You always envisioned your kids and Grandma bonding like something out of a Hallmark Channel Christmas special. However, they never show you on TV that building any relationship takes work – even familial ones.
How can you make sure your kids and grandma bond? Here are eight clever ways to encourage their friendship and deepen their relationship.
1. Read Together
Many children adore reading until school gives them the silly notion that doing so is a chore. However, when you have to work from home, teach homeschool and keep your family fed, you might feel too exhausted by days’ end to sit down with a storybook and give voice to the characters.
Why not have grandma take over the chore of reading your littles a bedtime story, at least some of the time? She’ll adore adding a husky, nasty tone to the ogre awaiting “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” under the bridge. Your children will begin associating her voice with comfy pillows and sweet dreams, which creates trust and fondness.
2. Putter in the Garden
Get into gardening as the days get warmer. And even in colder weather, if you have a screened-in patio, you can use the greenhouse effect to grow cucumbers well into winter. If not, there are always sunny windowsills for herb pots.
Gardening is relaxing and productive – it strengthens the family bond while providing you with organic goodness. It involves physical activity, which makes naptime easier and offers benefits for conditions from arthritis to heart disease. If grandma is a savvy horticulturist, she can even show your littles how to save your seeds from your produce, start new plants and continue the life cycle.
3. Play Tourist in Your Town
Chances are, your town has a host of museums and other destinations that you never visit due to time constraints. If grandma is retired, and your kids have the day off, why not set them loose to play tourist in your town? They can learn about the history and local flora while strengthening their bond.
If you have the means, pad grandma’s pocketbook so that she can treat your kids to a meal at a family-friendly restaurant. Ensure everyone has their cellphones charged and cameras ready – make sure you ooh and aah over their photos when they arrive home.
4. Volunteer Together
Did you know that doing good for others could protect grandma’s brain health and help boost her mood? Plus, it will improve your kiddo’s temperament, which may lead to improved behavior.
Volunteering increases oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin levels, all vital neurotransmitters for making you feel positive and upbeat. Plus, your kids could get their puppy fix, even if your landlord says “no dogs allowed” – the kids and grandma can walk for a local shelter.
5. Boogie Down
Do your kids love to dance? Who doesn’t? Getting grandma involved could decrease her Alzheimer’s risk more effectively than several other activities and help her bond with the littles.
You don’t need any money to encourage this activity – just dock your iPhone and pump up the jams. Nana might have a higher tolerance for pantomiming “Baby Shark” than you do. If you have more means, both the kids and grandma might enjoy ballroom lessons – it gets them out of the house and gives you uninterrupted work time.
6. Break Out the Board Games
Are your children always begging you to play with them, but you only have so many hours in a day? Why not break out the board games the next time Grandma comes over to help while you attend a Zoom meeting?
It doesn’t matter what versions you have. Kids today enjoy an old-fashioned game of ‘Uno’ or ‘Operation’ as much as the latest fad. If your children adore video games above all else, giving them extra screen time when they’re with Grandma can help them build a positive association with her visits.
7. Get in the Kitchen
Do you have fond memories of licking the spoon when your mum mixed up her cake batter? Let your kids discover the magic by letting them bake with grandma.
Many kids adore honing their culinary skills and learning family recipes. You can also write them down as you go and create a dedicated cookbook for your tribe. When they finish, everyone gets to enjoy a treat.
8. Assign Special ‘Grandma-Only’ Toys and Treats
A sneaky-but-effective way to help your kiddos appreciate time with Grandma is to assign toys and treats that only come out when she visits. Conversely, she might have a collection at her house.
If you regularly have your kids spend overnight visits, help Grandma stock up on the kids’ favourite foods before they arrive. She might have a fixed income, but spoiling the grandkids is a rite of passage that many look forward to indulging.
Help Your Kids and Grandma Bond With These Clever Tips
If you want your kids and Grandma to have a storybook friendship, you need to encourage their relationship. The eight clever tips above can help them to bond.
What are your top tips to encourage the kids and Grandma to bond? Tell us in the comments below.