Authored by Gladys Torres
Whether your grandchildren live next door or overseas, staying connected and invested in each other’s lives is something everyone benefits from enormously.
However, the process isn’t always smooth sailing. Family feuds, generational differences, and distancing due to Covid-19 are just some of the things that might make connecting with each other a little challenging.
No matter where your grandchildren are in the world, making the effort to bond with them is something you will never regret doing. And then knowing how much you care will have a lasting impact on their lives.
Here are some simple yet poignant ways to bond with your grandchildren without needing to leave home.
Utilize Apps and Online Platforms
While it can be a challenge to navigate current technology, doing so opens up the door for you to stay in touch. Distance becomes irrelevant online and you can connect with your grandchildren in a way that they’re familiar with.
Investing time and energy into technology tutorials can help you find your way around connective apps like FaceTime, Whatsapp, and Skype. You can easily schedule regular video calls, or you can simply engage them in chats and share photos whenever you’re thinking of them.
Be Open to Their Ways of Thinking
Generational differences are unavoidable when it comes to the relationship dynamic between grandparents and grandchildren. But that doesn’t mean your relationship can’t flourish.
You don’t have to sacrifice your own worldviews for theirs, but consider leaving any major opposing beliefs or opinions at the door and focus instead on meeting them at their level. They will be much more receptive to connecting with you if they don’t feel criticized or judged in your presence.
If your grandchild sends you a video of a person, place, or idea they find inspiring, try to respond with as much acceptance and affirmation as possible.
Spend Time with Each of Them Individually
If you have multiple grandchildren, it is important to show equal amounts of love and attention for each one. Every child is unique, and may prefer bonding with you in a different way to their sibling or cousin. With this method, you can give every grandchild what they need.
If you’re isolating, spending individual time on the phone with each grandchild will help you get to know each other on a more personal level. You’ll create a foundation for closeness and bonding to develop.
Show Them Your Own Hobbies and Passions
Showing your hobbies and passions with your grandchildren can also provide a platform for bonding. By including them in your favorite pastimes, they gain a deeper understanding of who you are, and maybe even see some of themselves in you.
Sharing hobbies can be difficult when practicing social-distancing, but you can always exchange links to YouTube videos, movies, or articles that showcase them.
Tell Them Stories
Storytelling has been used since the dawn of humankind to pass on wisdom, foster connection, and help diversify young children’s perception of the world.
Stories about their parents when they were young tend to be particularly enjoyable for grandchildren. You can tell them stories over the phone or via video chat, or you could write them down and send them a copy.
If your grandchildren are young, reading them a regular virtual bedtime story will foster a great bond.
Play Games Together
Having fun together creates memories, and memories are wonderful for strengthening bonds. You don’t have to be in the same location to play games together; all you need is a little creativity and an internet connection.
You can download apps where you play together, such as Monopoly, or you can take turns playing card games and see who can get the highest score. Simply spending some time focusing on a fun activity is good for both of you, and you’ll make wonderful memories at the same time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Many grandparents refrain from reaching out to their grandchildren for fear of coming across as invasive—or being ignored. While unfortunately these can both be the case at times, most grandchildren are happier to receive communication than you’d think.
Using your phone as a way to connect with grandchildren is not only practical during the pandemic, but it’s also a deeply familiar practice for the kids of today.
Simply sending an encouraging text message or picture of your garden can put a smile on their faces, and will make them much more likely to reach out themselves at a later point. Before you know it, regular communication will feel natural and rewarding for both of you.
Gladys is a writer who’s an advocate for self-care and leading a healthy lifestyle. She hopes that her writing can inspire others to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. With an absolute love for food and self-proclaimed foodie, when she’s not writing, Gladys loves to experiment in the kitchen and try out new recipes.