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How to Build Strong Relationships Between Kids and Grandparents

 Mighty Mommy shares 5 tips to help strengthen the relationships between kids and their grandparents.

By
Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #247

Tip #3: Plan Fun Activities 

Grandparents usually get to interact with their grandchildren without the same daily pressures of a parent—they don't have to worry about driving carpool or juggle making dinner for the family with soccer practice and grocery shopping.  Leisure time like this can be so important for your child because they have a loved one’s undivided attention for a lengthy amount of time. 

We schedule playdates for our kids with their friends, so why not set up regular playdates with our kids and their grandparents? 

Encourage grandparents to engage in activities with the kids that you may not have time to do -- such as going to the park to collect leaves or driving to a playground that’s not right around the corner.  My children’s grandmother is 87-years-old and she still enjoys taking them to flea markets on Saturdays so they can poke around at their own pace.  They’ve found collectibles, books, and spent hours chatting about anything they want without feeling the pressure of having to be home for me to run an errand.

Tip #4: Share Hobbies

Many grandparents have hobbies or special skills such as sewing, crocheting, baking, fishing, or woodworking that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren.   One of my kids' grandfathers played professional baseball when he was a young man. He has shared his love and experience of the game with my 5 sons who also play now. 

Even if you have a long-distance relationship with grandparents, have your kids reach out about these hobbies, which will help spark a new closeness in their relationship (especially if the hobby is something your own child ends up loving).  They could even interview their grandparent about their favorite hobby and then create a special journal that they can present to Grandpa or Grandma as a birthday surprise!

Tip #5: Establish New Traditions 

It could be as simple as letting Grandma and Grandpa take the kids out for ice cream on every first day of school. Or maybe the grandparents can be in charge of letting your kids plan some type of fun surprise for your wedding anniversary each year.  Let your kids get involved in this and see what rituals they would like to establish with their grandparents.

We schedule playdates for our kids with their friends, so why not set up regular playdates with our kids and their grandparents?  A good friend of mine shared that her own mother, age 72, came up with a fun way to spend regular time with each of her 12 grandchildren, ages 4 to 20. She called it “Dates with Gram.” 

They get out their calendars and schedule actual dates, sometimes with a few kids, other times one on one, and they do things like go out to lunch, go to the beach, and spend overnights at her house.  Sometimes they even do impromptu outings like going for dinner at the last minute if some or any of them are free.  The result is that the children have grown much closer with their grandmother. They confide in her, laugh with her, and best of all, they even seek her advice on important questions.

How do you keep the relationship strong between your children and their grandparents?  Please share  your thoughts in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com

If your kids haven’t reached out to their grandparents in a while, today might be the perfect day to have them do so. Please check back next week for more practical tips and until next time…happy parenting!

Kids and grandparents image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.