Staying connected with your children and grandchildren might seem like a simple task, but you would be surprised how complicated it is, especially as they get older, busier and live farther away.
Being distant, or not having enough time makes it almost impossible to stay 100% updated on your children and grandchildren’s interests, lifestyles, and thoughts. Fortunately there are many different methods of ending a family disconnection.
Why It’s Important to Stay Connected
As parents and grandparents, we have so much to offer to our loved ones! Sharing your knowledge, celebrating in mutual achievements, and sharing your legacy help create lasting bonds. Staying connected with your family members allows your family to hold strong and grow healthily.
One of the most important reasons to stay connected revolves around love and support. As human beings, we all need someone who loves us unconditionally and supports us. As parents and grandparents, it’s our job to nurture and care. But sometimes, in our later years, we need them to nurture and care for us — and that’s OK! Staying connected with your family is mutually beneficial.
Not Knowing Your Own Children Can Affect Your Relationship with you Your Grandchildren
If you don’t know your children as well as you want to, it’s going to be very hard to bond with your grandchildren. There might be unresolved issues which impact the amount of time your children let you see your grandchildren. If at one point in time a disconnect took place with your children, there’s no time like the present to reconnect and repair!
Methods of Reconnection
There are many ways to reestablish a healthy relationship with your children and grandchildren. Make a goal to reconnect in 2017 by using these helpful tips!
Reach out more
Unexpected follow-ups with your children and grandchildren can have a great turnout! Put it on your calendar to reach out via phone, text or Facebook – whatever method works best for you. Even short messages like, “I was just thinking about that time we went on family vacation and I miss you,” can make your children or grandchildren’s day. Better yet, take part in things they find interesting, like taking “selfies” (photos of yourself on your cell phone) that you send to them. Extra bonus points if you use a hashtag (that’s when you see “#”).
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach your loved one, keep trying! Consistency can help you reconnect.
On birthdays, celebrations, or random days – send your children or grandchildren something to let them know you’re thinking about them. Whether it be a letter or small gift, this is a great way to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Become More Active Online
With new technological advances reaching out to people (no matter where they are in the world) has become a simple task. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms to familiarize yourself with. Long distance is no excuse now!
Also, social media allows you to keep an eye on what your family members are doing, so you’ll feel more included in their activities. You can also see what interests they have, providing you an easy segway into conversations centered around what interests them.
Though you are not a kid anymore, who’s to say you’re not allowed to act like one? When your grandchildren come to visit you, be playful with them! Act like a kid! This is a great way to bond with them and over time, your relationship can grow. Finger painting, playing dress up, and having a picnic are all simple activities both of you will enjoy.
Next time you want to call your loved ones, use video chat rather than a regular phone call! Seeing each others’ faces makes you feel more connected. Plus, you’ll get to see how much your grandkids have grown and they can show off their new toys. Download an app on your smartphone like Skype, Google Hangouts, or Apple iChat. Don’t have a smartphone? Buy a camera for your computer at home. You can “call” them through the computer. My toddler grandkid looks forward to our video chats much more than our phone calls 🙂
If none of the methods above are your cup of tea, that’s okay. Get creative with your methods of reconnection! All families and people are different. Play around with different ways of reaching out until you find something that works for you and your family!
- Share information about your children and grandchildren’s ancestors. It’s likely they don’t know much about your own grandparents or great grandparents. Recount stories and memories you have as a child in a fun and creative way. (One tool a friend’s family uses to help keep her bond strong with family that lives afar is Ancestry.com. Discussing the family tree is fascinating and helps younger generations stay connected to their culture. Ancestry’s paid membership can help you discover family members you never knew you had!)
- Like to draw? Invite your grandchildren over for a fun craft and art day drawing, painting and creating! Plus, “adult coloring books” are all the rage right now, so this may be a hobby you can do in your own time.
- Celebrate an un-birthday! You might not be able to spend the actual day with your kids or grandchildren. Celebrate their birthdays a month in advance, or at a time when you do see them. Make a special show of it and see how you can make it a new family tradition.
- Try sending inexpensive disposable cameras to your loved ones and ask for candid pics. With a camera ,children feel important and powerful, able to be creative. Have them send you the finished camera back for fun, lively photos.
- Make sure your grandchildren are armed with many pictures of you. Send along regular photos if they live far away, to keep you in their minds everyday. You can even have them guess how old you were in pictures from when you were younger; they’ll likely be impressed!
Consistency, Dedication, and Commitment
To ensure your success in reestablishing a relationship with your loved ones, you’re going to have to work at it every day!
Being consistent with your follow-ups truly shows dedication and commitment. Over time, your loved ones will be understanding of this.
Keep in mind, if you’re retired and your family members and in school and/or working, that they may have more time limitations than you do. Be understanding when they don’t pick up the phone or call you back right away. Life gets busy…. But hearing your voice on their voicemail or seeing a loving text from you can surely brighten their day and keep your bond strong.
Hopefully this article has inspired you to reconnect with your kids and grandkids. I can’t stress how important this aspect of life is. I cannot wait until my grandkids get older so I can do more activities and start new traditions with them!