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5 Ways to Keep Grandparent/Grandchild Relationships Strong

on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 10:17

By: Kerry Kirk

Grandparents and grandchildren have real, measurable effects on each other’s psychological well-being long into grandchildren’s adulthood, according to a study conducted by the American Sociological Association (ASA). The study also suggests several efforts parents can take to enhance this relationship between their own parents and their kids.

Here are five simple, interactive ways to improve that connection:

1. Suggest grandparents share family stories with your children. Children at all ages are fascinated by family history and cherish vivid anecdotes that educate and entertain. Sharing “when I was your age…” stories are always a great place to start as these stories tend to be the most remembered and passed on.

2. Remind your children to always tell their grandparents “Thanks” and encourage them to make thank you drawings and notes when they receive gifts. All people benefit from feeling recognized, worthwhile and loved.

3. Encourage your children write to their grandparents (old-school) and send notes, cards, and drawings. Putting effort into a hand-written card or drawing reflects time, effort, and thoughtfulness. And it’s still a special surprise for grandparents to receive notes in the mailbox.

4. Children and grandparents can also connect through technology, and if grandparents aren’t comfortable online, grandkids can help them learn the new school. Kids and grandparents will enjoy the bond created as they share and look at family photos online or connect on Skype - a great way to keep in touch when you don’t live in the same town.

5. Encourage your children and parents to share their hobbies and interests with each other.  While times have certainly changed, we share plenty of common pastimes. Watching ball games, cooking together, or going for a nature walk never goes out of style. When kids and grandparents find common interests, their bond will grow.

About the Author: Kerry Kirk knows first hand about the power of the grandchild/grandparent relationship.  Kerry and her grandmother Anne share a love for baking cookies and sending them to people they care about. This passion for baking has recently become more than a hobby for Kerry. She and her uncle Tim are the Co-Founders of College Cookies, an e-bakery that enables parents and grandparents to deliver freshly-baked cookies to their loved ones away at school.

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This article hit home for me. As my mom is really involved with my children. She is always thinking of ways to support them, and one way that she and my daughter bond is through animals and the love of cats. My mom took my daughter to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego (where we live) when she was about 9 months old and just the two of them spent the day together. She later brought home a bag filled with furry little lion cubs and other adorned animals that they saw that day. Today, my daughter still has almost all of them (the dog shredded one) and she says' to me "mama, Grandma Lela bought that for me when we went to the zoo to see all the animals. Grandma Lela loves me, mama." She remembers her time with grandma vividly, and she is fond of her. You can tell that she feels loved by her and that she looks forward to visits with her. One way that I have wanted to make my mom feel more loved and appreciated is by writing her thank you cards and having my kids put their stamps on it and decorate it. I know how important it is to recognize people/ family members when things are done and I haven't been good about sending out cards or handmaking thank you notes, so thank you for this article, because starting today, Valentine's Day I will make an effort to begin. A mama in San Diego