Grandparents Day is coming up on September 12, 2021!
If you know me personally, you know that I am “over the top” when it comes to my grandchildren. And YES, the photo above is me making memories with my grandchildren at Rocky Mountain National Park this summer. We also squeezed in Estes Park, Steamboat Springs, a trip to the World War II Air Museum, and all the cool places in Fort Collins. Getting to share these experiences with them are times that they will remember and I will cherish.
Life is all about connection. So today let me share with you my insights on how special the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be and how to make it as rewarding as possible. As life expectancy increases, the role of a grandparent has grown. As grandparents, we get to share our life experiences, values, and unconditional love with our grandkids. We can provide vital economic and educational support. Grandparenting is the gift of connection between all who came before and all those who will come after.
It’s commonly accepted that grandparents get to have all of the fun and none of the responsibility with the kids. There is a natural ease that comes with the grandparent-grandchild relationship. It’s enough to simply be together. This offers the grandparent-grandchild relationship a unique emotional security that improves healthy development in kids.
Grandchildren are not the only ones who benefit from a strong grandparent-grandchild relationship. A solid bond helps us to be physically active and socially engaged. Which, in turn, improves cognitive functions, mental health, and life expectancy.
With this in mind, here are a few tips for helping grandparents maintain a connection with their grandchildren using web-based technology like FaceTime, email, and instant messaging (IM). And though video chats, texts, and IMs will never replace in-person visits, they offer one of the most effective ways of keeping those relationships—and everyone’s spirits—as strong as possible.
1. Reading Stories
One way to feel more connected with your grandkids is to read stories over Zoom or Facetime. It is so easy to choose a favorite book at your grandchild’s reading level, and take turns reading pages. Give your grandchild the added benefits of improving reading skills, building vocabulary, and developing speaking ability. Pick a regular time to call and read together each week. It will give both something to look forward to.
2. Playing Games
There are many options for online gaming, including classic board games, such as Scrabble, Monopoly, and Clue. Online games can also help children develop math and vocabulary skills while you all have fun.
3. Emailing, Texting, and Instant Messaging
Texts, emails, and IMs sent to one another regularly can help you stay connected and up-to-date with the latest developments in your grandkids’ lives. To catch up with one another, ask the grandkids to share the latest events going on in their lives. By using texts and emails, you are helping them practice writing out their thoughts and working on spelling and grammar.
4. Mailing Letters or Postcards
These days, letter writing feels like a lost art. But sending personal letters and postcards is a great way to connect with grandchildren. Handwritten letters and postcards can become prized keepsakes that your grandchildren will cherish long into adulthood. Encourage your grandkids to hand-write letters and postcards instead of typing and printing them out. They can also decorate their letters or postcards with drawings and art.
5. Group Video Chats and Phone Calls
If you’re feeling tech-savvy, video chat apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Duo are a great way to visit with the grandkids. Even young children like toddlers can participate in video chat, so everyone can see and interact with one another. Video chats allow grandparents to see grandchildren age over time, which can be extremely rapid during those early years. Video chats help strengthen bonds across vast distances.
And if video chats aren’t your thing, a similar experience can be achieved by using a phone set to speaker mode. Schedule these chats so they occur on an ongoing basis. This gives everyone something to look forward to. Even short, 15 to 20-minute calls made regularly can help you feel more connected with your grandkids.
For the Love of Family
Engaging in connection with your grandkids is important. It can be life-changing all around as can be enhancing your connection with your children. Through your estate planning, you can communicate to your children clearly about what you want to happen in the event of your death or incapacity. Talking with your family about what they want can foster a deep bond and sense of intimacy. In fact, our clients consistently share that after undergoing our estate planning process, they feel a deeper sense of connection with their children. Though such conversations can feel awkward, we can help guide and support you in having these intimate discussions in an age-and-stage appropriate way with your children. Schedule an appointment with us today to get started. We are here to help..