A 2015 study found that having a close grandparent-grandchild relationship is beneficial for both sides for the following reasons:
- It is a marker of overall solid family ties.
- Grandparents are exposed to newer and different ideas.
- Grandchildren receive all forms of life wisdom that they can’t find anywhere else.
Suppose your grandparents are still around. It won’t be harmful to you to reach out to them and build a closer relationship. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to extend love and support and establish a stronger and more loving relationship with them.
Now that states are easing up on their pandemic restrictions, you have more freedom to drive or fly over to where they are and be with them physically. If they are in hospice care, call the facility first to ask what their health and safety regulations are to ensure that you are complying with them. When you get there, here are some ideas for how you can foster a comfortable atmosphere in the room:
- Consider bringing some board games that they will enjoy: Ask your parents or people they know what types of games your grandparent has always loved, whether it’s chess, scrabble, or something else. Playing some fun is a great way to break the ice, especially if you have never had a proper conversation before.
- Bring them healthy food and snacks: Fruits and vegetables are always the safest options. But as always, ask the facility first if your grandparent has dietary restrictions or allergies you need to be aware of.
- Prepare some interesting questions they can answer: There are card games that were developed specifically for this. So scour the internet for question-and-answer games that you think your grandparent will enjoy.
Visiting them and being with them physically, mentally, and emotionally is one of the best ways to express sincerity in your desire to spend more time with them.
However, if you are at a point in your life when your work keeps you busy and you might not have the time to visit your grandparents, there is always technology. Here are some ways to maximize technology to bond with your grandparents:
- Consider buying them an iPad or a tablet, one that’s known for being user-friendly and having the option for bigger fonts or views.
- Install messaging apps that are easy to navigate so that when you call them, they can easily answer. Look for ones that also allow interactive games so you and your grandparent can play together.
- Ask your grandparents to read your child a bedtime story if you have younger children. It’s a beautiful way for your kids to create a connection with their great-grandparents as well.
- Share plenty of photos and videos of your everyday life. If your grandparent doesn’t have plenty of opportunities to go outside, at least they can see your daily comings and goings. They will also appreciate you sharing a portion of your life with them, no matter how busy you are.
Share your hobbies
If you have a hobby or activity that you’re incredibly passionate about, consider sharing this with your grandparents. Whether taking care of plants or gardening or even doing your makeup or hair, your grandparent will surely appreciate you’re taking time out of your day to share something you care about with them.
On the flip side, if your grandparent also has a hobby, show interest and ask them if they can teach you as well. You might be surprised by how many older people don’t have friends and family members who share their hobbies and interests, especially in COVID-19. So be the person that does that for your grandparent.
Be the first to extend an olive branch
Suppose your parents don’t have a healthy relationship with them. If the family has a history of relational conflict and toxicity, consider being the first to extend an olive branch to your grandparents. As long as there was no history of abuse and you won’t be subjecting yourself to potential danger or harm, there’s no reason why you can’t hear both sides of the issue. Just manage your expectations, be objective and neutral, and don’t hope to be the savior who can fix the relationship. Just be there with a sincere desire to connect with your grandparent and nothing else.
Connecting with your grandparents has so many benefits for both you and them. Consider making this one o your resolutions for 2022 and help add to your grandparents’ happiness in their twilight years.