Creating a Special Bond With Your Grandchildren

By Taryn Tacher

The relationship between a grandparent and his or her grandchildren offers a unique set of responsibilities and rewards.

Grandparents don’t have to reprimand. They don’t have to take away dessert because their granddaughter misbehaves. They don’t have to declare a time out sentencing when their grandson refuses to clean his room.

Grandparents can offer all of the love, guidance and fun without carrying the weight of raising a mature, self sufficient adult. And perhaps, that even makes children more receptive to their grandparents — because they can unapologetically be themselves without fear of being berated.

A child looks to his or her grandmother for homemade cookies and card games and to grandfather for wartime stories and crinkly-edged photographs of mom with an outlandishly embarrassing haircut from when she was 9. Grandparents are the keys to the past. They’re living history, packed with experiences and insight, and an uncanny memory of the price of bubblegum back in the ’40s.

For all of the things parents might not get around to sharing with their children, grandparents can fill in the gaps. They play an integral role in bringing up a child by supplying snippets of the past— rarely used skillsets and a varied perspective — that the ample age gap allows them to do.

Children are infused with technology now. It’s as if they’re born with iPhones in their hands and Fitbits on their wrists. They might learn how to use these devices through osmosis, but the same cannot be said for those age-old to-dos that grandparents know so well. If not grandparents, who will teach kids to bake, knit or play piano? Will they know how to address an envelope or pen a beautiful letter in cursive? Will they even appreciate actual books or printed photographs?

Children need their grandparents to keep them grounded, to show them how to solve problems and execute tasks when technology fails them. But, in an age where gadgets are so readily accessible, it’s sometimes difficult to coerce a child to become independent from electronics and the Internet. To increase their willingness to part with their tablets and game consoles, try the following:

• Create a schedule that designates time for different activities (cooking, scrapbooking, watching TV,

• Explain the importance of each task and show how it can be fun.

• Establish a long-term project, divide it into parts and complete one part at a time over the course of weeks or months.

• Pay attention to children and their preferences. If it’s impossible to catch their focus, try a different activity.

What to Pass Down to Your Grandchildren?

• Grandma’s chicken soup recipe

• How to sew on a button or fix a hem

• Grandpa’s lucky handkerchief

• The famous “I walked miles in the snow to get to school” story

• How to tie different types of knots

• Grandpa’s old-fashion backgammon board

• Grandma’s wedding dress

• How to set the table correctly

• How to crochet

• How to knit

• Grandpa’s secret local fishing holes

• How to make tomato sauce

• How to play piano

• Home remedies for colds or injuries