Yes, your grandchildren are some of your dearest family members, and they probably feel the same way about you. But how can you be sure they think of you not just a loving older relative, but as a supportive friend, too? Here are 10 important ways to keep the lines of communication open.
1. Give great advice.
Wisdom is one of the most precious gifts you can give. Talk honestly to your grandchildren about your life, what struggles you’ve faced, and what goals you’ve achieved. They’re bound to be inspired by your stories and may even pass them onto their own children one day.
2. Keep them interested in books.
There’s so many digital distractions for children these days, it can be hard to keep them engaged in the real world. However, reading stories, or even just making them up will be sure to spark their creativity. Don’t be afraid to share some of the books you loved as a youngster too.
3. Relate to them.
Do you know how to take a selfie and can you name this year’s X-Factor contestants? Being aware of modern trends will help you engage better with your grandchildren. Take an interest in their hobbies, favorite films, songs, and TV shows, and they’ll think you’re the coolest gran in the world!
4. Keep them entertained in the car.
Long journeys with little ones can often be traumatic, but this can be avoided with a little forward planning! Try to make regular stops, play car games like i-spy, have a singalong, and invest in a portable DVD player to keep them happy all the way there, and back.
5. Involve them in your hobbies.
If you’re passionate about something it’s likely that your enthusiasm will rub off on your grandchildren. If you’re a keen DIY gardener, let them help you plant seeds and you can watch them grow together.
6. Give them extra support.
The best thing about having grandparents is that they can be an extended support network when children are going through difficult times. Exam time can be very stressful for teenagers, so as well as being a listening ear, invite them to come and study at your house, away from distractions, like younger siblings.
7. Make your home a fun place to be.
Ensure you get lots of visits by making a few simple changes to your home. Designate special play areas or turn a spare room into a fun playroom. Keep little children safe by keeping medicines and cleaning products locked in a cupboard, move any sharp objects out of reach, and cover ponds.
8. Make memories together.
If you’re lucky enough to spend Christmas with your grandchildren, make sure you get truly involved and make it as magical as you can! Encourage them to put on a performance for the whole family to enjoy after dinner, and share the games you used to play as a child, like charades.
9. Get them outdoors.
Kids love exploring the world so ensure you’re there to help them experience it by taking them on days out. A local farm is a great place to take children of all ages. Many farms will have soft play areas that babies and toddlers can enjoy too. Theme parks and museums are better for entertaining older children. YYou don’t have to spend money to enjoy the outdoors; try having a teddy bears' picnic in the garden or spending a day building sandcastles on the beach.
10. Know your rights.
Sadly, grandparents can often find themselves in a situation where they are unable to see their grandchildren, due to divorce or separation. If this happens to you, you should try your best to resolve the situation yourself before taking any legal action.If this fails, seek advice from a lawyer — but always make sure you are putting the needs of your grandchildren first.
This post was written by Yours editors. For more, check out our sister site Yours.