Baby Z was born and has been brought up in Dubai for the short 16 month span of his life. His paternal grandmother has been with us, here in Dubai, for the entire journey to date, and has been able to share and witness all the milestones, smiles and hugs that Baby Z has offered us.
His maternal grandparents (my parents) however, are back in England and have seen him once when he was 3 months old, when they came over to stay for a month. We are shortly leaving to go UK ourselves (next month! Eeek!), when Baby Z and my parents will be reunited once again, now at the age of 1 year and 5 months. He has grown into a quite the little human being since the last time they saw him, and it really got me thinking about the role of grandparents in the life of the little ones.
You see, in the Indian culture, it is very much common for the newly wedded daughter to stay with her in laws, and so the in laws are very much an active part in the upbringing of the grandchild. This means that the maternal grandparents are quite often not able to witness all the joys of their grandchild. In my case, my parents are in a different country, which makes it all the more difficult for a relationship between my child and my parents to blossom.
There are however a few steps one can take to ensure that your parents are kept involved in the upbringing of your child, and below I share a few things that I do to keep them in the loop:
1. Skype! Where would we be without this little miracle? It is installed on the iPad, as well as on my iPhone, and we try to Skype as much as possible. It’s the next best thing to actually being together.
2. Daily Photographs and Videos. Every morning, without a doubt, my mother will whatsapp me asking about Baby Z, and every morning I will respond with photos or a video of his latest antics. This way, they do not miss out on a single day of Baby Z. It keeps my parents in the know, and they are able to witness his early morning grumps or smiles.
3. Gifts. Though Baby Z doesn’t realise it himself at this age, getting parcels of gifts and clothes from his grandparents are always special, especially knowing that Baby Z is wearing or playing with something that my parents have chosen with love and care. I also make it a point to share photos of Baby Z wearing and playing with those items with my parents, so they know that it is very much appreciated. Also, sending gifts from Baby Z to my parents makes them feel special too. (You can see the Father’s Day cake sent to Grandad from Baby Z, and their reactions here.)
4. Visit as often as possible. As mentioned before, my parents have already visited when Baby Z was 3 months, and will see him again next month. They will also be visiting us in December, which I am very much looking forward to.
5. Ask questions. This one happens by default. I am often messaging my mother with questions in regards to baby related topics, or she will message me with advice when I give her updates. It means that my parents, though thousands of miles away, still have an input in Baby Z’s life.
I am sure that once Baby Z begins to recognise his grandparents and be able to talk and write, I can think of even more ways of building his relationship with his grandparents by perhaps sending hand written cards and so on. I hope that these tips can be of some help if you are in a similar situation. After all, nobody spoils your child quite like a grandparent!
Do you have any other tips that help your child bond with their grandparents? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below!