Some kiddos don’t get to grow up seeing their grandparents every weekend, or even once a month. For some littles, like my own, they will only get to see my parents during the holidays, once or twice during the year and on special occasions. This is just the unfortunate reality when you live far away from each other. Once I became a mom, one of my greatest desires was to see my children grown up to love and adore their grandparents the way I do. This unfortunately can come with some challenges as distance is not easy with little ones. The very first visit to my parents home with my daughter after she was born was when she turned 8 months and her separation anxiety was at an all time high. It was really hard to see her get so upset when I tried to pass her over to be held by Granddad. Fortunately, she did outgrow this and she now has an incredible relationship with all her grandparents, near and wide. I’m here to give you some quick tips on how to help make your kids more comfortable around those out of town relatives this holiday season.
1. Show Them Photos + Videos
Try to prepare you kids to meet their out of town relatives by showing them photos or even videos if possible. I can honestly say 100% FaceTime is the reason that my toddler has such an amazing relationship with her Grandparents. Whenever we see them it’s like no time has passed as they talk so frequently over the phone and by video.
2. Talk About Them
If the photos or FaceTime isn’t an option, then try to bring up your family members as much as possible in conversation before they meet. Tell them stories about things you’ve done together, or tell them about all the fun things you have planned for when they visit. This will get your kiddos excited and they will already have an idea of who they are before they arrive.
3. Give Them Time
It may take 5 minutes or it may take days for your little ones to warm up to their new family members. Each child is completely different. But you do need to give them time to adjust. Don’t expect them to be best pals right away. If thats does happen, great, but more than likely they will need some time to get used to everyone.
4. Don’t Force Hugs or Kisses
Nothing is worse than forcing a small child into a hug or embrace with a perfect stranger. Or at least, that might be how it feels to them. You may have a great relationship with Great Aunt Carroll, but I will bet you anything your 5-year-old isn’t feeling all that fond of her just yet. Give your kids time to warm up. A polite hello or goodbye is satisfactory until they have had a chance to suss this new family member out.
5. Talk To Your Relatives
Quite often, well meaning relatives can be their own worst enemy when it comes to connecting with the little ones. If your toddler hasn’t seen grandpa in over a year and he’s using his gruff bear voice, even in jest, it probably wont go down super well. Let your family know how your kiddos are feeling and what might be a better way to try and connect with them. After all, you know them best.