Ways to Cultivate Positive Relationships with Your Grandchildren

Who doesn’t want to have the best possible relationship with their grandchildren? Most grandparents desperately want their grandchildren to like them and to want to spend time with them. Intentional grandparents, however, want even more… they want their grandkids to feel that being around grandma and grandpa is a safe place to ask hard questions without judgment, and they want to have a spiritual impact in their lives.

Here are seven gold nuggets (practical activities) you can do with your grandchildren, regardless of age, that will help you cultivate a relationship of trust and authenticity. The earlier you start putting these into practice with your grandchildren, the greater the impact, If your grandkids are older, it is never too late to start.

These activities, taken by themselves, are useful for any relationship, but for grandparents who want to be intentional Gospel focused grandparents, these will lay the groundwork for making a profound influence in their lives for Christ and the Gospel.

1. EAT TOGETHER: One of the most tragic consequences of the cultural lies demanding our attention and attraction all the time is the disintegration of family meals together. Grandparents can recapture the power of the family table with their grandchildren when they are with them. The dinner table is a powerful place to do life together and be open with one another, and not just at the holidays. Hold fast to this opportunity.

2. ENGAGE REGULARLY: I cannot think of a better way to engage with your grandchildren than through conversations with them about life. I’m not talking about heavy theological discussions, but learning to ask good questions that open doors of opportunity to talk about things below the surface. Here are few questions to start the conversation:

  1. What do you think about… ?
  2. Why do you think that?
  3. What do you think God thinks? Why?
  4. What if what you think is wrong? Would you want to know?
  5. What is your favorite…. (color, pet, music, place, etc.? Why?

3. PLAN A FUN EVENT TOGETHER: Nothing builds strong relationships better than spending time together and doing something fun and meaningful. This is one of the reasons we started GrandCamps—a fun faith adventure where you spend significant, quality time bonding together and cultivating a legacy of faith. Check out our web site for more information. Here are a couple of other ideas:

  • Take a road trip with your grandchildren
  • Sign up for a mission project with your grandchildren

4. TURN IT OFF! – CHALLENGE TO A MEDIA FAST: When your grandchildren come to visit or you are watching them for extended periods of time, create periods of time when you establish a tech fast. Today’s technology that fills the lives of our children with screen time is rapidly destroying relationships of all kinds. Tell your grandkids you’re going to do a experiment with them by turning it all off. But replace the screen time with some fun and interactive face. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Game night
  • Craft time
  • Cooking or baking time
  • Bike ride

5. LAUGH TOGETHER! Create an atmosphere filled with laughter. Tell funny stories, roll around with younger ones on the floor (if you’re able), see who can make the funniest face, listen to some good Christian comedians.

6. PRAY TOGETHER: Teach your grandchildren to pray. Pray for them, but also pray with them. Meal times are great, but there are many other opportunities to stop and pray with your grandchildren reminding them of God’s presence and goodness.

7. SPEAK BLESSING: I don’t believe there is a more powerful tool for building strong relationships with your children and grandchildren than speaking blessing into their lives. If you would like some help to do a spoken blessing, go to our web site and download your free Create a Legacy of Blessing packet. A good hug and telling them how precious they are to you, and to God, is a powerful way to speak bless into their life.

GRANDPAUSE: You will invest your life in something, or you will throw it away on nothing. Haddon Robinson

5 replies
  1. deirdre williams
    deirdre williams says:

    Looking for info and ideas to help continue a great relationship with my 5 grands who have lived 3 miles from me all their lives but are now moving 11 hours away. We will do Face Time and text but I’m looking for other creative ideas- They range from 12 to 15 mths in age

    Reply
    • Cavin Harper
      Cavin Harper says:

      Deirdre, this is always a hard thing, especially after having your grandkids so close to you. I’m hoping some of our other readers will respond to your comment as well. Here are a couple of things I would recommend:

      1) Remember, that technology like FaceTime is good and should be used as often as your adult children think is reasonable, but face time (in person) should be a high priority according to whatever is reasonable for you and your situation. If you are okay driving 11 hours, schedule some time maybe once a quarter (or whatever their parents think is workable), and make the trip. Make sure you make the stay worthwhile, but not too much for the rest of the family. I think 3-5 days at a time is sufficient. While you’re with them, don’t smother them with stuff and non-stop activity, but carefully choose how you will give each child the attention they need and opportunity for the older ones to share what’s on their heart.

      2) Send lots of handwritten notes, cards or letters… not just on birthdays or special events. Tell them how you’re praying for them, the special traits and skills you are seeing God develop in them, and what God is doing in your life as well. Be sure to share a short blessing over them each time you write (or visit), and remind them how precious they are to God who made them in His image.

      I’m sure there will many more ideas people may want to share, but I know these two things can have powerful impact on them even though you’re long distant. In fact, sometimes, these special moments that are much less frequent because of distance can have an even more powerful impact when they know how genuine your heart is toward them. This is not an obstacle, but an opportunity. May God bless you with wisdom and steadfastness.

      Reply

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