How to Influence a Healthy Bond Between Grandparents and Grandkids 

BarbChild Development, Parenting

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Have you had another unpleasant experience with your children’s grandparents?  Are they spoiling your kids too much by giving them everything they want? Are your kids behavior problems when they arrive home after a visit with their grandparents?  Let’s examine some ways you can influence a healthy bond between grandparents and grandkids.

Why Grandkids Need Their Grandparents

Grandparents serve as companions and confidants at times. They can provide emotional support when a family is experiencing tough times such as a divorce, death in the family, or other family hardships. They can provide child care services when parents aren’t available. Grandparents pass on the family history and traditions by sharing information about you, your relatives, and family customs that you may have not shared with your kids. They serve as role models about aging.  How kids see their grandparents age may affect how they view aging. As Rudy Giuliani summed it up:

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”

Ways to Influence a Healthy Bond Between Grandparents and Grandkids

How to Manage Over-Indulgent Grandparents

It’s natural for grandparents to want to spoil their grandkids. They want to shower them with all the things they may not have been able to give you as a child. They want to be loved by their grandkids. As a parent, you ‘ll need to tolerate a bit of spoiling and appreciate that your parents are the loving, caring people they are. However, if you feel that they are going overboard with gifts or permitting them to do certain things you do not allow in your home, you will need to address the problem with them.

Let your parents know what things or experiences you don’t want your children to have and the reasons. “Please don’t bring Susie for ice cream right before you drop her home for dinner.  She isn’t hungry for her supper after she eats it.” “I know David has been asking you for a laptop but he doesn’t need one, yet.  He can use ours.” “Kim needs to go to bed at 8pm. If she stays up past that, it throws off her sleep patterns and I have a difficult time getting her up for school on Monday.”

How Can You Help Your Kids’ Grandparents Spend Quality Time with Your Kids?

If your kids are bored when they go to their grandparent’s house or your parents want some ideas on what to do with your child, offer some suggestions such as:

Make cookies together.

Show them family photos and talk about the people in the pictures.

Teach them how to do something like painting, gardening, or playing a new game.

Go for walks and feed the ducks.

Take them to the zoo.

Play their favorite board games or puzzles.

Watch a fun movie together.

Read them their favorite books

Be positive. Let your parents know if there was an activity your kids enjoyed doing with them.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Don’t compare how other family members interact with your child.  It will only cause resentment.

Don’t show partiality to one set of grandparents. Make sure they have equal opportunities to interact with their grandkids.

Don’t be unrealistic about how you want your parents to interact with your kids. Nobody is perfect! You don’t want grandparents walking on eggshells when spending time with your child. It won’t be an enjoyable experience for them or your kids.

Don’t criticize grandparents when your kids are present.

Try implementing some of our suggestions to influence a healthy bond between grandparents and grandkids.  How have you tried to strengthen the relationship between your parents and your kids?

“Remember a grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.” What more could a kid ask for?

~ Unknown


Chappell Schools of Jacksonville, Florida has been providing child care and preschool learning programs for 55+ years. Our educational programs address the TOTAL child – cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. We pride ourselves on being voted one of the “Top 50 For-Profit Child Care Organizations in North America.”  Visit one of our eight centers to see how we make learning fun by contacting us at 904.739.1279.  To get  more child care tips, please “Like” our Facebook page. 

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