There’s nothing quite like a child’s bond with their grandparents. They can be playmates, mentors, and someone who your child can go to for advice and reassurance.

But staying in touch to keep those children and grandparents’ bond strong can sometimes be difficult.

Here are some great and easy ways for your family to keep these relationships going, even at a distance!

Stay in touch virtually

Use a video calling service to talk over the phone or computer regularly. It’s great to be able to see and talk to each other in real time, so children can recognize their grandparents as real people in their lives.

Write letters

Letters may be old-fashioned, but they can be an exciting and heart-warming surprise! Have your child and their grandparent write each other, so they look forward to each other’s communication. If your child is not yet able to write, they can also draw a picture for their grandparents to send a sweet, personalized message.

Work together on projects, such as a family tree

A family project requires close communication and collaboration. Working on something such as family tree can bring everyone together, and opens up opportunities to learn more about each other.

Tell family stories

Make sure to include a child’s grandparents when you tell family stories, so they get a better understanding of who their grandparents are and why they are important.

Share family recipes

Recipes can be a treasured part of your family culture. With your child, make family recipes and explain that it came from their grandmother or grandfather.

Display photos of grandparents

Even just framed photos around the house can help children see their grandparents every day and understand the important role they play in their life.

What are the benefits of grandparent and grandchild bonds?

Children learn to play with someone who is different from them

Grandparents are great play partners! They’re also very different from a child’s friends or parents, whom they typically play with. Grandparents can help children work on their play skills to learn how to have fun with someone who is older, may have different needs, and may ask different questions than they are used to. Children can work on their motor skills by moving differently to play with grandparents. They even work on their executive function skills by figuring out how they can play together, and remembering their favorite games for the next play session.

Grandparents can give children an early sense of responsibility

Children may need to help grandparents pick something up, find something in the house, or perform other helpful tasks. This gives children an early experience with responsibility, where they learn how to help others and think about the needs of others.

Grandparents help children learn about their family history

Children may have questions about where they came from, where their families lived, and other topics about their family’s past. While parents can tell great stories about their own childhoods, grandparents can add even more to that history! They can tell stories and provide perspective for their grandchildren about a time that they never knew about before. Children also work on their communication and listening skills to hear and understand these stories.

Bonds with grandparents as a child can lead to happier adulthoods

We know that childhood relationships and experiences set the foundations for our adulthoods, and this remains true in our relationships with our grandparents. Studies have shown that children with close grandparent bonds tend to be happier in their adult life. This comes from any grandparent relationship, even if it’s from a distance!

Grandparents provide an extra level of security

As children get older, and especially as they reach their teenage years, they may seek someone to speak to who isn’t their direct parent. And that’s ok! Sometimes sensitive topics can be difficult to speak to parents about, but grandparents can lend a helping ear. Children can confide in grandparents and receive valuable and responsible advice from them in times of need.

There is so much that a child can learn from their grandparent, and their relationship can be an important piece of their development.

Thank you for being a Grandparent invested in the life of your grandchildren.

This article was originally published on Pathways. Content may be edited for style and length.

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