connecting with your grandkids

You love your grandchildren and they love you. But is your relationship everything it could be? Here are some thoughts for improving the ties that bind:

1) First, stay in touch. If you live nearby, visit regularly. If they live farther away, write to them. You may want to use email but you can also create plenty of “Hallmark” moments with handwritten cards and letters: something they probably don’t get a lot of. Call them on the phone. Use Skype or Facetime so you can have a real face-to-face conversation. Listen carefully and acknowledge what they say by showing support and asking questions. Make the phone call about them.

2) Share your family history with them. Tell some stories about your parents. Share with them what you recall about your own grandparents: when they came to this country, where they lived, what they did. Collect photos of your parents and grandparents for your next visit. Remark with them on the fashion of the times, how people wore their hair, how styles have changed. Have they seen that photo of your own grandfather wearing a top hat and tails at his wedding to your grandmother? Is there a famous family recipe that should be handed down?

3) Attend as many important events in their lives as possible. Birthday parties, school concerts, sporting events. It will mean a lot to them to know you showed up. These are the kinds of things they’ll remember. Even if you live far away, consider a visit to watch the big game or middle school graduation. Let your children and grandchildren know that you’re there for them, that creating memories with them is important to you.

4) Use the “L” word. Tell your grandchildren you love them. And show them by being interested and involved in their lives.

Show your grandchildren your love and support, even when they may not reciprocate. They may not be perfect but honor and appreciate the ties that bind us to our families.

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