I met a Mom who lived in Brooklyn and her parents lived in Austria. She commented that her toddler wouldn’t talk to them on the phone and when her daughter sees them in person she is also hesitant to interact with them.
It can be hard for little ones, first to know what to say or how to talk and second to feel close to someone they don’t see all the time.
If you parents live in another city you can’t just expect your kids to feel close, you need to set the stage and help support a healthy relationship between your child and your parents.
Here are five things you can do to help support this important relationship:
Have pictures of your parents around the house. If you have a photo of your child with your parents, let your child keep that in their room.
Tell stories about your parents and relive moments from when they visited or when your child last spoke with them.
Include your parents in your everyday, as if they were there with you. Talk about what they might be doing today. When important or noteworthy things happen, suggest that these moments are great things to share with grandma or grandpa.
Modeling is so important. If you don’t talk to your parents, why should your child?
Be excited to talk to your parents. If you are dreading it, again, why should your child be excited?
Prepare your child for a phone call. Don’t call and then say ‘come here, grandma wants to talk to you.’ Most kids will put up a wall if you do that. Start by saying ‘What do you think grandma and grandpa are doing?’ And then say, ‘Let’s call and find out.’ As your child is talking, remind them of things they might want to share. Or let them know that you are going to call grandma and grandpa and ask your child what they would like to share. Bottom line, prepare them and call when they are excited and open to talk.
Just because our parents are flesh and blood doesn’t give them an automatic ‘in’ with our children. This relationship needs to be fostered and developed just as any other relationship. Your child needs to trust and feel comfortable with your parents. If they are long-distance grandparents, you need to make the fact that they aren’t local a non-issue by keeping them present in your child’s mind and heart.
© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.