Growing up with grandparents is a blessing. Grandparents are the ultimate role models, offering sage life advice and passing on family traditions. They have wise guidance to share, but they can also be among the most fun family members when it comes to playtime and adventures. Grandparents are skilled at making unforgettable memories for kids to hold close to their hearts, and they play an irreplaceable part in their grandchildren’s stories.
The loving relationships grandchildren have with their grandparents grow and mature with time. This growth happens through intentional, engaging, meaningful — and regular — communication. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to talk about ways to open the lines of communication between kids and their grandmothers (or any remote mother-figure in their lives!).
But the decades between children and their grandparents can sometimes cause conversational roadblocks or difficulties. Don’t let these challenges get in the way! Read on for some tips and tricks to help kids and grandparents give each other the gift of communication, make the most of family time, and use Kinoo to help virtual family relationships flourish.
Why Are Conversations So Important?
The relationships you have in your life were all built and maintained through conversations. Quality conversations infuse trust and understanding into relationships between people.
Research shows that a child’s language development depends on the amount of interaction they have with others.
The more quality conversations children have, the more grammar and vocabulary they are exposed to, and the more complex their language development becomes. This advancement is especially true when they converse with adults who have an interest in helping develop their language skills — like grandparents, parents, and teachers.
Initiating these conversations often falls to the grandparents, who are more than happy to do so. But when kids are old enough to be curious (and those endless “why” questions are a perfect signal), parents can encourage them to bring that curiosity forward and direct some fun questions to their grandparents. Maybe it’s time to help children be more intentional with the time they spend with their grandparents to get to know each other better.
Helping Your Children Build Relationships With Family
Starting conversations is another way for kids to really get to know loved ones. Fun questions do more than create inside jokes and laughter; they serve as vital learning tools. A great way to ratchet up how well the child knows their grandparent is by asking some simple questions that the child can relate to their own experiences.
If you’re looking to encourage your children to build relationships with family, start by giving them fun, useful conversation-starting questions. Practice makes perfect, but so does preparation. Even if they are still shy and do not use the questions right away, knowing the tools are there will help fuel the transition from being shy to sharing their life story.
Here are four easy-to-remember conversation-starting questions a child of any age can use when talking to their grandparents.
#1. “What Are Some of Your Favorite Childhood Memories?”
If you are looking for questions guaranteed to spark joy, inquiring about favorite memories is a sure bet. Research shows that savoring positive past life experiences elicits positive emotions.
Stroll down memory lane: Grandparents might talk about favorite toys or how their own parents would make the holidays magical. Reviewing grandparents’ life stories brings family history to life, leaving children with a sense of pride and wonder about the past.
#2. “What Was Your Favorite Subject When You Were in School?”
Exchanging school stories and comparing favorite subjects is always a bonding experience. Whether it is math class or art class, everyone has a passion.
Discussing the magic of learning can inspire future generations to commit to education and work hard to achieve their goals. Grandparents can share advice and encourage children who may be struggling. Sometimes it only takes one strong voice to make a child feel heard and valued and change their lives.
#3. “What Was Growing Like Up for You?”
As children grow, it’s fun to learn more about other people’s experiences, especially family members. This question is a great opportunity for grandparents to really open up and share more about their lives.
From the location and characteristics of their first home to typical outfits for daily wear and high school dances, grandparents can breathe life into history books and help kids learn from a personal perspective.
#4. “What Is Your Favorite Food?”
Family memories are formed around the picnic, kitchen, and dining table. Sharing a meal is more than nutrition. According to the University of Oxford, 76% of people surveyed believe that sharing a meal encourages bonding.
However, the same study reported that those over 55 years of age are the most likely to eat alone. This likely contributes to feelings of isolation and loneliness in older relatives.
Prompt your child to ask grandparents about family recipes and foods that have special meaning to them. While reminiscing about favorite foods, children can be exposed to their family’s traditions and culture. They learn how world events influenced diets, with trends such as Victory Gardens, rationing, or how tastes and preferences change over a lifetime.
How To Share a Meal Virtually
If your child converses with grandparents via Kinoo, they can also do some cooking and snack-sharing (virtually) with their long-distance grandparents. Use the Kinoo app to throw a pizza party!
In a Kinoo call, kids and older loved ones can make their favorite pizza by picking the toppings and sharing an old-fashioned slice. Bonding happens as prompts inside the pizza activity encourage discussion of your favorite thing to put on pizza and your favorite pizza parlor. Plus, you can use the pizza toppings for activities such as a tic-tac-toe game or make letters and numbers with pepperoni or silly toppings like whipped cream.
It’s all there in the app, including the fun suggestions from Kodii, the adorable animated character that encourages kids and helps them stay engaged with older loved ones. And the best part? No mess to clean up!
How To Encourage a Grandparent/Grandchild Bond
Not all kids are extroverted or outgoing. Many children struggle with shyness, which can affect their relationships with other family members, including grandparents. Especially after the isolation of the pandemic, kids who aren’t naturally outgoing may need some encouragement when it comes to bonding with other people.
One way to encourage your kids to open up to their grandparents is by facilitating regular contact. Children thrive on routine, and often, older adults do, too. Scheduling regular contact can help with managing emotional regulation and building secure attachment styles in kids.
Regular communication with family has also been shown to mitigate loneliness and depression for adults, especially those who live alone. If the grandparents live nearby, invite them over. If they happen to live farther away, weekly phone calls or video chats, especially using Kinoo, can transform grandparents from unknown relatives to close, cherished best friends.
Another way to encourage kids to bond with grandparents is by helping them learn to navigate intergenerational conversations. When kids have a tendency to be shy, they may not know how to start conversations or keep them going.
Becoming a good conversationalist is a skill that will aid them in everything from navigating the playground to their first job or first date. Grandparents are the perfect playmates to help kids learn this important skill set.
Helping Grandparents Help Kids
Even if your young chatty Cathy is gabbing away, grandparents might need a little assistance in directing the conversation and helping her learn from the interaction.
Enter: Kinoo. With the patented-Kinoo app developed by experts and loved by families, grandparents can connect and co-play with young family members no matter where they are and help them learn as they share adventures together. But even if grandparents aren’t sure how to keep the learning happening, Kinoo is built to help.
Within each Kinoo activity, a lightbulb prompt appears for the older loved one that is not seen on the child’s screen. Just give the lightbulb a tap to access age-appropriate fun facts, learning tips, and thought-provoking questions for your little buddy to breathe new life into your chat.
Remember that kids are more likely to open up and share when someone else does it first. Parents and grandparents lead by example!
Why Intergenerational Bonds Are Vital
These in-game prompts, tips, and questions, although simple to execute, are great for paving the way to strong, lasting bonds. By nourishing the roots of the family tree, the branches will be able to flourish. Relationships help children grow and mature as they learn from the life lessons, advice, and perspectives of the important people in their lives — like grandparents.
Encouraging conversations is one way you can help your child grow to become more confident, thoughtful, and independent. When they can hold conversations and spark questions, they are able to think more independently and freely, setting them up for future success in school, career, and in life!