Everyone wins when children are able to develop close ties to their grandparents. Here are some ways that mothers can encourage a relationship between their parents or in-laws and their children.
* If grandparents live far away, consider starting a family blog. I have a blog that is only accessible to our extended family. I use it to upload current digital photos and notes about milestones and birthdays. When someone loses a tooth or makes a big tackle, photos go on the blog.
* We try to call faraway grandparents regularly and give each child a chance to talk. They love sharing their heart with grandma and grandpa. For the little ones, I sit near the phone so I can “interpret,” as it can be hard for grandparents to understand what they are saying. Older children can email their grandparents.
* We prioritize spending time together. We invite nearby grandparents on day trips or we get together for dinner. My mother-in-law lives far away, so she has often taken vacations with us. This gives the kids extra time with her and enables them to build special memories together. Most summers I take the kids and stay with her for a few weeks, even if my husband is not available to come along. Other times she comes here and spends extended time with us.
* My own mother lives nearby, having moved across the country to be near our family. She takes the children one at a time for overnight visits, in order to have one-on-one time with each of them.
* Let grandparents pass on their own skills and hobbies. My children have done woodworking and gone camping with their grandfathers.
* When we read a special book, we often send a copy to my dad for his birthday. The kids like knowing that grandpa is enjoying the same book they read.
* Older children can take time to serve their grandparents, raking leaves or helping run a garage sale. It is important that their relationship be “give and take,” not just “take”.
* Grandparents enjoy getting mail from their grandchildren. Have your child send a postcard from your vacation destination or a care package “just because.”
* Teach your children games that their grandparents enjoy. My kids love playing dominoes and rummy with their grandparents.
* If your children are involved in sports, make sure local area grandparents have a copy of the schedule. They may enjoy stopping by practice or watching the games, and your children will appreciate having one more fan in the stands.
About Molly Evert
Writer Molly Evert is a wife and homeschooling mom to 6 kids, who range in age from 2 to 18. She runs an educational website, My Audio School (http://www.myaudioschool.com), providing access to the best in children's audio literature. She also blogs at CounterCultural Mom (http://www.counterculturalmom.com) and CounterCultural School (http://www.counterculturalschool.com).
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