Paul and I are having a great time in our second year as grandparents. We both remember having special relationships with our own grandparents and want to create those bonds with our own grandchildren. Though we have only had a little experience, we are finding there are certain things we can do to ensure we are able to build the best relationship possible:
- Stay physically fit. Those children need someone who will crawl on the floor with them, play “horsey” on your back, and be able to use a stroller, not a walker or cane.
- Stay technologically fit. Learn how to use “Facetime”, “Skype”, and “Texting.” Since our two grandchildren live far away, we have had to learn ways to enjoy them through technology. It is so much fun to watch the toddler run away from the phone and then slowly creep back toward it so close that you just want to touch those round little cheeks! As they grow older, it is so exciting to be able to watch their physical progress instantly and help them continue to create memories (albeit digital) with their grandparents.
- Turn back the clock when it comes to choosing activities with them. Let their parents play with them on the computer, but you can bring in a board game, take them fishing or camping and create ways that neither of their parents can find the time to do, or may have experienced themselves long ago.
- Make banana ice cream, chocolate pudding, carob fudge and BarleyMax popsicles with them. Who says that grandparents have to spoil their grandchildren with junk? We know many grandparents who have spoiled their grandchildren with orange and green mustaches. Remember, what they have learned while young, will stay with them forever.
- The greatest gifts you can give these young children are your love and time. They will have many more creature comforts than you most likely ever did. But the relationship you establish and maintain with them will yield greater rewards and benefits for the entire family than any other legacy you could leave for them.
We have another grandchild coming in the Fall and the idea of holding a newborn again brings us both great joy. In today’s busy and stress-filled world, make sure you carve out a place for your grandchildren. With the depth of wisdom, love and comfort you can provide them, you will be an integral part of their life. Enjoy the greatest gift that comes with age—Grandchildren! What tips can you share for successful grandparenting?