Establishing a bond with grandparents can benefit your child in so many ways. Grandparents can be great role models and influences, providing a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grandparents can also provide extra support by offering extra time for teaching, reinforcing and nurturing. Consider Caillou's regular interactions with his grandparents, or Brother and Sister from the Berenstain Bears. These interactions remind us of the warm feelings many of us feel for grandparents. For some Sproutlets, however, grandma and grandpa don't live just around the corner. For others, school and work schedules may be so jam-packed that there is little time to visit nearby grandparents.
Keep in Touch
Try these ideas for keeping in touch:
- Visit often. If your child's grandparents live nearby, make an effort to schedule time for regular visits. If it feels right, encourage grandparents to drop by your home, too. Plan regular trips to see out-of-town grandmas and grandpas. Even if visits are infrequent, anticipating and planning the next trip can help your child regard that time as special.
- Go digital. Use the telephone and email to talk, write and send pictures and sound files of your growing child to grandparents. If they don't own a computer, send videos of your child in action, like playing a game or interacting with a pet. Or have a grandparent record a reading of a favorite story and play it for your child before at bedtime.
- Say cheese. Post snapshots of grandparents in a prominent spot in your home, and point them out to your child often. Or place family pictures in a special photo album and page through it frequently while naming the family members.
- Send letters. Does your child love receiving mail? Send grandparents a box of stationery and postcards and some stamps and ask them to send your child regular letters. Another way to encourage communication is to have your child write letters every week on the same day -- both kids and grandparents will anticipate the regular communication.
- Share talents. Many grandparents have hobbies or special skills -- such as knitting, woodworking, or cooking -- that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren. Provide kids with the time and tools needed to learn these skills from their grandparents.