If you’re a grandparent, you know that seeing your grandbaby’s sweet face and being around them is one of the greatest blessings that there is!
However, no matter how happy you might be about your grandchild or how much you may love them, sometimes it can feel difficult to really connect with them. Here are a few things to consider and try to really connect and develop a strong relationship with your grandchild.
Work on your relationship with both parents
Children are incredibly perceptive. If you have a strained relationship with the grandchild’s parent, either your child or their significant other, that puts a great deal of stress on everyone. This may cause a child to feel pain or concern when you are around, resulting in a more difficult relationship. Whether it takes prayer, forgiveness, establishing and respecting boundaries, going to counseling, or having an honest talk to work through past problems, do whatever it takes to create a calm, stable environment.
Having a positive relationship with a child’s parents is the absolute best thing you can do to connect your grandchildren.
Take time to understand their developmental stage
If you pick up your younger grandchild and he or she starts crying, there’s a good chance that their tears have nothing to do with you. Sometimes children are just in a phase of their brain development where they have a difficult time with anyone who isn’t their mom or dad. Give it time and do a little research. Does your grandchild just need some space? Does he or she need reassurance? Is now just not a good time?
No matter what the cause, never take their feelings or fears personally.
Be aware of what makes your grandchildren unique
Sometimes it’s easy for us to want to be around other people who are like ourselves. If you are extremely outgoing, but your grandchild prefers to stay at home and feels more secure being around a small group of people he or she knows, don’t force them outside of their comfort zone. Unless you’ve talked with their parents and all agree to help them stretch, sometimes pushing a child to do something that makes them uncomfortable can scar them for life.
Let your grandchild be who God created him or her to be and get to know them with this in mind.
Bond over things they’re interested in
No matter how interesting your life may have been when you were younger, children won’t be developmentally ready to be truly interested in your life until they reach a certain age. Instead, find out what they enjoy and have them teach you what they care about most. If they like trucks, play trucks with them. If they like animals, offer to take them to the zoo.
As them questions and show them that you’re willing to try new things (or even difficult things) in order to get to know them.