How do you compete with technology in today’s day and age? Don’t waste precious moments with your grandkids by plopping them in front of a tablet or tv screen. Instead, use this time to develop a bond that will inspire and enlighten them. Build memories together that will guarantee your spot in the Grandparents Hall of Fame!
With younger kids, take advantage of their thirst for both knowledge and activity by exploring the great outdoors. Everything is new, so recruit the little ones to be your “special helper.” Take them on a walk but let them be your navigator (within reason). Build their vocabulary by embellishing features of their surroundings. “Left at this monstrous bumpy brown tree, or right by the gigantic green bush?” Since children tend to mimic, why not set them up with a great vocabulary? You can take them into your garden and teach them about the dynamic of the ecosystem. Explore the bugs, plants, sun, and dirt. Show the beautiful link between you and nature.
For school-age kids, write a letter. It can be to their parents, favorite book, or tv characters. Begin with a few questions such as why they chose this character. What questions would they ask the character and what can they share about themselves? (You may be surprised at the results!) Encourage the child to explore their feelings about the character. If you want to take it a step further, find the address (if the character is a real person) and send it. Imagine the reaction if the child receives a reply!
Older kids may enjoy building a family tree. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach them about their heritage and culture. This could also be a terrific way to bridge the generational gap. Open up those old boxes of photos and dig in. As a grandparent, you can build and nurture a relationship that will give them a deeper understanding of your family’s origins, challenges, and traditions. They will develop a sense of how your family is special and the role they play in it.
Choose activities that fall within your general skill set. If you have a passion for something, share it with them. Cooking, crocheting, golf…your passion could be contagious! If all else fails, blow up a balloon and play ‘keep it up’! I’ve yet to meet a child or adult who wasn’t thoroughly amused by not letting that balloon hit the floor. Have fun building a relationship with your grandkids that provides you all with a sense of emotional fulfillment. But most of all, have fun being the Rockstar grandparent you were born to be!