1) Shared Activities
One of the best ways to build a good grandchild-grandparent relationship is through shared activities. Chances are that both you and your grandchild each have some favorite activities and sharing these activities with each other can be a great way to build a relationship.
For example, cooking, watching ball games or other sports, and even just walking through nature are all examples of activities that could be shared with a grandchild! Ask your grandchild to share some of their favorite pastimes with you too. Asking questions and showing a genuine interest in their interests and hobbies will help build the relationship, and as a bonus, you might get to learn something new too!
2) Passing on Family Traditions
Grandparents tend to be the source of some of the richest family traditions. As a grandparent, you have knowledge of the traditions that have been passed down for generations in the family and can share these traditions with the youngest members of the family: the grandchildren! Often, grandchildren have an avid interest in family traditions, and it can be entertaining for everyone to learn more about these things.
If you decorate the Christmas tree with a specific set of ornaments, have a yearly habit of going golfing with all the men in the family, or enjoy baking sugar cookies every Halloween, invite your grandchildren to be a part of things! Involvement in family traditions is crucial to a feeling of belonging in a family, and so by involving your grandchildren in these activities, you’ll be building a relationship with them as well as helping them find their special place in the family.
Sharing stories from when you were the same age as your grandchild is a great place to start when it comes to storytelling. Kids love stories! And there’s nothing better than a true story about a real-life family member from the recent or distant past. Telling stories about yourself when you were younger or about other family members intrigues kids of all ages, and it’s a good way to find similarities between yourself and your grandchild that neither one of you may have thought of before!
Kids love stories about family and their ancestors because it gives them an opportunity to understand themselves better, too. If you start by telling stories about yourself when you were your grandchildren’s age(s), you’ll certainly start to also remember more stories that your grandchildren would enjoy from other times in your life or about other family members and friends.
4) Enhance Your Relationship With Your Child
Although it might seem like you should try to directly connect with your grandchild, it can actually have a greater and more positive impact to first try and enhance and improve your relationship with your child. Children watch their parents’ behavior carefully to decide how to behave and what to do, and if your relationship with your child is tense and fraught with difficulty, your grandchild is sure to notice and respond accordingly to you. If your relationship with your child is strained, your relationship with your grandchildren will also be strained.
Simultaneously working on your relationship with both your child and your grandchild can be a very positive experience. It’s important to still pay attention to your child, even now that they’re adults. The relationship may have changed, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone! When your children feel loved and taken care of by you (even as adults), this is more likely to translate into a better and healthier relationship with your grandchildren, too.