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How to Get Your Children to be Close to their Grandparents

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As parents, it’s essential for our children to look forward to going back home for the holidays. We want them to be excited to meet their grandparents and form their own special bond.

However, this is easier said than done. It’s difficult for us to relate to our kids most of the time, so expecting them to relate and connect with an even older generation seems tricky. If your parents live far away and your kids haven’t gotten to see them since they were little, it can be challenging to turn your parents from strangers to beloved grandma and grandpa.

Seeing our aged parents melt when they see our kids is something else. As we watch them spoil our kids silly, all we can think about is how strict they were with us! Understandably, you don’t want your family to miss out on that special grandparents-grandchildren bond. Here are some ways you can get them to be close to each other!

Set by example 

We all know our kids don’t listen to what we say; they imitate what we do. If you’re excited to go back home to meet your parents, your kids will be as well! Children pick up on emotions and signals intuitively. If you let out a sigh and an eye-roll every time your mom gives you a call, your kids will treat their grandparents the same way. (And you, when you’re older!)

The healthy relationship that you have with your parents is something that your child will observe and imbibe. Children are inquisitive about how the parent-child dynamic changes in grown-ups. If they see you and your parents having fun, they’ll look forward to the day they get to experience that with you!

Make visiting grandparents an exciting event. Never make it seem like it’s a chore or something you have to do as an obligation. By counting down days and involving your kids in ideas for gifts to give them, they will know just how special their grandparents are. 

Bribe them

Yes, you read that right!

I don’t mean slide them a $20 note to be nice to their grandparents.

The universal truth is that kids are inclined to be materialistic. Back when I was a kid, I looked forward to going to grandma’s house because of the incredible cookies she would make. Of course, I loved my grandma, but it started with looking forward to the cookies. 

Make sure that there’s something exciting in store for them. Maybe it’s presents or food that they ordinarily wouldn’t get at home! Think about your favorite food that your parents would make when you were a kid, and introduce your kids to it as well. 

Chances are, you won’t have to lift a finger. Your parents will already prepare goodies and treats for them! 

Let them gang up against you.

One good sign that grandparents are bonding with their grandchildren is when they start ganging up against you! 

Your parents will try their best to spoil your kids, so all rules you’ve made will be thrown out of the window! (Your mother will give your kids ice cream after 10’oclock, and there’s not much you can do about it!) 

Any ideas of disciplining your child when they misbehave in grandma’s house may be pointless: your kids will suddenly have guardian angels who turn around and scold you instead!

While it can be annoying at first and worry you that your authority is being demeaned — let it slide. Your kids will get pampered with their grandparents, but all will return back to normal with the end of the holidays. 

Besides, it’s healthy for kids to observe power dynamics. Up until now, you were the supreme authority on everything. Now that they see you respect and listen to your parents, they’ll learn an important lesson — no matter how old you get, your Mom’s always right!

Story Time

Let your parents tell your kids stories about their childhood. Encourage your kids to ask questions, too! Kids are always fascinated to find out how the ‘olden times’ were. Make sure your parents take turns telling them bedtime stories. If you can hang around, do so, and remind them about different stories to tell. You grew up on these stories, after all!

Grandparents are much more patient and understanding with kids than we are. At their age, they’ve slowed down and know how to get down to the level of children in the best possible way. The more time they spend talking to each other, the more they’ll be able to form a connection. 

Whether kids admit it or not, they love hearing about family history. It’s so valuable for them to feel a sense of belonging within the family and know about their heritage. Every child needs to feel proud of their genealogy!

Learn from each other

Most of our parents are a little technologically challenged, and our kids know gadgets all too well. Encourage your kids to teach them how to use their phone, and let your parents teach them their favorite hobbies. This could be baking, gardening, fishing, or flying a kite!

Grandparents have invaluable life skills and wisdom that they’re waiting to pass on to their grandchildren. There’s no better bonding time than spent learning a new skill. 

Arts and Craft gratitude

There’s nothing that grandparents love more than getting a handwritten letter, note, or drawing from their grandchildren. Set aside one afternoon just for making thank-cards for the grandparents. Make your kids use their creativity on paper as they write heartfelt notes for their grandparents. It can be a simple “Thank you for the cookies.” or “I’ll miss you, Grandpa.” 

It will definitely mean the world to your parents or in-laws. They’ll stick the card with a fridge magnet and won’t take it down for years! It’s an important tangible reminder of the holidays spent together for your parents. Children love being appreciated, and seeing the joy their card brings their grandparents won’t be something they forget soon!

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