As a grandparent, one of your most important jobs is to ensure that you bond with and stay close to your grandchildren. Today, that’s possible even at a distance if you use technology to your advantage. These tips will help.
* Listen More Talk Less – You know the saying, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This is very important when it comes to dealing with the younger generation. Due to the age gap, sometimes parents and grandparents seem very out of touch and even hypocritical and judgmental to younger people. If you want to ensure that you are thought of as open-minded and open-hearted, listen more and talk less – especially when it’s something that you’re not accustomed to.
* Keep Most Secrets and Confidences – When your grandchild tells you anything, consider it confidential. Of course, if they tell you something that must be acted on, let them know that you must tell and why. However, for the most part it will be stuff that’s not all that serious but that they needed someone to confide in. You can be that person if you keep your lips zipped.
* Visit in Person Often – If you’re long distance it can be hard to afford to travel, but try to do it at least yearly. If your health is not letting you travel, pay for your grandkids to travel to you. When they’re old enough, they can take care of themselves; for the most part, all you’ll need is a plane ticket.
* Use Technology to Keep in Touch – Today, right on your smartphone (or via a tablet, desktop, or laptop), you can communicate live in person with your grandchildren. You can talk to them and see them respond. You can even read bedtime stories, either live or recorded. If you’re not familiar with the technology available, ask someone to teach you. If you don’t know anyone, try the local Apple store.
* Don’t Judge the Values Their Parents Teach Them – Often when our children grow up, they adopt different traditions and even religions than you had hoped. But, your parenting job is over now. If you want to be in your grandchildren’s life, you should not judge the values their parents want to teach them. It may help to have a conversation with your kids about what’s okay and what’s not okay.
* Get Along with Your Children – One of the best things you can do for your grandchildren is to get along with their parents and their other grandparents. It doesn’t matter if there have been problems in the past; now that children are involved, seek to get along. And if you can’t, get some help from a counselor. The fact is, you have no rights to your grandchildren without the parents giving the say-so. Therefore, it’s your job to ensure that you get along with them, so you can stay close with your grandchildren.
* Let Each Grandchild Be Who They Are – Everyone grows up differently today than they did when you were growing up. In some ways, things are more permissive, but that also means things are more inclusive. It might be hard to adjust, but you’ll ensure a lifelong relationship with your grandchildren if you can let them be who they are without judgment.
Being close to your grandchildren is more important than being right about something. Having an open mind, heart, and door will go a long way toward helping you stay close to your grandchildren through the years.