The grandparent-grandchild relationship can be one of the most rewarding bonds one can experience. A grandparent can play a significant role in a child’s social and mental development and can act as a trusted confidant. In fact, many adults who strongly bonded with their grandparents as children continue to keep in touch and spend time together — even if the grandparents and grandchild live thousands of miles apart.
But you can’t take a relationship for granted just because you are related to each other. It takes work and time to develop a bond with grandchildren, especially if they live far away. Learn how you can overcome physical distance to create a great relationship with your grandchildren.
Communication is key in any relationship, especially in a long distance one. If in-person time is limited due to living farther away, you can still make an effort to communicate with your grandchildren over the phone or through video chat. However, these conversations need to be more than asking your grandchildren “Hi, how are you?” Use effective communication techniques so you can have worthwhile conversations with your grandchildren.
Tips for effective communication:
- Talk about their interests. Before beginning a conversation, take time to research their interests. Then start or steer a conversation towards their interests. This can help shy grandkids open up faster. Continue the conversation after you’re done speaking by sending your grandkids social media posts, articles or gifts related to topics you discussed.
- Practice active listening. This listening skill set can help establish a quick rapport with your grandkids. Active listening includes paying active attention when another person is speaking, giving non judgemental feedback and displaying genuine empathy or concern.
- Schedule weekly calls. Consistent conversations will help your relationship. A set day and time can help establish a routine, building trust and showing your grandchildren you genuinely want a relationship.
With these techniques, you can create a lasting bond with your grandchildren.
Be Supportive and Get involved
The support of a grandparent can mean the world to a grandchild. Many older adults establish wonderful bonds with their grandchildren by being supportive. Encourage your grandchild to tell you what they are learning in school. Are they struggling with any subjects? How can you help?
If your grandchildren are on the younger side, ask their parents what’s the best way to be more supportive. This could mean helping the children with homework in a virtual video call or letting them call you to vent after a hard day.
If your grandchildren open up to you about your problems, remember to be empathetic and non judgemental. You may not agree with your grandchild’s decisions, but being open and curious about their choices can help strengthen your bond.
Plan a Trip
Another way to spend quality time with your grandchildren is to go on a trip together. If you know they have an affinity for Japanese culture or love Italian food, suggest vacations to these countries. This can be a family trip that includes everyone or a special trip with just you and your grandkids. Together you can explore new cultures and cuisines and learn to see the world from each other’s point of view. If international travel is not possible, you also plan a short day trip to local attractions in their city or in your area. Traveling together can create a memorable experience that your grandchildren will always remember fondly.
Connect With Your Grandchildren at Claridge Court
Communities like Claridge Court are very welcoming to family and friends of residents and there’s plenty of things to do with grandchildren when they come over for a visit. Treat them to delicious meals prepared by award-winning chefs, get a makeover at our salon, stroll through our beautiful gardens, meet friendly residents or host a birthday party in your elegant apartment. If your grandkids want to explore the surrounding Prairie Village neighborhood, you can book our transportation services to drive you around.