Grandparents are some of the best grown-ups when you are a child. 

They have experience with children and are less likely to be stressed out by them. They have plenty of time to play and laugh together when their parents are working. And they often indulge children, spoiling them with toys, delicious cakes, and attention. So, of course, as a parent, the only thing you can dream of is for your child to build a happy relationship with their grandparents. 

Old woman with a blue dress and white shawl

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However, when a grandparent experiences health issues, it can be challenging for the family to cope. Nevertheless, you can still help grandchildren and grandparents have quality time together, and they will both be grateful for the opportunities to talk, play, and laugh together. So, how can you help kids and toddlers create a lovely bond with their grandparents when they need to be conscious of health issues? 

Have that talk with them

Children pick up on a lot of unspoken cues. They are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. Even toddlers, who are still young and inexperienced, are likely to notice a change in behavior around their grandparents. Therefore, it is best, to be honest with children and address the matter upfront. Many families are concerned about discussing illnesses with children. However, psychologists recommend candid honesty in those instances. For instance, if a grandparent has cancer, it is crucial for the child to be able to ask questions and understand the situation. Therefore, using the word cancer is important as it helps children differentiate cancer from general illnesses. Parents and grandparents can work together to have a chat with the child about the situation. 

Additionally, the discussion can also encourage the child to understand how the situation affects them, their parents, and their grandparents. By being honest and open, the family can help the child and the grandparent manage their emotions and see past the disease. 


Create rules and boundaries

Regardless of the disease, if it affects a grandparent’s strength, immune system, or even mental health, it is helpful to create safety rules for the relationship. Young children can only learn to be considerate if they understand how their grandparent’s health is affected. 

For example, it is essential to let the child know that the grandparent is more likely to get tired sooner than other adults. If the child is used to going to the playground with a healthy parent, they need to understand that they can’t expect the same level of activity as the grandparent. 

Simple rules could include:

  • Explaining to the child to be mindful of the area where the grandparent might have received an injury or surgery
  • Setting time limits so the grandparent can rest
  • Replacing boisterous playtime with storytime, so the grandparent and child have plenty of quiet bonding time


Create a routine

When a grandparent is sick, the family routines change. However, nothing is stopping you from creating new routines. In fact, routines make it easier for your child to adjust to a new situation. They also introduce new consistent times for visits with the grandparent without disrupting the child’s life. 

For example, if the grandparent is resting for an extended period of time at a clinic, the family can work together to build a new routine that includes stress-free time with the child and their grandparent. If physical visits are not an option, the family can help with phone calls or even video calls between the child and the grandparent. Both will be looking forward to their call every day if it becomes part of a routine. 

Don’t be afraid to take your child with you

Parents are sometimes concerned about taking a young child to specialist care centers. However, many care institutions, such as the Long-Term Senior Care in Wichita, are equipped to welcome visitors. Care professionals are trained to handle not only medical requirements but also questions that visitors might ask. They will help normalize the situation for your child. 


Make time for happy memories

Sickness doesn’t prevent spending quality time together. On the contrary, a child and their grandparent can still spend plenty of time making memories together. Record those precious moments together, whether it is via a Zoom call or resting next to each other on the sofa. Happy moments make the relationship between a child and their grandparent precious, regardless of existing health issues. 

In conclusion, sickness doesn’t need to affect the relationship between a child and their grandparent. By approaching the situation with honesty, parents and grandparents can help create a safe space for the bond to grow. 


This is a partnered post.