Though the number of kids being born in joint families might be quite less than before, the presence of grandparents and their interaction with grandchildren is still existent. The importance of grandparents to their grandchildren can be rarely understood by us since we might only look at it as the presence of additional family members. Right from introducing your children to the historical aspects of the family down to being an encouraging spirit to their growth, grandparents are extremely essential to shaping a child’s emotional growth the right way.
Why are Grandparents Important to Your Children
Having a good connection with other members of the family is a good thing to inculcate within children. However, the role of grandparents in child development goes far deeper than that and can help them in numerous ways.
1. The First External Bond for Children
Depending on how close grandparents are to the family, some children might grow with their presence right from their infancy, while others might start meeting them as they grow up. In most cases, this connection with grandparents is the first bond of their lives they form apart from the ones with their parents. While children tend to rely on their parents for survival and adhere to their decisions, the bond with grandparents allows most children to open up and be their honest selves quite easily.
2. Bridging the Generation Gap
We have all grown up in different phases of history and have experienced different aspects of life altogether. Today’s world is heavily reliant on technology and the ability to cope with newer things in a faster and smarter way. While children can easily get a hang of it, grandparents usually face challenges when coming to terms with them. On the flip side, the early exposure to various aspects of the world can catch many children unprepared, and fail to comprehend why certain things exist the way they do. A bond between grandparents and kids can help them help each other out, with kids teaching their grandparents to use devices and grandparents talking to kids about stories of wisdom and opening them up to various experiences of their life.
3. Simpler and Easier Child Care
Modern-day parents look forward to returning back to their working lives and pursue their career as soon as they can, following a child’s delivery. Opting for daycare or babysitters is not only heavy on the pocket, but there is an absence of a warm bond of trust and familiarity. Having grandparents in close proximity can usually work in their favour since they usually have all the time in their day. By making them a part of your child’s life for a certain period of time, grandparents will get a chance to engage with kids and create a bond, while your child has someone to take care of them in a great way.
4. Rebelling in a Safe Manner
Most grandparents love their grandchildren immensely. Sometimes, even up to the point of spoiling them and agreeing to every demand of theirs. On the other side, children can also find a semblance of comfort and safety with their grandparents, as they can easily open up to them about other aspects of their life, or even enjoy the absence of strict rules which their parents might lay upon them. While it is important to reach to a consensus with grandparents on which rules need to adhere to the letter, your children can be allowed to rebel against the system, knowing very well that their grandparents are looking out for them. Skipping homework and taking a quick trip to the park can fill the kids with immense joy.
5. A Different Way of Discipline and Advice
Parents usually are strict disciplinarians for their kids and advice usually come with an absence of choices. This can cause kids to be introverted at times, or constantly argue with parents, refraining from doing what has been asked of them. The presence of grandparents can be quite effective in such scenarios. They have tons of patience and are able to frame your own demands in a way that don’t seem as taxing as they might to a kid. The immense life experience that grandparents carry and the wisdom with which they handle situations can make your kids more open to following what they say and accepting their advice. Working together as a team always works.
6. Getting to Know an Alternate Life
Grandparents have the edge when it comes to knowledge and experience about various parts of life, due to their age. This can turn them into a treasure trove of stories and funny moments to recount for, some even related to you. When your child spends time with his grandparents, his mind opens up to understanding how different lives can be, and even begin to imagine you as a child when you were at the same age as him. Some grandparents can be a little too interfering in this regard since they tend to put their own wisdom above the necessity of you parenting your child in your own way. Compromises can always be reached on these terms, but letting your kids experience what a different life can be like, and let him reap the benefits of wonderful stories is always essential in shaping him to be a strong individual.
Tips to Create a Healthy Bond between Grandparents and Grandchildren
Once you know how grandparents influence grandchildren and the benefits it potentially has, you can work towards ensuring that a good bond starts developing between them both. Incorporating a few tips on these lines can always make things simpler.
1. Creating a Family Tree
This might not be a new activity, and you might very well be able to do this with your kid all by yourself. However, grandparents are a much better choice in this regard, since they can provide a much wider expanse of the tree. Furthermore, introducing your little one to other family members can also be accompanied by stories of their life, some of which can be inspirational while others could be funny incidents, too. This allows your grandparents to keep their memory sharp as well.
2. Teaching a Hobby
There is a pretty good chance that grandparents might know a particular skill or a hobby that might not be prevalent in today’s times. These can be quite enthralling for your little one and make it a fun activity for both of them. Grandparents love it when they can teach their grandchildren a new skill, and your little one will be ecstatic to learn it and show it off to you and his friends at school. Spending time together with these skills can help create a special bond between both of them, which will be irreplaceable.
3. Stay in Touch Over Mail
Not all grandparents end up staying close to their grandchildren. This can actually create an opportunity for kids to stay in touch with them in various ways. Let your child write a handwritten letter and mail to the grandparents, with a proper postage stamp and envelope. Receiving a letter written by their grandchildren can provide a lot of happiness to them. Later on, your kids can even teach them how to use e-mail and then communicate with them over that, too.
4. Make Photo Memories
Let your children take selfies with your grandparents and even teach them to take a few ones by themselves. Doing this on a regular basis can put together a nifty album that traces the growth of your child with the presence of grandparents throughout, making for a wonderful collection of memories that all of you can leaf through together.
5. Make Use of Technology
With the advent of digital devices, communicating with anyone has become very easy. Make use of video calls to talk to grandparents regularly or let your kids show them something interesting that they made. Grandparents can even record some stories or videos of their own and send them to their grandchildren as memories.
6. Try Visiting as Often as Possible
Nothing beats meeting someone in person and spending time together. No matter where your grandparents stay, try to plan a trip at least once or twice in a year so that your kids get a chance to develop a bond with them. The grandparents will be excited to have their family together close to them and even celebrate some family functions together.
The impact of grandparents on the emotional development of a child is usually underestimated and cannot be quantified at all. The bond that they both share is quite different and cannot be replicated easily. Make sure your children get to spend as much time as they can together and let them be more empathetic and well-rounded individuals when they grow up.
Also Read: How to Enhance Parenting Skills?