Nurturing Ties With Your Grandchildren 

Some tips for a successful relationship with your grandchildren:

DO talk with your grandchild's parents before trying to start a relationship with the child. Talk about the type of relationship you'd like to establish, and how you can work to achieve it.

DO respect Mom's and Dad's wishes. Parents' rules should take precedence over yours. If the grandkids try to get around you, try saying something like "I have a lot of confidence in your Mom and Dad and I believe they have a reason for doing what they're doing."

DO begin the relationship by getting together to do something specific. Make sure you have a chance to talk during or after your planned activity.

DO choose an activity you'll both enjoy and feel comfortable with. It doesn't have to be "splashy," just fun.

DO give the kids a vote. Letting them make decisions makes kids feel important and special.

DO establish regular communication. Letters and phone calls keep you in touch. Make it personal, private correspondence.

DO make an effort to get beneath the surface of the relationship. Don't just ask what your grandchild likes; find out why.

DO demonstrate your interest in your grandchild as a person. Kids change very quickly — the things they love today may be "babyish" in a few months. By keeping up with the changes you show them how much you care.

DO be consistent and dependable. That goes for both support and discipline. Kids need to know that they can count on you, but that you're not a pushover.

DO learn to communicate with technology. Like it or not, grandchildren may be more responsive to a short text message than a lengthy phone call.  

DON'T get frustrated if it takes a while to develop a relationship. Things won't happen overnight, but no friendship comes about without effort.

DON'T exclude the middle person. The best grandparent-grandchild relationships are encouraged by the parent.