Your parents are getting older, and you realize they might not have much time left. While you’ve had many
beautiful years with your parents, you worry about your children. You’re afraid they won’t get to know their
grandparents and that they might not even remember them.
It’s never too late to help your children build memories with their grandparents. Whether you live close
or far away, you can help your parents and your children create a close bond.
Suggestions If You Live Close
If you’re fortunate enough to live near your parents, you should take advantage of the opportunity. Even
if your parents are too sick or frail to play sports or go to the zoo with your kids, you can still help your
children and parents spend time with each other.
One way to help them develop a relationship is to ask your parents to teach your children a skill or
talent. Maybe your mom knows how to bake the best homemade bread, or your dad builds model airplanes like a
professional. Ask your parents if they’d be willing to teach these skills to your children. Your children
won’t ever forget who taught them their new skill.
Another way to help your parents and children spend time together is to have your child bring family
videos to their grandparents’ house. Your parents and children can enjoy viewing the videos together and
laughing as they watch their younger selves.
Your parents might not have videos of their childhood to show your children. Still, your children can find
more about what their grandparents were like at their age. Give your child a list of questions to ask their
grandparents, such as:
- What sports and activities did you enjoy as a kid?
- What were your parents and siblings like?
- What was your school like?
- How did your family celebrate holidays?
- How did you decide what you wanted to do when you grew up?
- What’s one of your best memories from when you were my age?
- What’s the funniest thing that happened to you when you were young?
- What did you learn as you grew up that you wish I knew?
As your child interviews your parents, make sure he or she records the conversation on a phone or another
Finally, your kids can enjoy a game night with your parents. Even if your parents are frail, there are
probably some games they can still play with your children, such as games using cards or dice. They could
also share one of their favorite movies with your children.
Suggestions If You Live Far Away
If you and your children don’t live close to your parents, you feel sad that your kids won’t have much
interaction with their grandparents.
But there are still some ways your children and parents can develop a relationship from afar. For example,
you could introduce your children to the lost art of writing letters-something your parents are probably very
familiar with. Your children will love getting a personalized letter from Grandma or Grandpa.
You could also have your children video chat with your parents. If your parents have never used video chat
before, ask their caregivers to help them learn how to use it. Your parents will appreciate the unfamiliar
technology once they can talk with their grandchildren face to face.
All of these suggestions can help your parents and children form a bond while they still can. However,
remember to respect your children’s and your parent’s boundaries. Don’t push them to do something they don’t
feel comfortable with.
If you have any questions about end-of-life family relationships, talk to a hospice worker.