If you have grandchildren, you probably remember the birth of your first grandchild. You immediately went from being a parent to a grandparent. Your role as a parent doesn't disappear, but now you are known as grandma or grandpa.
Many people become just as excited and proud of your grandson or granddaughter as your own children. Building a solid relationship with your grandchildren will be your primary goal.
You might think that building a strong bond with your grandchildren can feel challenging with generational differences, but it's not so hard. Think about it, you get all the fun of being a parent, yet you get to walk away for the harder stuff. You get all the joy with less responsibility.
Your job as a grandparent is less about providing discipline and rules and regulations; it is more about sharing time and sharing love.
It can be intimidating trying to relate to your grandchildren. It is easier when they are very young, but as your grandchildren get older, the large age gap can make it harder to relate. Don't forget this universal truth, there is a unique and powerful connection between grandparents and grandchildren not seen in any other relationship.
Be Present in Their Life
That facetime with your grandchild is vital. Some grandparents may have been lucky to be there when their grandchildren were born. Staying in their lives regularly will build that relationship. Hopefully, you have maintained a strong relationship with your adult children and their spouse to build upon the ties with your grandchildren.
You should see your grandchildren often without interfering with your children's lives if you live close by. There are benefits for the grandkids to have their grandparents involved early in their lives. Research has shown that infants are capable of forming multiple attachments, and it benefits their development.
Engaging in creative or exciting activities is an effortless way to be in your grandchildren's lives and strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchild.
First, grandchildren usually enjoy seeing their grandparents. Your mere presence in their lives is a positive. Depending on the ages of the grandkids and the overall health and mobility of the grandparent, there are numerous activities you can enjoy.
Younger grandparents can take their grandkids to lunch, the park, the movie theater, and so much more. Spending quality time with your grandchildren is rewarding for everyone.
For older grandparents or those with mobility or health problems, you can do many fun at-home activities with your grandchildren, like puzzles.
As your grandchildren get older, you can share with them your hobbies. Things like cooking, fishing, watching or playing sports, hiking, and arts and crafts can be taught and shared with your grandchildren.
As you likely know, technology is one of the main ways younger people connect and communicate with others. Even at young ages, kids today are glued to technology and communicate through technology.
If you're still struggling with mastering your phone, now is your time to learn. Moreover, you should consider downloading some social media apps so you can communicate with them through avenues other than calling and texting. Doing this will open up a world of possibilities for staying connected with your grandchildren.
If you live apart, video chats, for example, are ways you can share time and catch up.
Just Be There
We constantly underestimate the strength of presence. One of the best ways to build a strong bond with your grandchildren is by just being there. Make an effort to attend as many sports, recitals, graduations, and get-togethers as possible.
Kids grow up fast; before you know it, they're adults. If you aren't already, get involved in their lives. Don't forget, grandparents get older too. Today grandparents can be in their 50s and older. But as your grandchildren get older, so do you. You want to take advantage of your good health and mobility for as long as possible and enjoy your time with your grandchildren. Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Plus, when you are with your grandchildren, it does give the parents a break. You probably remember how little time you had for yourself when you were a young parent.
Benefits of Being an Active Grandparent
If you are an active grandparent, there are many benefits for you. Not that it is all about you - but active grandparents have less depression and anxiety, increased mental alertness, and brain function.
Everyone benefits from active grandparents. According to Cleveland Clinic family medicine physician Neha Vyas, M.D., chasing after little ones can be beneficial.
We have noticed that grandparents who are involved in grandchildren, or surrogate grandchildren's lives, are more active." They are entering their elderly years without as many aches and pains, because they have something that keeps them young and keeps them mobile.
Dr. Neha Vyas
Plus, research shows that kids who spend a lot of time with grandma and grandpa tend to have fewer emotional and behavioral problems. The benefits are abundant when grandparents visit their grandchildren in their home or when grandkids go to grandma and grandpa's house.
There is some unconditional love between grandparents and grandchildren and when they go to grandma and grandpa's house the rules may change, and that's okay. As long as they're temporary. Kids are good at compartmentalizing and realizing that there may be some rules that apply in one person's house, and other rules that apply in their parents' house.
Dr. Neha Vyas
Don't look back at lost opportunities. Your grandchildren will be young for only a short time. Take advantage of that time when you can best be involved in their life.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
Life evolves over time. You finish school, get a job, start a family, and start thinking about retirement. As you get older, you gain new responsibilities if you are lucky enough to be a grandparent.
Life does start to catch up with us, and we begin to slow down physically and mentally. Some people age more quickly than others. We all will experience a decline in our health. We start to have mobility problems. Some of us will become 'forgetful.' Some will get old and frail.
Aging happens, and the question is, are we prepared for the consequences of longevity and changing health? Too many of us want to ignore the problem or, even worse, become in denial of the reality of life.
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Does Mom or Dad Need Help Now?
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If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
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Advantages of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well.
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- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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