While babysitting newborns and minding toddlers comes naturally to most grandparents, bonding with teenagers can feel like a whole different game. In between an increased study load, friendship dramas and raging hormones, figuring out how to connect with the teenagers in your life can be difficult. This is where a little strategic thinking comes in. Just because your grandkids are growing up it doesn’t mean you have to step back or take the sidelines. Instead, get creative with your activities, keep an open mind and build the foundations for a genuine adult relationship with your grandkids. Here are a few tips to get you inspired:
Monthly outings and activities
As grandkids get older their personalities start to shine and this is a wonderful opportunity to bond and share meaningful experiences. Scheduling a monthly outing is a great way to spend time together and can be anything from a night out at the cinema to a day at the rugby. The best way to decide on an activity is to chat to your grandkids about their interests, ask for ideas and hopefully find something that you both enjoy.
TV shows and movie nights
Simple yet timeless, watching TV shows and movies together can be a great way to bond with your teenage grandkids. From Downtown Abbey to Handmaid’s Tale, there are so many fantastic TV shows out there that will keep you entertained for seasons on end. Something not quite your cup of tea? Try to remember quality time is a priority, so if your grandkids are enjoying the content make an effort to do the same. With a little effort, almost anything can be enjoyable.
The teenage years are incredibly formative and as a grandparent, you have an incredible opportunity to shape the values and morals of your grandchildren. Encouraging your teens to volunteer can be a great way to not only spend time together but also help them develop a sense of community spirit.
Learning to drive
This one is a bit of a wild card, but with the right mindset offering to teach your teenager how to drive can be rewarding and productive. Just remember to stay calm, avoid raising your voice and be positive. As well as gratitude from your teen you’ll also score serious brownie points from mum and dad.
Quality, not quantity
Finding it hard to squeeze in time with your teenage grandkids? Don’t stress too much if you don’t get to see them as much as you would like. As kids get older their schedules get busier and busier, which means spending time with grandma and grandpa can often get pushed to the backburner. Instead of grumbling about how little you get to see your teens try to make the most of the time you do get to spend together. Clearing your mind and making an effort to be 100% present and engaged is important. It can also be a good idea to encourage teens to disconnect from their phones, though this may be met with some resistance.