We’ve all heard the cliche’ about how we spend time with those we love – quality over quantity. When it comes to spending quality time with your grandchildren, this can take on a whole new meaning. While we may feel pressure to spoil our grandchildren with lavish gifts, special treats, and other extravagances, this is not necessary to develop a strong, connected relationship. Rather, your hands-on involvement and presence with your grandchildren will be the most meaningful gift you can give.
Many grandparents are in a unique position to provide their grandchildren with devoted, uninterrupted time together, something parents or other caregivers aren’t always able to provide amidst the daily hustle-and-bustle. If you play the role of both grandparent and child care provider, it is especially important to prioritize this quality time together. Take off your “Babysitter” hat – when you might also be juggling carpools, after-school activities, and daily routines – and savor your time wearing your “Grandparent” hat!
Below are some ideas for quality time with your grandchildren that will help grow and nurture your relationship with them.
To Get More Quality Time with Your Grandchildren – Share a Hobby
Children are generally very interested in “grown-up” activities, such as baking, getting to use special tools, helping around the house, or exploring items such as makeup or office supplies. Sometimes the most mundane task for us (emptying the garbage) can feel like an exciting opportunity for your grandchild! Allow your grandchildren to share in these activities with you whenever you can, as they can be powerful teaching opportunities and create many memories!
Or, Find Some One-on-One Time
If you have multiple grandchildren within one family, set aside time together or plan a small outing with each child individually. This allows for you to have quality, one-on-one time without the distraction or competition of siblings. Allow your grandchild to have a say in what you do, perhaps something they wouldn’t normally get to do with their younger/older siblings around. This could be an ideal time to complete a baking activity or share another hobby or interest.
You Could Be a Special Guest
Find a day to have lunch with your grandchild at their school or volunteer to chaperone a field trip. Your grandchildren will likely think it’s a big deal to have such a special guest to show off to their friends!
And Always Keep in Touch
If you live at a distance from your grandchildren, consider all of the ways you can keep in touch to nurture your relationship from afar. Children are always thrilled to get special messages, whether it is through old-fashioned snail mail, a text message or email addressed to them, FaceTime, or an animated e-card. An older grandchild may enjoy special “phone dates” with Grandma or Grandpa, as well. When you are able to physically be together, prioritize a special date with your grandchildren, ideally without parents around.
Create Your Own Tradition
Start a tradition that is unique to you and your grandchildren. Perhaps you take your grandchildren out for half-birthday celebrations each year. Spreading out the fun allows them to anticipate and appreciate the celebration even more and is something special for you both to share. Again, it need not be anything grandiose – a picnic lunch with their favorite sandwich and a small birthday treat for dessert would undoubtedly be a big hit. Other fun traditions to incorporate could be sharing a special lunch at the end of the school year, taking your grandchildren out shopping for Christmas presents for their parents and siblings, or having a popcorn and movie night every first Friday (or some other agreed upon date).
Take a Special Trip Together – Great Fun!
Start a tradition of taking each of your grandchildren on a trip in a designated year, such as for their 10th birthday or when they graduate from high school. Set parameters around what types of destinations are reasonable (it doesn’t have to be expensive to be special – camping out in the backyard could be great fun!), and then let your grandchild help plan the trip. This “rite of passage” will be something they look forward to, and fondly remember, for many years!
As you have seen, most of these ideas are free of cost or inexpensive, and all can be kept quite simple. Remember: simple does not mean any less meaningful or memorable! More than anything, your grandchild will cherish the time spent together. Sharing this quality time with your grandchildren will not only strengthen your relationship with them in the present, but will create a lifetime of wonderful memories.