sibling relationships, you will undoubtedly have a chance to cut through the noise and get into deeper conversations.
Start a Book Club
Find a book that both you and your grandchild would enjoy—perhaps a quirky read from your childhood days or a graphic novel set in an earlier time period from your life. (Stumped? Call or visit your local library for suggestions.) Schedule a call or visit with your grandchild every few chapters or so to discuss your thoughts and reactions. Have a younger child in your life? Use your book club time to read to them, or allow them to show off their growing reading skills to you!
Teach One Another
With your grandchild, come up with two lists of favorite activities: theirs and yours. Choose a few from each list to teach to one another, switching off month to month. For example, if your teen granddaughter enjoys experimenting with eye makeup, she can demonstrate how to get today’s fresh new look. (Don’t be afraid of letting yourself go a little wild!) If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, you can take a session to teach her some basic steps. Who knows—both of you may end up developing new hobbies you enjoy!
During these times of finding new ways to connect, the art of letter writing may be making a comeback. Start a pen pal relationship with your grandchild. There is something in the intimacy of putting pen to paper that just can’t be replaced with a keyboard. Use the opportunity to send (and invite) little touches of TLC, such as drawings, photographs, and stickers.
Playing games, hosting “mock” interviews, and bonding over TV shows or movie recaps are more ways to get creative with conversations—the possibilities are endless. Let this list jumpstart your creative juices and allow your own ideas to lend to a blossoming between the generations.
Learn more about Danbury Senior Living and how we cherish our residents and their families.