Our world seems to be caught in an unending whirlwind, moving faster than it ever has before. In a recent survey, results revealed that 58% of people in the U.S. with smartphones admitted to checking their phone at least once every hour, sometimes more. Not only that, but from 2011 to 2012 a 36% increase in smartphone owners was recorded. Sure there are tons of perks to all this technology, but what about the disadvantages?
With Grandparent’s Day this Sunday, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about my children’s relationship with their grandparents due to all this technology. My kids like to communicate with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My parents, and Susan’s parents, like phone calls and “old fashioned hand-written notes.” Since their grandparents don’t live in the same city as us, how can I help bridge the gap between my kids and their grandparents?
Recently, Susan and I decided to buy my mom her first iPhone. She wanted it so she could text the grandkids and look at pictures that they post. We were so excited to teach her how to work it. It was so fun watching her text and take pictures. It was like this was the most futuristic object she’d ever seen. That’s one small step toward bridging the communication gap between the kids and grandparents, but there are many more ways that Susan and I need to help our kids connect better with their grandparents.
So, here are 6 ways for your kids to better connect with their grandparents, using the acronym F.A.M.I.L.Y.:
Find common ground: Maybe what’s holding your child back from developing a stronger relationship with their grandparents is that they don’t know how to relate to them. So if your son is into football, tell him to ask his grandpa if he ever played or went to games growing up. If your daughter loves a sweet love story, suggest that she ask her grandma how she first met and fell in love with her grandpa.
Allot time weekly: It goes without saying that our plans and priorities are constantly pushed around so much that we never end up having the free time we thought we would. So to honor grandparents, it is important to set aside a specific time each week for us and our kids to talk to them. Be it Wednesday mornings or Sunday afternoons, find a time that works for you and don’t miss that precious appointment that the grandparents will count on.
Meet them halfway: In a perfect world, you and your kids would be able to keep up with their grandparents through texting, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Still, they may prefer a simple phone call or a letter in the mail. To solve this issue, maybe it’s time to meet halfway like we did by buying Mom her first iPhone. Or why not sit down one afternoon and set up a Facebook account for your Grandma, teaching her how to stay updated on your latest pictures and activities. In return, you and your kids can agree to write letters so that everyone is happy and is trying something beyond their comfort zone.
Invite them out: Grandparents live for their children and grandchildren. So honor their desire to be a part of your life by inviting them out to lunch, to your daughter’s school play, or to your son’s soccer game. If they can’t drive, offer to pick them up. And if they’re in a nursing home, don’t be hesitant to go see them. It can be very lonely living there and all it takes is a simple visit to light up their whole day.
Lead by example: The most important encouragement your children will receive to invest time in their relationship with their grandparents is if they see you doing it too. If you’d like to see your son call his grandfather more, then why don’t you make an effort to call him on a regular basis? Have the kind of honoring relationship with your parents that you hope your kids will have with you in the future.
Yet always remember…That no matter how old your parents get, they will always be your parents and your children’s grandparents. And because of that, they should be greatly honored.
This Grandparent’s Day, how will you and your kids honor their grandparents?