As a grandparent, I have developed goals that help strengthen my relationships with my grandchildren. These goals include gathering often, providing fun interactive experiences and expressing love… always! I’d like to share some guidelines that have worked for me in supporting these goals.
You can have just as much fun tossing pennies into a metal bowl as you can spending thousands of dollars on expensive crafts, games or vacations.
MAKING A PLAN
- Start by making a plan – any plan!
- All efforts work best when they are consistent.
QUANTITY of QUALITY Time
- Set aside a large quantity of time.
- Keep your door open. Grandchildren should know THEY are a priority in your life.
- Support your children by often praising them in front of your grandchildren and encouraging grandkids to listen to their parents.
- Being your children's cheerleader is one of the best ways you can be a GREAT grandparent.
- Be interested, involved, and/or attend their school and extracurricular activities as much as possible.
- Share your personal talents and interests with them, i.e. piano lessons, cooking and sewing classes, preschool, gardening (pay them if you can afford it), reading books together (have a book club with your grandkids; they love when you read books that they like and talk about them).
OVER PLAN and UNDER EXPECT (My secret to success.)
- Have 3 or 4 activities (games, crafts, cooking projects, etc.) planned and then don’t have exact expectations about how things will go.
- Be flexible and go in the direction of the most enthusiasm about the things you’ve planned.
FOR GRANDCHILDREN WHO LIVE FAR AWAY
- FaceTime them regularly and provide them the same activities that the other grandchildren get but at their own home when you visit.
- Send them things in the mail. They love to be remembered.
- Text them if they have a phone to show interest in them.
- Make it a priority to visit them as much as is practical; express your love often.
KEEP IT SIMPLE and FUN
- You can have just as much fun tossing pennies into a metal bowl as you can spending thousands of dollars on expensive crafts, games or vacations. The Dollar Store is your friend; you can always come up with a project (sponge ball toss, rag wreaths, puzzles, books, etc.) Go on treasure hunts to second-hand stores.
- You don’t even have to come up with original ideas, because there are a million grandparenting tips and family gathering ideas on the internet.
HAVE BROAD SHOULDERS
- Don’t get offended if your grandchildren think something you suggest is boring or dumb.
- I always remind myself “I’m the adult, and I’m trying to set an example of adventure, fun, inclusion and creativity."
- Your WORDS AND ACTIONS are important, so choose them carefully.
ABOUT GRANDCHILD CARE
- Tend grandchildren at THEIR homes so the kids can keep their regular schedules and you can learn their house rules, likes and dislikes, mealtimes, bedtimes, chores, etc.
AGAIN… anything that works for you, your family, your time, your budget is GREAT! The most
important thing is having a QUANTITY of QUALITY time with your grandchildren.