Your kids and your parents might as well live on two different planets. Your son communicates through the computer; your parents aren’t sure how to turn theirs on. Your daughter is obsessed with Taylor Swift; your parents have never heard of her. Your kids text on their iPhones nonstop; your parents still think car phones are the height of technology.
Like all parents, you want your kids and their grandparents to have a wonderful relationship, but you’re not even sure how to get them on the same page. How do you bring their worlds together?
Read the following tips to learn how to get your parents more involved in their grandkids’ lives and vice versa.
- Keep your parents informed. Let your parents know about what’s going on in their grandkids’ lives, so that when they get together, they’ll have something to talk about. Mention your kids’ school activities, sports teams, friends, favorite books and TV shows.
- Invest in a pair of webcams. Even if your parents live relatively close by, it can be tough to get together. Time speeds by, and all of a sudden your kids haven’t seen their grandparents since Christmas. The next time you’re over at your parents’ house, install a webcam on their home computer, and show them how to use it. (Or better yet, get your kids to do it!) Your parents will treasure being able to talk to their grandkids face-to-face. Skype and Google Talk are both great, easy-to-use video chat programs. Before you buy a webcam, make sure your computer or laptop doesn’t already come with a built-in video camera.
- Host Sunday dinners. Food has a way of bringing people together. Invite your parents over for dinner (it doesn’t have to be every week) to give the whole family some quality time. Change things up to keep it fun: have a picnic outside in the lawn, bring sandwiches to the lake, eat game day snacks while watching football, or introduce the kids to an old-fashioned lobster boil.
- Send your kids to Grandma’s house. The last thing you want is to burden your parents, so you might hesitate to send the kids to their house for the night or weekend. But chances are, your parents will jump at the opportunity to spend quality time with the grandkids. Your kids might be skeptical of the idea, but encourage them–how else will they taste Grandma’s famous pancakes, or hear Grandpa’s funny fishing stories?
- Invite your parents to your kids’ sporting events. You’d never miss your daughter’s weekly soccer game, so why should their grandparents miss out? Inviting your parents to come along on occasion will not only allow them to proudly watch their granddaughter, it will give you some quality time with them, too. Make sure to bring along folding chairs with back support, and plenty of water to share so that everyone is comfortable.
- Have your kids try your parents’ favorite hobbies. Is your dad an avid golfer? Take a lesson as a family–it’s a great way to spend the day outside together. Is your mother always crocheting? Ask your daughter if she wants Grandma to teach her how. Your parents will cherish the opportunity to pass down some of their knowledge to their grandchildren and your children will learn great new hobbies!
Getting your kids and your parents to spend quality time together can be a challenge. But it’s worth the effort–both your parents and your kids will always treasure the memories they make together.
Stephanie Warren writes for Griswold Home Care, the nation’s oldest provider of home care for seniors and elders. Griswold Home Care is committed to bettering the lives of seniors and their families through affordable, quality home care.