Growing up I was very close with my family, many of my grandparents and Aunts & Uncles all lived in the same city. I would see my grandparents, and cousins on a weekly, if not daily basis, which meant I had a childhood filled with tea parties, making crafts and fun sleep overs. Since having my own children I realize just how special the bonds with my family really are. The connection between kids and their grandparents is like any other, it does not just happen it needs to be nurtured along the way, and it is not always easy especially when geographical distance separates you. Here are 10 tips to connect kids and grandparents, whether they are near or far:
- Keep it Simple – Kids love just being with their grandparents and having their attention. You don’t need an elaborate plan to keep them busy, simple walk to hunt for rocks will entertain them and allow for some outdoor fun.
- Make the distance shorter – With technology today it is so easy to stay connected with each other no matter where you live. I mom cried when she was given a web cam 2 Christmases ago, because she knew that it meant she would be able to connect with and see family members easily. The boys love to video chat with family using our iPad (we bought our at Target), which is perfect because we can take it to any room and show what we are doing and what we are playing with at the time to let everyone feel involved
- Send a letter – Nothing is as exciting as getting a good old fashion letter in the mail. Have the kids draw pictures to send to to their grandparents. This is an especially good idea around holidays when you won’t be seeing one another as they will still have some homemade decorations to remind them of the family.
- Celebrate Unbirthdays – It is not always possible to celebrate birthdays all together, so seize the opportunity to create a celebration of your own when you are together. Bake a cake, make some decorations and celebrate!
- Read a book together – Grandparents can borrow books from their local library and read to the kids over video chats. And when the children are old enough, they can read to their grandparents as well
- Garden Together – Have both grandparent and child plant seeds and then watch them grow. Whose will sprout first? How many leaves does each plant have? A great learning opportunity and lots to talk about, plus you can email pictures of your plants to each other
- Play Games – You don’t need to be in the same room to play a game together. There are lots of multi-player games available online, or you can even play something as simple as 20 questions while on the phone
- Work on something together – My oldest loves helping his Papa with “jobs” when he visits, they could be anything from helping in the garden to building something or even tidying up. As soon as it becomes a “job with Papa” he is all in. Take the opportunity to work on a project while you are together or create one you can work on while apart. Set up a photo challenge to take pictures of 10 animals and then share your photos with each other or write a short story together.
- Teach them something – have grandparents share their hobbies and talents with the grandchildren. I enjoyed learning to knit from my grandmother as a child. Don’t worry as the kids get older they will be able to teach things too, like how to use your cell phone
- Cook together – when you are able to visit get into the kitchen and cook or bake together. When you are apart share family recipes and talk about holiday traditions that you had growing up
Having an iPad has made many of these tips to connect kids and grandparents easy to do. We picked up our iPad Air and super duper strong cover from our local Target Canada Store (don’t forget to use your REDcard to save an extra 5%!). Not only can we take pictures to send to the grandparents, up video chats are easy to set up for the kids to talk and see our family. I am so thankful for the bonds that my boys are creating with our extended family, it is such a joy to watch them interact with each other and to see the love they have for one another.
How do you make sure your children build relationships with their grandparents no matter if they live near or far?
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Target Canada. All opinions are strictly my own.