As a parent, you know it’s important for your child to have a strong, caring bond with you. But did you know that the child-grandparent relationship can be just as important? According to a study by Boston College, a strong bond between grandparents and grandchildren can reduce symptoms of depression in both groups. Because grandparents often have more free time and are more removed from daily childcare duties than parents, they “give their grandchildren more emotional, time and intellectual capacity,” according to the University of Hradec Kralove, in the Czech Republic.
Here are some tips to help you strengthen the relationship between your child and their grandparents.
Encourage grandparents to share family stories and photos
Children of all ages love a good story, and grandparents are an ideal source of interesting and amusing family stories. Looking through old family photos together is also a good way for your child and their grandparents to bond. Remember, this is their special relationship, so try to have a good sense of humor if your parents unearth an embarrassing childhood photo or story of you.
Many grandparents live far away from their grandchildren, but they can still form a strong relationship. Thanks to technology such as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts, they can talk in real time, face-to-face. If your child’s grandparents prefer the phone, you can encourage your child to phone them whenever they feel like saying hello. Younger children can draw pictures to mail, and older children can send handwritten letters and cards.
Ask grandparents to babysit
Some parents feel like they are imposing when they ask their child’s grandparents to babysit. However, by doing this, you may actually be standing in the way of your child forming a strong, independent bond with their grandparents. So whether it’s for an afternoon or a weekend, leaving your child in the care of their grandparents will allow them to develop a relationship in their own unique way.
Help children and grandparents start new traditions
In a similar vein to having grandparents babysit while you’re out running errands or on holiday, encouraging grandparent-specific activities can also help strengthen the relationship. For example, everyone might enjoy movie night at the grandparents’ house, scrapbooking with grandma, or special Friday dinners with grandpa. Try to let these activity ideas come from your child or their grandparents, so they will look forward to these shared interests.
A strong relationship with your child can help grandparents learn new things about the world and be more open to new ideas. For your child, grandparents can offer them a unique perspective that comes with life experience. The relationship between your child and their grandparents is an important one, and these tips can help you to encourage a strong bond.