Don't Let Distance Stand Between Grandparents and Grandkids

By: Jody Smith

Want your parents to live long and prosper, mentally and emotionally? Make it easy for them to be involved with their grandchildren. An article on Caregiverstress.com reported that a senior can live for three to four additional years just because they have healthy relationships with their family members. This is a win/win, for both the grandparents, the grandkids, and for you.

It is of course easiest if everybody lives nearby. Even if distance is part of the picture, there are ways to create closeness. You just have to try harder and make more of a conscious effort.

Invite your parents to visit. Settle them in your guest room, or put them up in a nearby hotel, motel or cottage if they (or you) feel the need for some personal space. Don't worry about taking a chunk of time off from work.Arrange for them to have time with you and the kids, as well as time with the grandchildren on their own. This creates a nice balance in relationship-building.

Since this is your home court it would be helpful if you had a list of possible activities and places that grandparents and grandkids might like to go. The ages of the children and the energy and endurance of your parents will be factors in what ends up on your lists. Making this a list of possibilities rather than of obligations will lend that atmosphere of adventure and enjoyment for the old and young. Both the young and the old will appreciate time and opportunity for a nice afternoon nap. You might enjoy the quiet house this provides for you and your spouse.

Want to let the kids have the experience of going to visit their grandparents in their home? Driving, traveling by plane, train or bus can make for a family trip, as well as ensuring the kiddies get safely deposited with Grandma and Grampa. You can have a nice little stopover to say hello to your parents, make sure they know whatever they need to know about the kids, and make sure the place is kid-proofed while you're at it. Then it's up, up and away, as you perhaps take off on your own romantic holiday elsewhere.

The younger generation can hang out with the older generation, going to their favorite haunts, possibly meeting their friends, and seeing whatever local sites both generations are up to and interested in. Your parents can share stories of earlier times in their lives, or of the ancestors, as well as stories of the grandkids themselves. They can tell stories that happened before the young-uns' memories kicked in, and they can tell and re-tell stories of times and events that the little ones remember. This will reinforce a delight in feeling that special sense of community and belonging that grandparents can impart to a child.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Building Relationships with Grandkids Reaps Many Benefits for Seniors

http://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-activities/social-activities/relationships-with-grandkids

Bonding with grandchildren can help seniors age well and remain positive. Medicare.org. Retrieved April 29, 2012

http://www.medicare.org/medicare-news/health-and-wellness/384-bonding-with-grandchildren-can-help-seniors-age-well-and-remain-positive-.html

Related Links:

Making Family Travel (Almost) Painless

http://www.empowher.com/parenting/content/making-family-travel-almost-painless

Bonding with grandchildren can help seniors age well and remain positive

http://www.medicare.org/medicare-news/health-and-wellness/384-bonding-with-grandchildren-can-help-seniors-age-well-and-remain-positive-.html

Resources for Family Caregivers

http://www.empowher.com/wellness/content/resources-family-caregivers

Care Giving for Elderly Parents or Grandparents

http://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/care-giving-elderly-parents-or-grandparents

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