Grandparents, this is for you!
Your precious little granddaughter has grown up overnight, and you are no longer sure how to connect with her. Sometimes the change can happen slowly or sometimes it is quite sudden and you are left wondering what happened?!
As you may or may not remember from raising your own kids, tweens / teens start becoming more independent and begin to spend time in their rooms more. This is all NORMAL and part of their development as they slowly prepare to become an adult. As this process starts, your granddaughter might seem more distant, less engaged, and maybe more into her phone than she seems to be in talking with you. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps it's time to try some other ways to connect with her. Rest assured that with a few tweaks, your relationship can get back on track in no time.
Here are some ideas for you:
1. Connect over technology - She's on her phone more than ever, so connect with her there. Share memes or silly photos you find. Follow her on social media and respond to her posts. Ask her to show you how certain platforms work like Instagram or TikTok. If you are long distance, using FaceTime and apps like Marco Polo for video messaging can go a long way in staying connected.
2. Teach her a new skill - Are you a knitter? Do you play cards? Teach your grandchildren one of your hobbies. Likewise, ask her to teach you a new skill.
3. Volunteer together
4. Spend time together one on one - Spending time together with each grandchild individually without parents or other siblings around. Sometimes this is hard to arrange, but worth it!
5. Share stories - Share what it was like to be their age, fun stories about their parent. Ask them to tell you stories. Try this list of questions to ask teens by Family Zone - https://www.familyzone.com/anz/families/blog/100-questions-for-teens
Love this from GaGa Sisterhood (who also has other tips on her site) -
"My favorite technique is to pretend I’m an anthropologist studying an exotic tribe. I want to learn as much as I can about what interests my grandchild and how she thinks and acts."
6. Send care packages or cards often. Write letters / send postcards - Celebrate holidays like Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July by sending fun care packages or cards. Celebrate milestones (like a first bra package from Bleuet!). Even though they might not write back, write them letters. Traveling? Send postcards from wherever you go.
7. Read a book or watch a show together - Stay connected by choosing a book or TV series to watch and discuss!
8. Travel together - If you can, take a trip together where you will build lasting memories and bond.
A few important notes: Refrain from judging their appearance, hair style, etc. Know that kids are very different today from how you were at this age. Be curious, not judgmental! Set a good example by putting down your technology to be present and engage with them.
It might take some extra intentional work, and you may need to ask your son or daughter to help you, but it will be worth strengthening your connection. They will always be grateful to have you in their lives.
Anything we have missed? Let us know how you like to spend time with your granddaughter!