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Tips to Forming Friendships with Grandchildren

We undoubtedly love our grandchildren and, because we’re a part of the same family, they most likely feel the same about us. However, just because you share the same lineage as these young individuals doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually have much in common with them. It’s hard for them to imagine a world in which communication isn’t initiated through texts and Instagram and, most likely, you’re a bit baffled by how seemingly attached they are to their cell phones. However, the difference in years doesn’t have to create a barrier between you and your grandchildren; below we’ve detailed some tips that can help the two of you to form a true and lasting friendship.

1)     Do some investigatory work. Pre-teens and teenagers are not always the most forthcoming, so consult with their parents about what the youngsters are currently “into.” Therefore, you can ask them thoughtful questions about their hobbies; keep in mind that, even if their taste in music sounds absolutely appalling to your ears, you shouldn’t criticize it wholeheartedly.

2)     Make your house a fun place to be. Remember that children tend to become easily bored, so make sure that your space is fully equipped with plenty of fun hobbies. Crafts, bored games, figurines, sports, music . . . take your little ones to a place like Toys R Us so they can show you what they truly enjoy. Just don’t have handheld video games or a plethora of movies. These sort of electronic activities don’t encourage social interaction and will distract the youngsters from bonding with you.

3)     Spend some alone time together. This middle-generation is the group that is most familiar with you and your grandkids, so it’s tempting for them to intercede during your interactions. To prevent yourself from turning into a third wheel, occasionally schedule some one-on-one time with your grandchildren without their moms or dads; if you are someone who needs increased medical attention, consider purchasing a medical alert system like the ones from Fall Alert so younger children won’t be responsible for contacting the authorities if you need help.

4)     Show them photographs of when you were your grandchildren’s age and tell them stories. For little ones and young adults, it’s hard to imagine a time in which we too attended school, swooned over heartthrobs and dreamed of what we wanted to be when we “grew up.” By recounting vibrant (but brief) accounts, you’ll be more relatable to your grandchildren, who might even tell you a tale or two of their own.

5)     Spoil the little ones a little bit. Of course it’s fun to pump the grandchildren full of buttery cookies and indulge in their every whim, if only to see their adorable smiles. That being said, never do so without the permission of the moms and dads first. Each parent has their own ideas of what is advantageous for their kids and, even if you don’t fully agree with their opinions, you shouldn’t contradict what directives and values they’re trying to instill.

Be they’re biggest cheerleader. Being a kid is tough; whether your grandchildren are contending with a challenging school curriculum, are confronting a bully or are trying out for a sports team, there’s going to be times in which they will benefit from a compassionate hug and ear to listen. Be a source of unconditional love and encouragement, and you’ll undoubtedly form the beginning of a lifelong bond.

Do you have any tips that have helped you to create a meaningful friendship with your grandchildren? Share it with our readers!

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