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April 30, 2013

3 Simple Ways Older Adults Can Better Connect with Grandchildren

There are few things more fulfilling in a person's life than becoming a grandparent. You get to re-experience many of the joys of watching a child grow, only without the stress or pressure of being the person in charge. This time around, you can be a friend, a playmate, and a guide the way you weren't always able to be when you were raising your children.

Unfortunately, there are sometimes obstacles to having a close relationship with your grandchild. He or she could live far away, or busy schedules could keep you from getting together as much as you'd like. But, there are still ways you can stay connected and nurture a fulfilling relationship with your youngest family members.

  • Use Technology – Whether your grandson is studying engineering in college or still learning his ABCs, chances are he's pretty technology savvy. Children these days have grown up with computers and cell phones. They’'re constantly checking their email, text messaging, and keeping tabs on their social media pages. While it might be a little intimidating, wading into technology just a little can go a long way toward helping you connect with your grandchild. Try starting simple by establishing an email account. If you’'re a more experienced computer user, connect with your grandchild on a social media site like Facebook or Instagram, where you can chat and share photos.
  • Engage Their Interests – A big part of connecting with your grandchildren involves finding ways to relate to them. It's great if you share an interest, like gardening, fishing, cooking, or watching baseball games. But sometimes it might be a challenge finding things you have in common. They might be into video games, and you’'re into golf. They’'re into college football, and you’'re into romance novels. But don’t worry. Chances are there is something you can enjoy together. Have a chat with your grandchildren about what they enjoy doing in their free time. If they’'re shy, share your interests with them or invite them on your outings. You might stumble upon an activity you both enjoy, and your grandchild will likely cherish having a special thing just the two of you do together.
  • Share the Family History – One thing you and your grandchild can’t help but have in common is your family history. Every family has a story, and you’'re probably one of the best people to share yours with your grandchildren. Telling them important details about their ancestors will give your grandchildren an appreciation of where they came from. It will give you peace of mind that the family history will stay where it belongs – with the family.

Want to learn more about staying connected with family and friends during retirement? There’'s more on the Kendal Northern Ohio blog.

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