Getting Relatives Involved
Having extended family involved is a very different experience from one family to the next. Some might share a household with their extended family, while others live across the country or in different countries. Some are estranged from certain family members but still have contact with others. Regardless of your family situation, getting extended family involved in a child’s life can be a powerful and positive influence.
- Invite relatives who live nearby to your child’s concerts, games, and school events. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents often enjoy watching a child grow and perform.
- Encourage relationships to start and continue to grow. Encourage your children to call, e-mail, or draw pictures to mail to extended family members. Talk to your relatives about how much it means to your children when extended family members reach out to your kids.
- Talk about the unique relationship an extended family member has with your child. Maybe a grandfather loves to take his grandkids to the zoo. Encourage that. Maybe an aunt likes to take her nieces and nephews fishing. Extended family members can find meaningful ways to connect with kids in the activities they both enjoy.
- Include extended family in your holiday celebrations. For many kids, the holidays are not the same without their grandparents, a favorite cousin, or aunt or uncle.
- Stay connected even when you’re far apart. With technology, it’s much easier to be in contact with extended family members who live across the country—or around the globe. Find easy ways for your kids and extended family to stay in touch in the Communication section.
Having relatives involved in your kids’ lives is not only beneficial for your children, but also for you—many parents find that being able to rely on relatives in time of need (be it for watching the kids for a while, offering support, or just talking) is a great help and reduces their levels of stress.