Not too long ago, grandparents were like an extension of the nuclear family, regularly participating in daily activities like meals, attending church together, and helping out around the house. Involvement with the grandchildren was seamless, as most grandparents lived close to their children and grandchildren, often in the same house.
Times have changed. Now, it had become so important that you grow your relationship with your grandchildren, and work at it all of the time. Grandparents don’t always live close to their grandchildren, both parents are often employed outside the home, and grandparents are sometimes employed as well. In order to spend time with grandchildren, grandparents have to be deliberate about how and when this will happen.
Here are 6 ideas to make the most of your time and grow your relationship with your grandchildren and create lifelong memories.
1. Share Your Own Hobbies & Interests
Share your passion! The hobbies and interests that kept you entertained over the years might be just as thrilling for your grandkids. Whether your hobby is collecting WWII artifacts, building model cars, or woodworking, you likely know a great deal of interesting and valuable information to pass on to the next generation. Invite them to help you organize a collection or select a pattern for your next project. You never know what might trigger a lifelong passion when you share with your grandkids. If your passion does not become their passion, they will still love learning about the things that interest you.
2. Grow a Garden Together
Even the tiniest tot can plant a seed and douse it with water. Watching their little seed grow into a plant is almost like magic. Not only is gardening a great way to bond with your grandkids, it also helps them understand where food comes from and what it takes to sustain life.
3. Volunteer at Their School, Church, or Daycare
Involvement with your grandkids can include volunteer work, too. Volunteer work models the behavior of all good citizens, so you’re giving them a moral lesson while spending time with them and nurturing your relationship. Look for opportunities like cleaning up local parks or renovating the playground at their school. Schools, churches, and other community properties host regular painting, repair, and clean-up days, which are all great opportunities to show your grandkids that you really care about their school and their future.
4. Fill in For Mom & Dad
Today’s parents get the idea from magazines, TV shows, and the media that they have to do it all themselves. From working full-time to keeping an impeccable lawn to shuttling kids to and from soccer and music practice, modern moms and dads think it’s all on them. You can take the load off your kids and increase your involvement with your grandkids by simply filling in for one or two of their weekly responsibilities. Take the kids to give them a date night or offer to act as chauffeur to after-school activities sometimes.
5. Attend Their Activities & Sporting Events
Even if mom and dad don’t need help shuffling kids to and fro, take the time to attend those ball games, dance recitals, and school plays. These are all opportunities to get to know your grandchildren and their world. It gives you something to talk about with them and lets them know you’re an active participant in their lives. Offer to help Kayla improve her softball pitch or to help Jonah rehearse his lines for his class production. Who knows, you might learn something, too!
6. Learning to Use Social Media Improves Involvement with the Grandchildren
Instead of becoming frustrated over the endless hours your grandkids spend with their heads stuck in a screen, step into their digital world for a bit. It’s surprisingly easy to learn to use their favorite social platforms, like Twitter and Instagram.
Above all, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your grandchildren. If a few minutes at the ice cream shop once a month is all you have time, energy, or money for, that’s okay! Even a little time is meaningful if it’s spent with the ones you love doing something you enjoy. This is one time when you do get an “A” just for the effort. Grow your relationship with your grandchildren, and make memories for generations!