If you and your family are lucky enough to live close to your parents or grandparents, there will likely come a time when the health of these older loved ones begins to diminish. And while spending time with your children and your parents or grandparents now might be enjoyable for everyone, if and when health issues begin to develop, your young children might have a hard time coming to terms with how age is affecting the people they love.
To help you know how to navigate these trying times, here are three tips for talking to your kids about health changes in a grandparent.
Use Simple Yet Concrete Explanations
As soon as you begin to notice that things aren’t as they used to be with your parents or grandparents, you should prepare yourself for having a conversation about this with your children. Kids can and will pick up on even the smallest things. So if there’s something to know about the health of their grandparents, make sure they hear it from you.
When you choose to share this kind of information with your child, they will be able to feel more confident in how they interact with their grandparents. Depending on what type of health challenges there are, you should give your children simple yet concrete explanations about what is going on and how it’s affecting their grandparents.
Teach Empathy By Example
For many people, aging doesn’t come easy. Not being able to do things that they have always done can be hard to come to terms with, both for the person who’s aging and for their friends and family members.
Knowing this, you should warn your children about how things may be different with their grandparents now. If they are having to move into an assisted living facility, their relationship with them might change and the things they’re able to do together might need to be adjusted. But if you can show to your children who you still are able to love and care for your aging parent, they’ll see how they can as well.
Share With Them What Changes They’ll See Before They See Them
If it’s been a while since your child has spent time with their aging grandparent and their health has gone down hill a bit in the meantime, it’s wise to share with your child how they will look at and act differently now before they see each other. By giving them a heads-up about this, you can prepare your children to not be shocked or scared when they see them and to remember that this is their family member that they love.
If your children have a grandparent that is going through some health changes associated with aging, consider using the tips mentioned above to know how you can speak with them about this.