Once we are retired we have more time on our hands to do many of the things that we simply didn’t have the time for when we were working and juggling other family responsibilities. Once you’ve retired, your children will probably be well off your hands and the chances are they’ll probably have children of their own. There is something special about being a grandparent and, although you’ll no doubt have other interests to pursue once you retire, the amount of time and effort you put into being a grandparent can have positive benefits for both you and your grandchildren. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation in that you get to experience the fun of having young children around you without the same degree of parental responsibility that you’ll have had with your own children, the kids get to have fun too and the parents (your children) get some much needed time to themselves.
There are gains to be made all round when you choose to spend quality time with your grandchildren. In addition to those mentioned above, you’ll get to marvel at the different stages of their personal development and you’ll be able to share all of their triumphs and achievements as they grow older.
It also provides a link for both you and your family and you’ll all benefit from the mutual support, encouragement and companionship. You’ll often find that you take enormous pride and satisfaction in your ability to be a better grandparent than you were as a parent as you’ll have accumulated many more years of experience of relating to children.
From your grandchildren’s standpoint, they’ll also benefit from developing new life skills which you’ve taught them. They’ll gain more of a sense of where they came from as they learn all about the origins of their family. They’ll also place more of an importance on what is right or wrong in both their own behaviour and in society in general which is not always the case when taught all of this by their parents, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. Furthermore, it will help to give them a more positive attitude towards ageing – something that seems to be sadly lacking in today’s society.
How to Foster a Good Relationship with Your Grandchildren
First of all, you should be a good listener. Not only will your grandchildren want to tell you all about what they’ve been up to, you can often be considered a true ‘confidante’ when it comes to them discussing any problems they may have which they might not feel they can discuss with their parents no matter how good their parents’ listening skills are.
You should always be keen to set a good example in every experience you have with them. Setting the benchmark for good manners and behaving appropriately will rub off on them and they will be more likely to adopt your values as their own too.
Let them be themselves, however – you should love them simply because they are your grandchildren and your views of them should not be clouded by your own thoughts about what they should be like. Make it interesting for them too.
In addition to being enthusiastic when they’re telling you what they’ve been up to, come up with ideas for things you can all do together – whether that’s taking them on day trips, developing new hobbies together etc.
And, simply remember how lucky you are to have them. Some grandparents live far away from their grandchildren and miss out on a lot of ‘stuff’ together. That said, even if you’re separated from your grandchildren by oceans and seas, remember that e-mail, messenger programs and webcams have made it even easier than ever to stay in touch these days and you can still share experiences with your grandchildren even if you are thousands of miles apart.