Becoming a grandparent is special. Considered a significant milestone for many individuals, it brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to see your kids grow up and have their own. However, there can be challenges to navigate as the role has changed compared to a few decades ago due to advancements in technology.
First-time grandparents often approach this role with a mix of excitement and apprehension. Much like parenthood, the journey is a unique and personal one. Nevertheless, there are several considerations that can help you smoothly adapt to your newfound role.
Eye-opening statistics on grand parenting:
Data from the U.S. Census reveals that 7.1 million grandparents in America cohabit with their grandchildren under the age of 18. Among them, 2.3 million grandparents bear the responsibility for their grandchildren's care. Notably, approximately one-third of these grandchildren under the care of their grandparents are younger than six years old.
Census data also indicates that around half of the grandparents assuming responsibility for their grandchildren are 60 years and above.
How to engage and connect with your grandchildren in the 21st century:
As we have mentioned, gone are the days of traditional roles. Nowadays, many grandparents are active, engaged, and tech-savvy.
Here are some great modern ways to bond with your grandchildren:
Try to be tech-savvy:
Many of today’s younger generation is growing up surrounded by vast information accessible at their fingertips. The internet plays a massive role in their lives, even from an early age. Whether they're watching YouTube videos, playing games on their tablets, or reading books on Kindles, having a basic understanding of these devices can be beneficial.
While you don't need to be a tech expert, being familiar with navigating the App Store on their iPad, assisting them in a search for their favorite TV shows online, and using communication tools like FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype can be valuable. This knowledge becomes instrumental in maintaining contact if you have a long-distance relationship with your grandchild.
Engage in Intergenerational Learning:
Take an interest in your grandchildren's hobbies, activities, and passions. This shared learning experience can strengthen your bond and create lasting memories.
Modern Storytelling Through Podcasting or Blogging:
Grandparents are known to share tales of their yesteryears. Many recount their personal experiences and the significant events that influenced our world. They also share stories on history and family heritage, providing grandchildren with insights into their culture and background.
Explore modern storytelling methods, such as podcasting or blogging to share these experiences and wisdom. Create a podcast or a blog where you narrate family stories, discuss life lessons, or simply share your thoughts on various topics. This modern approach to storytelling allows you to connect with your grandchildren in a new way.
Be Active and Adventurous:
As much as you are able to, get involved in physical activities and outdoor adventures with your grandchildren. Being active together not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but also creates opportunities for bonding and shared experiences away from a screen.
Respect Individual Parenting Styles:
Families often have diverse parenting styles, as a grandparent, respect the choices and decisions made by your children. Avoid imposing outdated parenting practices and instead offer support and guidance when requested. Understanding and respecting different parenting approaches contribute to a harmonious family environment.
Grand parenting in the 21st century is a dynamic and evolving role. The key lies in adapting to the changing times while cherishing the timeless values of love, wisdom, and shared experiences. In doing so, you are bridging the generation gap and creating a legacy of strong family bonds that withstand the test of time.