As posted in Right at Home by A’s Netter Gregg Balbera:
There’s probably nothing more enjoyable and fulfilling for most Grandparents than being involved with their Grand kids.
Whether it’s sharing in the first steps when the Grand kids are babies or attending sporting events and school functions when the Grands are in middle or high school or even college, these moments can be nothing short of magical. It can be even better when those Grand kids hit adulthood, for then they can truly appreciate the wisdom and experiences of their Grandparents.
When the Grandchildren are young, the responsibility to communicate and include the Grandparents in their lives is totally up to the parents. After all, a 6-month-old baby won’t ask to chat with Grandma nor does a newborn know how to Face Time. (Toddlers do by the way.)
Parents of young children have a lot on their plates and making it a point to engage with the Grandparents can sometimes seem challenging. After all, there’s so much to do, and the parents of young children have their own period of adjustment as well.
An effective strategy is to schedule one or more calls per week so that there is time planned to catch up and share the small things that comprise the life of a baby. It need not be more than a few minutes, but you can be certain that Grandparents will relish all of the details.
Once the Grand kids are in middle and high school, they are more protective of their time, however they should understand that including their Grandparents in their life is not discretionary.
Making calls and visits enjoyable and perhaps arranging to do an activity together, eat a meal, have dessert or play a game helps everyone to have a good time. What you plan to do depends on the ability of the senior to participate but sitting and staring at each other on a screen or in person can certainly be a problem for everybody.
Parents should ask their kids what they’d like to do when speaking or visiting their Grandparents. When they are young children, playing simple games and doing arts and crafts together can be fun.
As the kids get older, it is more important for them to “do their own thing” and Grandparents can watch and be entertained, whether by a sporting event, dance recital, or concert.
Learning to respect, appreciate and enjoy the company of their Grandparents is something Grand kids learn by watching their parents.
As usual, being a great role model will usually get you the behaviors you wish to see.