Got grandparents who want to be closer to your kids? Share these 6 tips recommended by a psychologist (and #4 is a game changer - if they can do it)

 A grandfather with his granddaughter sat on his lap and reading a book.
A grandfather with his granddaughter sat on his lap and reading a book.

Grandparents who want to be more involved with their grandkids are often well-meaning, but that doesn't necessarily make parents' lives easier. Here are six ways grandparents can form a closer relationship with their grandkids, while keeping their own children happy too.

There are plenty of benefits to having involved grandparents in family life. Research has found that children who have a good relationship with their grandparents have less behavioural and emotional problems, and mothers are less likely to struggle with their mental health if their kids’ grandparents live close by.

But that doesn't mean that grandparents have free reign to drop by and see the kids whenever they want. In fact, experts have advised that's one of the grandparent behaviours to try and avoid in order to keep the peace. Family dynamics are complicated, but, fortunately, one counsellor has shared what grandparents can do to foster a close relationship with their grandkids.

Erin Mitchell and her husband Stephen are the founders of Couples Counseling for Parents - which does exactly what it says on the tin. And over on her Instagram, she's shared six things grandparents can do to be close to their kids and grandkids. Writing in the caption, she said, "We know a lot of grandparents want to be helpful. Who want to be close and who want to have the privilege of being involved in the life of their kid’s family. But they are not always sure how."

She added, "Healthy and involved grandparents are a gift to a family and to a couple relationship." Take a look at Erin's expert suggestions below...

6 things grandparents can do to be close to their grandkids

A post shared by Erin Mitchell, MACP

A photo posted by couples.counseling.for.parents on

  1. Ask when it will be convenient and helpful to spend time with the grandkids, so parents can have time for themselves as a couple

  2. No strings attached help - showing up for laundry and meals and not just to hold the baby

  3. Give encouragement that the parents are doing a great job while doing really hard things

  4. Be trustworthy that you will be with the kids in the way parents have asked (such as with screen time, sugar intake, and responsiveness)

  5. A desire and want to be close and connected

  6. Be someone who listens, encourages and offers their presence (and advice only if asked) when things are hard

Erin advises, "Take a look at the above suggestions and notice what about this list you think you would like, what you wouldn’t like, what they are already doing that you really appreciate, etc… This can be a great way to get your thoughts organized for a conversation and a great way to also remember to catalogue what is working well!"

In related news, research has shown that grandparents are likely to live for longer if their children have kids later in life. Meanwhile, as some studies suggest that grandparents love their grandkids more than their own children, we've revealed that one set of grandparents is more likely to spoil their grandchildren than the other.