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How To Be a Better Grandparent – Things You Can Do To Nurture Your Grandchildren

How To Be a Better GrandparentI know you already know how to be a good grandparent.  The grand parental instinct kicked in pretty strongly for me, just as the parental instinct did.  Maybe even more so.  But there are still some things we have not thought of to make our grandchildren’s lives better and to strengthen our relationship with them.  So, I thought I would research how to be a better grandparent, and these are the things I came up with.

Grandparents Have a Lot to Offer the Newest Generation

Grandparents provide a wealth of experience. Not only do grandparents have experiences to share in school, work, love, and life in general, but they have a great historical prospective. Kids really need to know how and why things happen as they did, and what’s behind what they see.

“Strong grandparent-grandchild bonds promote adjustment and pro-social behavior among kids. A study of English children ages 11-16, for instance, found that close grandparent-grandchild relationships were associated with benefits including fewer emotional and behavioral problems and fewer difficulties with peers. These relationships also helped to reduce the adverse impacts of experiences such as parent breakups and being bullied.” This is from The Boston Globe.

“Researchers have found that emotionally close ties between grandparents and adult grandchildren reduced depressive symptoms in both groups.” This is from The Gerontologist

 

Grandchildren Have a Lot to Offer Grandparents As Well

Grandchildren keep our minds sharp. We all know that you learn more about a subject by teaching it to someone else. For kids, every activity is a learning opportunity, and we grandparents can be there to facilitate the learning. Children have a fresh view of the world, and grandparents that tap into that freshness, also feel sharper and more challenged than they otherwise would be with the old norms they subscribe to.

 

How To Be a Better GrandparentProvide Experiences

We as grandparents can help our grandchildren learn and grow by taking them places and participating in activities with the kids. Here’s a list of experiences grandparents can provide their grandchildren:

  • Take the kids to museums. Every museum has a children’s program, including clubs and activities that children not only learn from but enjoy. I Googled “children’s science museums” and came up with three really cool programs close to me: The Children’s Museum at Beaver Creek, The Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, and the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in Boulder. As I dug more into these three, scores of other museums popped up. There are so many opportunities!
  • Take your grand kids to the zoo, aquarium, or interactive farm. Kids love animals and would really enjoy seeing them and even petting them. Many of these places have children’s programs or clubs.
  • Bring the kids to a library. Encourage a love of reading with your grandchildren. Enroll in their reading club, and bring the kids to reading events and activities.
  • Go camping with your grandchildren. Kids LOVE camping. Take them on nature hikes. Show them a few simple survival skills. Help them make s’mores on the campfire. Foster a life-long love of nature in your grand kids. And check out the children’s programs at local, state, and national parks.
  • Take your grand kids to concerts, music venues, or dances for kids. Help their parents by enrolling the children in music lessons and programs, and taking the kids to practice sessions. Studies show that children participating in music programs do better at math and English in school.  Even putting some music on and singing and dancing with the kids is helpful and enjoyable to you and the kids alike.
  • Get involved in sports programs for kids. Almost every town has a parks and recreation sports program, and almost every school has a sports program. Help with activity fees and purchasing sports equipment. Haul the kids to and from practice, and go to every game or meet. Also find a physical activity you can do together, like riding bikes or hiking. You will have fun together, the kids will stay off the screen, and you will get in some exercise and fresh air.

Help Mom and Dad

We can be there for our grand kids, by being there for our children as well. Here are some ways to help out the mom and dad of your grandchildren:

  • Watch the kids. Let mom and dad have a night or a weekend off from parenting. This can help relationships all around. Everyone gets a break, and gets quality time with others.
  • Take the kids on vacation. This gives mom and dad an opportunity to have a vacation themselves.
  • Help mom and dad with household chores, thereby allowing them to have more quality family time.
  • Help mom and dad run errands and transport kids to and from activities. Especially if you have multiple kids with multiple activities! If you double or triple team the running around, it takes the pressure off everyone.
  • If you can, help the mom and dad alleviate financial pressures. It really is hard to have a family and work to keep the family going. If there’s anything you can do to take the edge off and help mom and dad worry less, then do it.

 

How To Be a Better GrandparentBe Present

  • The most important thing you can do for your grandchildren is to be present. Be there for the little everyday achievements, and for the big things like birthdays and holidays.
  • The best thing about being present, is that you don’t have to be physically present. With technology these days, even the littlest kid can have a face to face relationship with grandparents that live far away. Set up regular phone calls, and face-time sessions. A quick text or phone call can be made on occasions like the first day of school. Parents can share photos and videos of school programs and special occasions, which you can then comment on during a phone call with the child.
  • And hey, the post office still works! Write to your grand kids. This will encourage their reading and writing skills, and you can foster a close relationship with them at the same time. And kids love to get letters. It will give them something to look forward to, and make them feel special. And think how much fun that will be for you personally, to look forward to letters from your grand kids?
  • Consider a subscription box. Little Passports is a great subscription box that promotes geography and travel experiences. Just think, each month you can send a box to your grand kids, then spend some great connection time discussing the contents of the box. It’s a great learning opportunity for everyone, and will lead to great relationship fulfillment. There are other subscription boxes available, so just a simple search on Google can get you started.

 

It’s Not About The Money, But Money Helps

So you’re saying that all of this takes extra money. Well, yes, a few of them do. Especially if you live far away from each other. Well, this is the premise of my website, to help grandparents find the extra money to cover all the expenses associated with having a relationship with the grand kids.

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In Conclusion:

Be there for your grand kids, and make the family cohesive and whole. Make the pressure of raising kids a little easier on your children, and give your grand kids a loving, fun-filled relationship that will shape their lives and personalities in the future. And mean-while, selfishly suck up all that love and fun filled time for yourself.

Thanks for reading, and please ask questions or comment below!

 

 

 

Rhonda Stetson

2 Comments

  1. Makes sense that a grandparent can help against depression, it’s another person you can speak to that isn’t your parents 
    I find that children often want to be more of a rebel when it comes to their parents and that the pride’s what’s stopping them from opening up to them. I don’t know, but I feel like grandchildren tend to recognize the authority of their grandparents more.

    • Hi Faheem, thank you for commenting.  Ya, the study that I read said that very thing about children rebelling with their parents but respecting grandparent authority.  What’s really cool though too, is that children feel more comfortable opening up about their problems with a grandparent, than they are with a parent.  Thank you again for reading and for your observations!  Rhonda

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