This is one of the less- talked about issues we face as parents, but arguably one of the most stressful ones (yes, even worse than the dreaded tantrums). Despite your efforts to get your kids excited about grandma, despite your love for your own mom or mother in law... for some very strange reason... your baby screams at the sight of grandma.
Even more painful, when one grandma is adored and the other one rejected completely. Add to that quarantine and kids refusing to facetime Nana... just plain painful to go through.
There are many reasons why this could be happening. Your toddler might perceive grandma as a complete stranger who comes at her trying to kiss her with big glasses and strong perfume - or maybe their voice sounds scary... or they really don't know her as much.
Their attitude can also contribute... especially if they have high expectations for the toddlers to run to their arms and give them big hugs unprompted :/
Back in the day, when families used to live together, grandmas were a huge part of the kids' life - they were caring for them for the most part, cooking, teaching them.
But nowadays most of us live far away from our family... and building that bond with the grandparents does't come as natural. We may also carry out unresolved issues we have themselves with grandma... which of course doesn't help.
Here are a few tips:
- Prep your kids before calling/seeing grandma. Tell them funny stories about her and what you most love about her. Read books about grandma's at nighttime (A few favorites, "Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa", and "Grandma and me").
- Have grandma call for story time, as opposed to asking the kids questions and trying to get them to interact. If you both have the same book at home, read along and be a part of the experience.
- Have pictures of grandma around your house and as you walk around with your kids, show them the pictures and tell them about grandma. Tell grandma that this tends to happen and that you are working on strategies to help strengthen their bond.
- Ask her not to take it personally and also not to give up.
- Try not to compare grandma's. This is a hard one - but everyone is different. Some grandma's are playful and funny, others are more serious and intimidating. That's ok.
Hoping you are staying safe and most importantly... sane.