Grandparenting
grandson on bike

Keeping up with your Grandchildren



grandson on bike
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"Keeping up with your Grandchildren"
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Tips for grandparents who want to stay in touch with their grandchildren

Children need grandparents and grandparents need to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. It’s both of their rights. This is recognized by authorities on child rearing and they believe so firmly in this connection they have laws in most countries protecting this right. Most situations concerning the old and the young members of a family don’t need be taken to court; the middle group in this generational setting benefit greatly by the aid grandparents give to their child’s upcoming. There are always a few differences among the three groups but this makes for growth and not court cases. Ways vary in how to stay in touch:

Birthday celebrations

To keep yourself in good favor with your grandchildren never forget their birthdays. A small token gift or a bit of money and a card go a long way in cementing your relationship; a relationship that hopefully starts at day one. It won’t do to ignore or be too judgmental about a child while they’re young and vulnerable and needing the comforting arms of a grandparent and then when they grow up try to emotionally connect them with them on their birthdays. Unless you’re rich and they see an advantage to them while struggling through college or are struggling in some other way trying to get ahead, most likely will not be overjoyed at your sudden interest.

Babysit every opportunity

Isn’t this a precious gift you ask yourself when holding that cuddly and gurgling little bundle of joy in your arms? Of course you agree with yourself and you don’t miss an opportunity to get that bundle of joy all to yourself where the two of you can mutually love the other. It won’t take long before you’ve wedged yourself into their world if you are sincere and appreciative of each opportunity to get in some hugs and squeals of delight.

You talk and they listen; they talk and you listen.  You let them know you are at attention. Being attentive to their needs is an important part of the relationship and it’s a learning experience for both. studies have shown that children learn how to talk by mimicking the words heard. Therefore, it’s recommended you don’t baby talk but talk to them in words that make sense.

Remember they have a long road ahead and need all the help you can give in the speech department. They aren’t a plaything but a struggling infant trying to make sense out of their new world. According to NPR’s All Things Considered “The scientists watched the babies' brain activity while they listened to various sounds. Kuhl's team discovered that by 12 months, millions of nerve cells in the brain's two language centers are successfully connected and communicating: first hearing the sound, then producing it.”

Send them notes when they’re away

When away, to school or living in other long distance areas and frequent communication isn’t possible, send them notes. Send subtle little notes about interests of theirs, news from their friends, important occasions where you and their parents have shared good times, concerns about their studies, their health, or answer question or give advice when they ask.  

Email them

Send them emails but don’t become a nuisance.  If they’re away at school they will be busy and you don’t want to make them obligated about grandmother or grandfather. This method of communication has to do with their age and how busy they are. It’s always best for grandparents to cement their relationship with their grandchildren, if at all possible, while in the pre-pubescent year.

The teen years are difficult and if not already in their good favor chances of gaining footholds in their lives, chances are scarcer than before. It all depends on their circumstances and yours, but a grandparent is a grandparent for life so follow your conscience about how to best communicate. 

Each age differs. A kindergarten child or an elementary age child will love to get emails for grandma with their special password but a teen or a college age teenager may not. All grandparents have to do is to follow their consciences and do what they think is right. It’s always best when in doubt to consult the parents because the last thing a grandparent should do is become a wedge between the relationship between a child and their parents.

 A grandparent’s position is best compared to a backup generator when the electricity goes off; be there for them when the parents aren’t regardless of age or circumstances. Parents usually are delighted with the extra help of grandparents but they won’t tolerate grandparent’s interference when it goes against family harmony; nor should they.  A grandparent had their chance with their children, now it’s their turn.  

Don’t meddle but learn the art of texting just in case

Grandparents, depending on their age, come in all sizes, interests and looks these days. Many of them are as experienced in texting as are their children and grandchildren and use this as a convenient means of communicating.  Most are not. Those in the seventy and eighty group will probably forgo this modern technological communicative method. They won’t be as eager to be on the beck and call of anyone, least of all their grandchildren who are away at school and who operate on a faster wave length than theirs. There are exceptions, however.

Grand-parenting is privilege, not a right and the most effective grandparents understand that and act accordingly. They also know that principle applies to parenthood as well. But unfortunately many parents aren’t able to be there for their children and in these cases grandparents fill in. Society has help for these generous souls who live out their lives in the care of children.

Love your grandchildren and allow them into your world and give them memories to brag about to their children and their grandchildren; but don’t be taken in by them when they’re  being outrageous and hard to manage. You live by your values and hopefully they’re of the fabric tough enough to withstand the onslaught of newer generations without succumbing to its frivolities.  


More about this author: Effie Moore Salem

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