Top Tips for Happy Grandchildren this Summer
Spending time with your grandchildren should be a real pleasure, especially when you're helping out parents in dire need of trusted childcare during the busy summer holidays.
However, it can also be stressful if grandchildren think they can leave discipline behind with mum and dad, or if they're used to spending hours of time glued to computers or online games.
Professor Martin Milton, Counselling Psychologist at Regent's University London and an expert in improving family relationships, explains:
Each generation grows up in different circumstances, so what suits children today won't always seem appropriate to adults.
When grandparents have a good connection with parents, an open discussion about any anxieties can often create a closer family understanding.
However, not all families manage this and grandparents often use examples of grandchildren's behaviour as a way of lecturing parents about their own perceived faults.
Rather than using criticism to try and make a difference, grandparents should think beyond taking away electronic gadgets and come up with interesting and fun alternatives.
Professor Milton's top tips on a happy summer for grandparents (and their families):
1. Get involved and offer to have the kids on a regular basis, and make sure these times include alternative activities. This gives grandchildren a chance to bond with you and enjoy things like walks in the park, reading, cooking, or helping in the garden
2. Develop your own 'house rules' so grandchildren know, while they may have four-hour online marathons at home, gadgets and computers are on for no more than an hour in your house
3. Make the other three hours something your grandchildren can relate to - don't just turn devices off then banish them to homework or isolation
4. Make a plan. It's no good telling grandchildren off for playing Xbox if all that happens instead is joining you for hours of mindless TV-watching
5. Don't be passive: when you know your grandchild has a hobby, make sure you encourage it. If your grandchildren like ballet, check out what's on and take them to the local theatre if you can
6. Talk to them about their wider lives. Show an interest in what else they're doing, who their friends are, what ambitions they have, and places they'd like to visit.
Professor Martin Milton
Professor Martin Milton is Counselling Psychology Programme Director at Regent’s University London.
He has worked as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist with the Kingston and District NHS Trust, and as Consultant Psychologist in Psychotherapy with North East London Mental Health Trust.
Martin now works in independent practice and has been involved in the British Psychological Society as a former Chair of the Division of Counselling Psychology.
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