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- Desmond Tutu
Family is our past, present and future - and it is so important to bring the generations together to share the laughter and love that such closeness often evokes. Whether your children's grandparents live close-by or half-way across the world, the relationships they have with your children can be very special! Grandparents possess a breadth of experience and knowledge (not to mention some great childhood anecdotes about you or your spouse!) that can captivate the minds of children of all ages.
No matter how often your children visit with their grandparents, try and make their time together as memorable and enjoyable as possible. It may require a bit of work on your part, and maybe even a little flexibility, but watching your parents or in-laws truly connect with your children is priceless. Below are a few tips for making fond memories for both your children and their grandparents:
- Play to your parent's (or in-law's) strengths - try to "casually arrange" opportunities for activities both they and your children will enjoy (i.e. games, picnics, fishing with grandpa, crafting with grandma, etc.).
- Be flexible - while your children's safety must always come first, allow for a few small concessions or departures from your usual routine (extra treats, missed naps, over-the-top silliness, etc.).
- Wax nostalgic - ask your parents or in-laws to share stories from their youth; share old photos, paper clippings, or letters.
- Share your heritage - have your children learn about their family's customs and traditions! Arrange to have your children and their grandparents: make a favorite ethnic dish together, learn a favorite traditional song or dance, share a folk-tale or story.
- Alone time - if you, your children, and your parents (or in-laws) are comfortable with the idea, consider allowing your children to "sleep-over" at their grandparents. If a sleep-over is out, try to plan some time when your kids and their grandparents can visit alone (without you hovering over them!) - sometimes it is easier for people to be themselves when they don't feel they have an audience.
Family is precious; and sharing time, experiences, and heritage across the generations is a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime! If possible, try to capture some of those laughs and interactions on film and video, so you can all enjoy them for years to come!