Bonding with Grandparents

Date: 03 Nov 2020

Take a look at our ideas and activities below for helping grandparents and their grandchildren build strong relationships, even amid ever-changing pandemic restrictions.

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Grandparents can play a special role in your child's life. They're uniquely qualified to be friends, mentors, and guides, offering a sense of connection and tradition. Whether grandparents live nearby or faraway, they can support and enhance your role as a parent - even if spending time together in person isn't an option at the moment. 

No two families are alike, and grandparent-grandchild relationships come in many different styles. Trust and respect grandparents to find their own ways to relate to and interact with your child - but be sure to encourage their bond.

How to Bond with Grandparents from Far Away

Whether grandparents and grandchildren are separated by miles, or they're unable to see each other in person due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, here are some ways to help them connect:

  • Use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, Messenger Kids, or similar technology to communicate on a regular basis. Being able to see grandparents makes the interaction more concrete, especially for the littlest ones.
  • Take video chats outside so they can go for a walk "together" - they can show each other their surroundings and anything interesting they see.
  • Bring back the pen pal relationship. Encourage your child to write notes, postcards or draw pictures to send to their grandparents - and vice versa.
  • Take photos and videos of your child doing different activities - riding their bike, swinging on the monkey bars, shooting a basketball - and send them on a regular basis. 
  • Ask grandparents to record songs, lullabies, and bedtime stories to be shared again and again. 
  • Share stories and history. If your grandparents have a special skill like speaking a foreign language, playing guitar or a passion for something like sewing, trains or Shakespeare, can they 'teach' it to their grandchildren online.
  • Send grandparents small mementos, such as your child's artwork or crafts.
  • Establish new regular traditions like virtual Friday night ice cream dates, weekend breakfasts or brunches.

How to Bond with Grandparents in Person

If your parents (or your spouse's parents) live with you, help them make the most of their time together under the same roof. These ideas are also great for times when we are able to be together in person again.

Many grandparents enjoy playing leisurely with their grandchildren, but some may need a few suggestions to get the ball rolling. Encourage grandparents to introduce games from their childhoods, such as hide and seek, jacks, jump rope, marbles, hopscotch, and others.

Some children enjoy simply talking to or participating in everyday routines with their grandparents, such as working in the garden or making a meal. Grandparents can also pass on family traditions and history as they share stories or look through photo albums with your child. 

Grandparental Activities that can be done in person or virtually

  • Reading stories
  • Going for a walk, or walking while on a virtual call
  • Cooking or baking together, especially a favourite family recipe
  • Board games
  • Singing nursery rhymes together