Baby Boomers are likely the most tech-savvy grandparents the world has seen – possibly because theirs is the generation that launched innovations we use today. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a level of disconnect between Boomer grandparents and their grandchildren, who seem to have been born with the innate ability to navigate electronic gadgets.
Psychologists agree that close one-on-one relationships with their grandparents as teens and young adults help foster self-esteem and strengthen their sense of identity – who they are in the family and in history.
While the chasm looms large between what interests Boomers and the hobbies held by the tablet-wielding children of their offspring, experts suggest finding ways to engage in the interests of the younger generation while subtly introducing them to your own.
First, learn about what they enjoy. Even young children are likely to have an electronic device to which they are connected. Ask them how it works, and they will be thrilled to show you.
With older children and teens, find out what social media forums they frequent, and ask them to help you navigate your own searches.
Next, try to find similarities between what they find entertaining, and those from your own youth. Perhaps they enjoy music videos; ask them to Google some of the music you enjoyed at their age. Since trends tend to repeat, you may find a shared appreciation for The Beatles or Elvis Presley, which opens the door to sharing your experiences about concerts you attended or albums you purchased. (“Extra points” if you still have vinyl records, which are making a comeback and are considered “cool”).
Whether you live far away or just around the corner from your grandchildren, ask if they would set up video chat software on your computer – or instruct you on the art of texting – for the two of you to keep in touch. Kids today rarely talk on the telephone (although most of them have a smart phone), so reaching out to them using their technology will make them feel important and help form stronger bonds.
Many Windsong homeowners move to their new homes to be closer to their adult children and grandchildren. With flexible spaces, such as media rooms, office-guest rooms, casitas, and lofts built into attic spaces, grandchildren can enjoy “their room” at Grandma’s or Grandpa’s house. And accessibility to the latest technology allows for use of the most modern electronic devices at home, making it easier to connect, even when you’re apart.
Welcome home to Windsong, Where Life’s A Breeze!