Tips on Grand-parenting
Grandparents can provide significant support and encouragement to grandchildren. By using their breadth of experience as parents, they can teach children positive attitudes towards aging and help them develop skills to enhance their own lifelong learning. At the same time, it is an opportunity to watch children develop through all stages of growth; it is an invitation to learn about ‘their’ music and ‘their’ passions.
Grandparents may have the benefit of interacting on a level that is once removed from the day-to-day responsibilities of parents. This can make it easier to develop a close bond with grandchildren and to provide input from an expanded perspective.
Grandparents are often the family historians, and can add a rich sense of family tradition to a child’s life. Telling stories about games or trips shared when the grandchild’s parents were young is a great way to weave a ‘tapestry’ of shared experiences for the whole family.
Establishing some ground rules with your son or daughter is a good first step to a long and successful relationship with your grandchild. The AARP recommends that grandparents:
- Be clear about what role they want to have in the grandchild’s life.
- Check with the child’s parents before buying gifts for them.
- Respect the parenting decisions of their adult children.
Making the most of your grandparenting time
- Carve out one-on-one time. On occasion, spend time with individual grandchildren. It will give you an opportunity to bond, without competition for your time.
- See the sights. Concerts and plays, movies, science centers, libraries, museums, parks or walks in the neighborhood provide opportunities to be together and to exchange ideas and opinions.
- Play games. Board and card games are a unique opportunity to watch kids in action and to see how they operate in the world. Games also allow you to help your grandchild learn to be a good sport and play fairly.
- Stay in contact. Chat on the phone or by email especially if you are a long distance grandparent.
- Plan a movie night! Make a fort in the living room and watch movies with your grandkids; they will love it.
- Prepare a meal together. Kids love to cook! Your grandkids can be quite the little helpers in the kitchen and you will be surprised with their eagerness to learn.