How to be an Engaged and Supportive Grandparent
There are currently about 70 million grandparents in the United States today. Many would agree that becoming a grandparent is an amazing experience. In fact, it’s a highly uplifting, stimulating, and adventurous journey filled with so much love, laughter, joy, and excitement– both for a grandchild and a grandparent. No wonder, so many older adults are looking forward to becoming grandparents and spending time with the little ones, while encouraging them to learn, grow, be the best they can be, and live their lives to the fullest. What can be more fulfilling than that?
One thing is for sure: Your role as a grandparent is a crucial one as it helps provide children with added safety and security, as well as life lessons. More likely than not, the memories you create together will be relished for generations to come. Therefore, a lot of mature adults embrace this responsibility with an open mind and deeply appreciate the role of a wise, supportive, and dedicated grandparent.
So, how do you build meaningful and fulfilling relationships with the youngsters? Is there a way to overcome the age difference and enjoy amazing and stimulating relationships with your grandkids?
We hope a few pointers below will be of great help and serve as an inspiration for establishing strong bonds with the most important people in your life - your grandchildren.
- Be present
When it comes to building relationships with your grandkids, being present in their lives is of paramount importance. Don’t let the age difference become a barrier to establishing a strong bond and spending a lot of quality time together. Encourage them to open up and share their deepest secrets or biggest concerns with you. Make sure they are fully aware that you see their potential, genuinely care about everything they do, and believe in their ability to succeed. Remind them how special, unique, or amazing they are and how much you love them and cherish the time you spend together. Your presence can make a world of difference and potentially bring out the best in them.
- Show genuine support for their interests
To ensure you are on the same page with your grandchildren, always ask about their day and try to learn as much as possible about their schoolwork, classmates, friends, or even the pop idols they worship. How about spending some time jamming to Taylor Swift’s songs together and discussing her lyrics? If your grandchild enjoys skiing, rollerblading, or playing soccer, now may be a great time to expand your horizons and learn about sports. If your grandchild is into art, why not attend an art show or visit a museum together? In other words, show sincere interest in their hobbies, passions, and aspirations, give them your undivided attention each time you get together, and try to understand what sparks their enthusiasm. Make sure they are fully aware that you will always be their biggest supporter, fan, and confidant. Imagine how it may impact their self-esteem for years to come.
- Enjoy special occasions
Consider something both you and your grandchild enjoy the most – that can become your “thing”. It’s something you can do together while building a special connection and having fun. From making pasta to going on a trip, revisiting photo albums or learning a new skill together, these activities will enhance your interactions and create amazing memories that will last a lifetime. Why not create a one-on-one book club, engage in photography, crafting, painting or embrace any other creative hobby appropriate for people of all ages. See what it can do to your mind, your heart, and your soul…and most importantly, your relationship with your grandchild.
- Time to get technical
It goes without saying that older Americans are a bit intimidated by the prospect of embracing technology. Sadly, many of them try to avoid some important technical terms, devices, or tools which may preclude them from building a special connection with grandchildren. If your grandchild lives in a different city or state, you will benefit from using some advanced features on smartphones, engaging in video calls, or joining social media to keep in touch. It’s not as hard as you think. After all, sharing photos, videos, or text messages is a great way to maintain a close relationship with your loved ones, especially if you are unable to see them on a regular basis.
- Be open-minded
As you know, the interests and needs of your grandchildren constantly evolve as they grow older. It means that it is crucial to get out of your comfort zone and grow with them. Each time you make an effort to adjust to their rapidly changing needs, habits, and preferences, you will be able to strengthen your bond even further. Additionally, this will serve as a strong incentive to stimulate your mind, develop new interests, and enhance your life which will both deepen your relationship with your grandchildren and improve your mental and physical health.