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Bonding with grandparents

Bookmark and Share If you've ever turned to your parents, your partner's parents, or older relatives for help and support with raising your children, you've probably experienced how wonderful grandparents can be. Although physical distance and parenting differences can come between grandparents and their grandchildren, encouraging a close relationship is beneficial to grandparents, parents, and children alike. Benefits of bonding with grandparents
Tips for staying in touch
Safety away from home
Are you new grandparents?

Benefits of bonding with grandparents
Children who establish a close bond with their grandparents can learn about their cultural heritage and family history, which can give them a stronger sense of belonging. In addition, it can provide children with a sense of independence by allowing them to develop trust in and feel safe with people other than their parents. Another benefit - grandparents may have lots of time to spend playing with and reading to your kids, which helps improve developmental and learning skills. But, the benefit of encouraging your children to bond with grandparents doesn't end with the kids. Parents also benefit by receiving help with childcare and advice. And, grandparents who remain close to their grandchildren may be healthier, happier and more active. Tips for staying in touch
In today's world, physical distance and busy work and school schedules may interfere with regular visits to grandma and grandpa’s house. Despite this, you can encourage your child to develop a closer bond with grandparents by trying the tips below.
Visit often. If your parents live nearby, make an effort to carve time out of your busy schedule for regular visits. Encourage grandparents to drop by your home, and plan regular trips to see out-of-town grandparents. Even if visits are infrequent, anticipating and planning the next trip can help your child see the joy in spending time with relatives.
Stay in touch using technology. Email letters, pictures and sound files of your growing child to his grandparents. If they don't own a computer, make videos or recordings during favorite activities, like taking a bath or playing with a pet. Or ask grandparents to record a reading of a favorite story and play it for your child before bedtime.
Say cheese. Post snapshots of grandparents in a prominent spot in your home, and point them out to your child often. Or, place family pictures in a special photo album, and page through it frequently while naming the family members.
Send a letter. Does your child love to receive mail? Send grandparents a box of postcards and some stamps, and ask them to send your child regular letters. Another way to encourage communication is to have your child write letters every week at the same time - both kids and grandparents will anticipate the regular communication.
Pass it on. Most grandparents have hobbies or special skills, such as knitting, woodworking, or cooking, that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren. Provide your children with the time and tools they need to learn these skills from their grandparents.
Chart a family tree. Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives. Encourage your child's grandparents to share stories of their families. You can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart the family tree.
Safety away from home
When visiting grandparents nearby or far away, don't forget to make safety a priority. Grandparents may not be accustomed to having young children in the house, and the presence of household dangers could affect your visit. Use a household safety checklist to childproof a grandparent's home. Take special care to ensure that dangerous items and substances, such as cleaning products, medications, razors and knives, are out of reach or locked in a cabinet. When visiting, take a quick look around the room for objects that could be dangerous. Gather up these items in a box or laundry basket and place them out of reach. In addition, stairs should be blocked so your child won't fall, and pet dishes, buckets and other containers of water should be emptied to eliminate drowning hazards. To make the job easier, you might want to bring your own childproofing gear, such as outlet covers, cabinet and toilet locks and safety gates. Are you new grandparents?
Check out Grandparents’ Night at Virtua Voorhees. This evening is designed to introduce grandparents to trends and changes in childbirth and baby safety. Topics include baby and car seat safety, tips for supporting new parents, and advice and support for new grandparents. Registration is required. Call 1-888-Virtua-3 (1-888-847-8823) to register.