The Importance of Grandparents in a Child’s Life
What would you do if you never knew your grandparents? Do you think there might be a void in your heart because you wonder what they would be like? You look at those great portraits of your stoic great ancestors on the family picture wall and you wonder what life would have been like for them. Grandparents are very important in a child’s life. They are great teachers of history, they give mom and dad a break when they want a night away from the baby. Don’t forget all the great smells at grandma and grandpa’s house. The smell of warm cookies, a hint of hot chocolate, a glass of cold milk and best of all the spoiling that grandparents do to their grandchildren. Grandparents are the ones that teach family traditions. Children should know their family history and where they came from. It’s important for children to know their heritage. Different nationalities have different traditions and family festivities and the different types of food are a great learning experience for children.
The role grandparents play is important and often indirect. Most of the significance of grandparents to grandchildren is seen through the support and help they give to their parents. Grandparents are seen as the mediators of the family. Sometimes they call them the family arbitrators, watchdogs, roots, and supporters. Grandparents have a lot to offer the whole family.
For parents, they provide support and a link to family history and traditions. For the grandchildren, grandparents are another adult role model. Grandparents are removed from the discipline of everyday living so they can be a good listening ear for a middle schooler or very playful with the younger children. The opportunity of grandparents together supports the nucleus of the family, while allowing children to grow and develop healthy interests. It’s important if grandparents live close to set aside some time so that the grandparents can be part of your child’s routine. Frequent interactions between children and their grandparents strengthen the bonds and make it easier for parents to create clear roles and certain expectations from each other.
In some cases, there are grandparents that live far away, but you can still include them in your child’s life because we are lucky we live in an age where children can have a video chat quite frequently with their grandparents. There is email, cell phones, texting and easy shipping all over the world. It’s a good idea to encourage long-distance grandparents to find ways that work best for them to stay connected with your children.
Sometimes tragedy strikes at a young age and children don’t have their grandparents around anymore or they can’t be a part of their lives. This is where you can become creative and see if there are other ways for your child to benefit from different generations of relationships. You might have an elderly neighbor, a great aunt, and uncle, or a friend of the family that would love to get to know your child and share life’s different perspectives with them. These relationships can be just as important and healthy for your child because they are provided with an older mentor. Mentors also can broaden their perspective and support your child’s development.
Whether you live a few hours away or a plane ride away, it can be hard to feel like you are a part of your family’s life. There are some unique ways to connect with your grandparents and this connection helps them with their health in general. It’s been said that the more connected one is to family, the happier people are. This goes especially for grandparents. They were as young as our children were at one time and you want to make them feel important even in their elderly years. Spending time with a grandchild bonds both of them as well as the whole family.
Here are Six Ideas that are sure to Prompt some fun for both Grandparent and child:
Long distance doodling
If you live too far away to arrange a quick visit with a grandparent, all you need is the internet or an email account and take a visit to Scoot and Doodle on Hangouts. You can instantly start drawing face to face with your grandchild. This way you create memories and remember all the fun things you did.
Share something you care about
One grandmother decided to create a “Grandma Money Camp” to teach her grandchildren all the ways to be fiscally thrifty. This grandmother decided to visit her grandchildren who lived a few hundred miles away one summer for a full week of fun and money talk. She chose money-themed songs, books about saving money and created a play store. She even decides to start a car wash for herself and her grandchildren to earn some money. Next year she is talking about setting up a lemonade stand and visiting local businesses.
Read the same Books
Read some books your grandchildren are interested in and you will find a unique way to bond together. You can then discuss some of the books you read over the phone with your grandchildren. It makes a great conversation and kids open up more when they feel comfortable about a passion they are interested in.
Build something together
You may live a thousand miles away from your grandchild so you might have to get a little creative about how you will spend your time together. One grandparent decided to start sending items he could build with his grandchild. He shipped items that were not assembled and then built it for his grandchild a few days after he arrived. He built his grandchild a solid oak wagon. He then decided to invite his grandchild to help him repair a chair his son had left outside. Grandpa said that doing these projects together helped them bond immensely.
Capture memories in a sketchbook
Another grandmother decided to buy a sketchbook that she would work on with her grandsons. She took markers, stickers, and the sketchbook and whenever she flew out to see them, they would draw together and date the page. She named this “The Art Together Project” and says it works best between the ages of 3 and 10 years old. Now she claims that the boys have at least 2 books and she always takes the books home with her with a promise to bring them back when they turn 21. Now at 21, they love to look at each of the pages they created with their grandmother.
Star in your own fairytale and read one
Just about all of you can read a fairy tale to your grandchildren but starring in one with both of you is something you must try. One grandmother created a fairytale book with her granddaughter. They personalized it and used both their names as the main characters. They both enjoyed reading the book together when grandma visits. Grandma knows that her granddaughter’s parents enjoy reading the book to her granddaughter at bedtime when she misses her grandma. You can also record your voice as a grandparent and read a book to your grandchild so when they miss you, they can listen to your voice.
Grandparents can be creative and bridge these long-distance relationships with their grandchildren with different ways to keep grandma, grandpa and the family together.