Although babysitting grandchildren is a way to spend time together, it is also important for children to spend time with their grandparents on other occasions. For grandparents who live close by, set up a regular time each week or month for your kids to spend time with them. Ross invites her grandkids to stay with her for a week and calls it “Camp Grandma.” During the visit, she makes the week all about the grandchild.
While technology is a wonderful tool to keep in touch, writing letters is a very personal way of communicating. Many people send email regularly, but handwritten letters are special and more likely to be saved for years to come. Have your children and their grand-parents pick out a journal together and take turns writing their thoughts in it. Encourage them to write stories about their lives, share memories of each other, and ask each other questions. For long-distance grandparents, take turns writing in the journal and mail the book back and forth to each other.
Books are a great way to connect generations, and many classics are still loved by children today. For younger children, encourage the grandparent to read one of their favorite picture books to them. An option for grandparents who live in another town is to make a video recording of them reading a book to your child. They can either send the file to you or upload it to Facebook, YouTube or similar video-sharing site.
If you have teenagers, think about how your child likes to communicate with his friends. Encourage your child to communicate with his grandparents using text or instant messaging.
Another way for grandparents and grandchildren to connect is to share a hobby or activity. Encourage the grandparent to take an interest in your child’s hobbies. If the grandparent has a hobby, such as fishing or sewing, have them introduce your child to the hobby. Another idea is for the pair to complete a project together, such as starting a garden or a building a birdhouse. For grandparents living far away, pick a project that they can do during a visit and then talk about while they are apart. “I want my grandkids to have a sense of growing up with family. I was not fortunate to have my grandparents for long; we are the ones that now have the time and patience to give the children our undivided attention,” says Ross.