How can activities Grandparents enjoy with their Grandchildren influence their relationships?

What activities do grandparents enjoy?

As l am not yet a grandparent, or nana as l will be called, l decided to ask my parents what it was they particularly enjoyed doing with the children when they were little.

My boys were lucky enough to have young active grandparents on both sides but spent more time with my parents. (I think the amount of time grandparents see their grandchildren if they have a son or daughter is a really interesting topic, and one l’ll be writing about separately). Therefore, it seemed obvious to ask my own parents about their memories.

Dad’s influence

The boys are now 21 and 23yrs old, and still have a lovely relationship with their grandparents. The youngest is almost a scratch golfer, which was a hobby he became interested in as a result of playing with my dad in the holidays. I seem to recall had little plastic golf clubs when he was about 4 years old.

Mum’s favourite activity

My mum said one of her favourite activities during the holidays was to make dens in the garden with the boys. I remember coming home sometimes on a warm day to find them all still snuggled up under the pergola in the corner of the garden. They seemed to particularly love to place their Snuggle Sacs on blankets on the ground and then hang ‘hammocks’ from the wooden structure. They’d fill the makeshift hammocks with toys and tie teddies onto the pergola. From a distance it looked like something from the jungle!

Down the generations

It is funny mum said making outdoor dens was an activity she loved as it was always one of the best things my brother and l used to do too. We used to lower the washing line and anchor a sheet across it. We’d have chairs inside and as many outdoor things as possible to barricade the entrance. Mum would bring picnic food into the garden so we could eat our meals inside the den. I can already see this becoming one of my activities of choice with my grandchildren when they arrive too! Perhaps it is also why l’ve always loved camping.

Factors in building a close grandparent-grandchild relationship

While writing this post l was considering what could be regarded as one of the most important factors in building a close grandparent-grandchild relationship. Could it be these types of adventures, or is there more to it?

The research l uncovered shows that children don’t automatically love or respect their grandparents but, will decide for themselves and develop a strong and lasting relationship if the grandparent has the right attitude.

So, what is this right attitude?

It is a combination of:

Being prepared to make the effort to be in regular contact.

It doesn’t necessarily mean living next door. It could be a regular skype call, visiting in the holidays, having the children to stay and just showing they genuinely want to be part of their lives.

Being part of a close family for whom this grandparent – grandchild relationship is normal.

That may sound a strange thing to write, but some people really don’t welcome their own parents into the new family unit.

Understanding the correct role

It is important for the grandparent to understand when to step in and undertake a parenting role, and when to back off and allow parents, siblings and peers to have a bigger role. It can be very difficult in certain dynamics for grandparents to steer through this minefield. We’ll certainly consider this in another blog.

Having a respect for healthy values

Even though the age gap can be huge there will be life values which are shared between close families. If these are respected and agreed upon the relationship will be much easier. It will probably become necessary for the grandparent to not lose sight of their own values but respect certain views and opinions can become out of date.

Here at Snuggle Sac, we hear often from grandparents and their experiences with young children. We are grateful for what you do and proud when our Snuggle Sacs help you out even a little bit. Sign up to our mailing list below for our Snuggle Sac for Grandparents newsletter, full of helpful articles and ideas for activities with your grandchildren.

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