When you have kids, one of the most important things that comes to mind is creating a strong family structure. Whether you’re a brand new parent and you’re looking to plan out the trajectory of your kids’ grandparent relationships or you’ve had kids for many years and you’re looking to strengthen your family’s bonds, it’s never too early or too late to make sure that your kids have a great rapport with their grandma. While every family is different, there are so many options to explore for building a positive family structure with every relationship and support system in mind.
From planning visits to utilizing technology, you can build relationships between your kids and Grandma in so many different ways. Each relationship is different, and that includes your parents and your children. Like the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and your parents deserve to be a part of that village, and your child deserves that, too. Here are nine ways you can encourage your kids to be BFFs with Grandma.
Stay Nearby — if Possible
Of course, there are so many factors that come into play when choosing where to raise your family. While there are ways to navigate physical distance and make compromises about the amount of distance you have between your parents and your own family, physical proximity can make having a relationship with your parents much easier.
Whether you’re near or far away from your parents, seeing them as often as possible is one of the best ways to get your kids to acclimate to a true relationship with their grandparents. If you’re close, that might mean visiting a few times a week, but if you’re a bit further away, you can always plan slightly longer visits every few weeks.
If you’re truly far away from your parents but you still want to stay connected, using technology is one of the best ways to keep in touch. While your parents might not be the most technologically educated, that could be a great opportunity for you — or your kids — to show them how to use the technology necessary to make a meaningful connection. From video chats to social media or even old fashioned phone calls, the modern era has so many great ways to stay connected.
Pass Down Family Traditions
When it comes to family connections, one of the best ways to create bonds is through shared family traditions. This is a great way for you to get involved in the relationship between Grandma and the kids, while also allowing their relationship to flourish independently.
Start New Traditions
While old family traditions are a huge part of bridging a relationship between your kids and your parents, another great way to make sure your kids are BFFs with Grandma is to start new traditions that are unique to them. They can be anything from game nights to making a special dish together!
Make a Routine Out of Seeing Each Other
Whether you’re miles away or just down the block, one of the things that can help to foster relationships with grandparents is to make a routine out of seeing one another, that way it floats effortlessly into your schedule. Especially with older individuals, leaning on routine and community can be helpful to their well being. When you create a routine out of spending time together, it can become much easier to feel close.
Send Each Other Mail
Sending snail mail can be a great way to connect with those who are far away. Kids and adults alike often love having pen-pals, so if this idea strikes your kids’ fancy — or your parents’ fancy — you can give a pen pal arrangement a try!
Encourage Emotional Bonding
If your kids are already close with Grandma — or Grandpa, for that matter — encouraging emotional bonding and honesty is a great way to build a closer relationship that can truly feel supportive for both your kids as they grow and for your parents as they age. While some grandparents are close, your kids can have a truly bonded, healthy relationship.
Let Them Babysit
As a parent, you might need some time to yourself every once in a while, and having the grandparents in the picture can be a great way to achieve that while building the grandparent-grandchild relationship. While not all grandparents are able to babysit safely, if they can, try it out and see how it goes!
Making Sure Grandparents and Kids are BFFs
While every family and relationship is different, you can start to build a happy, healthy foundation for positive relationships any time you want. Whether you start by planning more visits, starting traditions or encouraging babysitting, involving your child’s grandparents in their lives can be a beautiful thing.
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