If you've ever turned to your parents or your partner's parents for help and support with child-rearing, you know how wonderful grandparents can be. Although physical distance and parenting differences can come between grandparents, their children, and their grandchildren, encouraging a close relationship can benefit everyone involved.
Establishing a bond with grandparents can benefit kids in many ways. Grandparents can be great role models and influences, and they can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grandparents provide their grandkids with love, have their best interests at heart, and can make them feel safe.
Grandparents also encourage a child's healthy development. Overnight trips to Grandma's house, for example, may be less traumatic than sleepovers with peers and can help kids develop independence. Another benefit — grandparents may have lots of time to spend playing and reading to kids. Such dedicated attention only improves a child's developmental and learning skills.
In today's world, though, families may be scattered across the country, and jam-packed school and work schedules may interfere with regular time with grandparents. Despite physical distance or busy schedules, you can encourage your kids to develop a closer bond with their grandparents. Try these tips:
Whether grandparents live nearby or you're planning to visit, don't forget to make safety a priority. Grandparents may not be accustomed to having young kids in the house, and the presence of household dangers could mar visits with trips to the emergency room.
Use a household safety checklist and collaborate with the grandparents to childproof the home, ensuring that dangerous items and substances — such as cleaning products, medications, razors, and knives — are out of reach or locked in a cabinet. Consider walking through the home with the grandparents to address any potential safety hazards. They may not realize that small or breakable items pose a choking or safety risk.
Taking these precautions ahead of time can free kids and grandparents to make the most of their special time together.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2013
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