Few relationships are as special as those between grandparents and their grandchildren. If you’re blessed with grandchildren, if your grandchildren are blessed to have you as their grandparent, make the most of this gift by adding some intentionality to your relationship.
Here are a few simple ways to deepen your bonds with your grandchildren.
Share Your Stories
Take out that old box from the attic, the slide projector from the garage, the photo album from the shelf, or the home videos from long ago and share them with your grandchildren. Toss aside any worry that you’ll bore them. They’ll delight in seeing their grandmother or grandfather as a young woman or man. They’ll see themselves in your experiences and the lessons you learned.
Whether your story is about a cake you once made that went awry or your military service—the big and small stories alike are all big to your loved ones. Sharing stories strengthens the fabric of the family. So, tell your stories, share your memorabilia, entertain every question that springs up, and do so often.
Ask for Help
You could probably use some help around the house, in the garden, or out running an errand. Involve your grandchildren. Show the little ones what you’re up to and allow them to help in whatever way they can. A toddler can hold a flashlight while something is fixed or mix the ingredients after they’re added to a bowl.
As your grandchildren get older, know that asking for their help is good for them and allows them to show their respect as well as to contribute to the overall well-being of the family. You can take joy in thanking them with a plate of freshly baked cookies or a simple hug.
Helping one another is what family members do. Don’t hesitate to kindly enlist the help of your grandchildren, for you and for them.
Single Each One Out
Designate special days for each of your grandchildren to visit or go somewhere with you. Spending one-on-one time with your grandchild will allow both you and your grandchild to get to know one another as individuals. Ask them about their interests, allow them to choose some of the activities you do, teach them something new, and answer all of their questions.
A special day with your grandparent all to yourself is the stuff lifelong memories are made of.
Your children could use help, no matter the ages of your grandchildren. The simplest way to ensure you’re spending time with your grandchildren is to offer to babysit. Allowing their parents to do their Christmas shopping, sending them out to dinner, or simply giving them a day or two to catch up on life will be appreciated more than you may realize and will be a joy for you and your grandchildren.
Few experiences allow for undivided attention among participants like a travel adventure. Plan a vacation with your children and grandchildren so that you can all experience something new together—away from the distractions of everyday life. This is also a nice idea for grandparents who live far away from their grandchildren. Meet up in a central location and take in the sights together as a family.
Be a Pen Pal
Speaking of grandchildren who live far away, in addition to video chats and the times you do get together with your grandchildren throughout the year, establish a pen pal relationship with your grandchildren. You may not realize what a delight it is for the modern child to receive physical mail at home. They’re used to all digital communication, so sending on a simple note or a box filled with treats—and requesting a response in kind—can become a delightful family tradition to uphold throughout the years.