Blog , Lifestyle and Entertainment

Bonding With Grandchildren Over the Holidays

Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2023
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
Grandparents sitting with Grandchildren around candles and candy canes

The holidays are a spectacular time of year, particularly for grandchildren who get the opportunity to spend time with grandparents with whom they don’t regularly visit. Expect that children may be shy or hesitant to connect. And that’s okay. Grandparents should understand that it may take time for shy grandchildren to warm up.

Here are special ways for grandparents to gently bond with their grandchildren over the holidays, plus key things to remember:

  • Visiting grandchildren that you don’t see often? Expect that they may be bashful. Allow the children to get to know you rather than overwhelming them or spoiling them with unwanted attention. Rather, be calm and let them warm up at their own pace.
  • Once comfortable, little ones will enjoy quiet time being rocked to sleep while listening to the sound of a grandparent’s soothing voice.
  • Toddlers love to play. They will likely delight in showing grandparents their toys and playing fun games like peekaboo and Patty-cake.
  • Preschool age children will have fun learning how to play easy board games, going for short walks outdoors, reading books together, and watching kid friendly television programs with their grandparents.
  • Older kids will likely enjoy hands-on experiences with grandparents – such as helping to bake a cake or doing arts and crafts like building and hanging wooden birdhouses.
  • To increase bonds with older kids, do share cheerful stories and some family history with teenagers so that they feel connected to the past.
  • If possible, take older grandchildren out on an adventure – to a movie, to a holiday show, or to a museum of their choice. Or go mini golfing, bowling, or out for ice cream.
  • Don’t expect grands you don’t see often to suddenly open to you. Allow them to share thoughts and feelings once they are ready.
  • Prefer to stay closer to home? Take the kids sledding in the yard, build a snowman, and make hot cocoa. It’s all about having fun together.
  • Respect the parents’ wishes. While it is wonderful to bond with grandchildren, the parents are ultimately in charge. Thus, grandparents seeking to bond with their grandchildren should respect boundaries to include observing nutrition and bedtime rules and allowing the parents to take charge of disciplining their children.
  • It’s important to establish regular communications with grandchildren who live far away, so that they know that you continually care about them and are steadily there for them.
  • It can be challenging to bond with children who live far away. However, weekly video calls and sending encouraging letters, homemade cookies, books, and other specialty items can make a child feel special.

Making memories is key

Bonding with grandchildren over the holidays is a wonderful experience. This special time of year affords grandparents abundant opportunities to create holiday memories with grandchildren. Whether you head out on an adventure or stay indoors to string popcorn for the holiday tree, the time you spend with grandchildren will create a special connection. Communicating regularly with grandchildren who are far away also shows that you care. When convenient for the parents, set up a video call on Christmas, where you can read them a story, tell jokes, or sing holiday songs together. Someday, looking back in time, the memories you make together and the love that you express will be cherished and remembered as a gift richer than gold.

For more information on spending time with family, click here.

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