Grandparents, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important you are to your grandchild(ren). To keep your connection with them alive, read on for 14 traditions you can start with your grandchildren.
1. Explore your “stuff” with them. Take the kids on a tour of your attic, basement and special treasures throughout the house. Kids learn so much about you and about history through this tradition. Baseball cards, music that is important to you, books, photos, autographs, special toys, journals.
2. Go fishing. Boys and girls alike are always up for a short bout of fishing, either on a boat, off a dock or in a nearby pond. They not only learn how to bait a hook and cast the line, but their faces light up when they actually catch a fish. And if they don’t … well, you still get some time to find out what’s on their mind.
3. Take a girl on a day of beauty or do your own at home. My girls love it when Grandma Mac brushes their hair because she is so patient and gentle and talks to them so lovingly while doing it. A simple session of nail painting can be the perfect time for a girl-to-girl chat.
4. Do an activity that interests your grandchild. For instance, if you have a granddaughter who loves ballet, take her to see “The Nutcracker.” If your grandson loves trains, take him on a train ride.
5. Snuggle up and read some stories, no matter how old your grandchild is. Make up stories: tell them what your child (their parent) was like at their age and some of the messes they got into.
6. Write each of your grandchildren a letter. You can write one when each is born, sharing your feelings about their birth and hopes for their future. You can write one later, giving advice and pointing out their strengths. Write one just for milestones or write one every year … it’s up to you.
7. Teach a skill. Do you crochet, build furniture, paint, cook the best chicken and noodles in the state? Could you teach your grandchild how to start a budget, how to care for cows, how to grow blackberries?
8. Make something together. The possibilities are endless: bake cookies, start a sewing, wood or other craft project, plant a tree or a pot of wildflowers. My husband’s grandma made wooden stick horses for all of her grandchildren, and they still have them.
9. Play a game, throw a ball. You can play something your grandchild wants to play, like Candyland, or tackle something you want to teach, like checkers, chess or gin rummy.
11. Take your grandchild on a trip for a great learning opportunity, and make some special memories in the process. It doesn’t need to be lengthy or costly. A day trip to a neat landmark or fun activity would do the trick! Check out www.ChildrensMuseums.org to find children’s museums all over the world.
12. Volunteer together. My father-in-law takes my 10-year-old son to a food bank every few weeks for three hours of sorting donated food, then they go out to lunch. Head to www.VolunteerMatch.org to find all sorts of volunteer opportunities you can do with your grandchild.
13. Show up. Attend as many sports, Scouts, dance and other events as you can. This can be difficult if you have many grandchildren living close who are big into activities, so just do your best. Your presence is definitely looked forward to and appreciated.
Kerrie McLoughlin (TheKerrieShow.com) feels very blessed that her 5 kids have all 6 of their grandparents living so close and that she gets to see her 4 grandparents regularly.