35 Ideas for Interaction between Grandparents and Grandchildren

"First Steps."  Photo by Georgios Jakobides
"First Steps." Photo by Georgios Jakobides | Source

In the 1900s, family experts became seriously concerned. Adult input into the lives of the children was steadily decreasing.

The attitude of Generation X (born 1965-1979) craving freedom and leisure in their golden years did not help. Grandparents became less available than they previously were to make up for the missing attention of parents, who were busy making a living.

There are several other reasons why grandparents were not at their traditional post, yet we are all aware of the social and emotional impact grandparents and grandchildren make on each other.


A Strong Grandparent-Grandchild Bond

is determined by:

The child feeling a sense of emotional closeness to his grandparent;

The child having regular contact with his grandparent;

The child viewing his grandparent as a source of social support.

-Rhita Brhel in The Vital Importance of the Grandparent-Grandchild Bond


Interestingly, research shows that grandchildren do not respond to the role of grandparent but instead to each person fulfilling the role. In other words, if grandparents, no matter where they are, fulfilled the role of grandparent to any grandchild needing adult interaction, both substitute grandparents and grandchildren would benefit. Here is a challenge in which we all are encouraged to participate.

The following 35 ideas for interaction between grandparents and grandchildren are intended to trigger even more ideas for fun, teaching opportunities, social and emotional satisfaction, whether the grandparents are biological or substitute. Each section begins with ideas suitable for interaction with the younger upward to the older. Some are good for any and every age.

Photo Credit:  Wendell Weithers
Photo Credit: Wendell Weithers | Source

If grandparents fulfilled the role of grandparent to any grandchild [whether or it is their biological grandchild] needing adult interaction, both grandchildren and substitute grandparents would benefit.

Affirmations

(1) Compliments on their outstanding attributes—appearance, speech etc.
(2) Commendation for deeds well done—anything from throwing the candy wrapper into the garbage bin to scoring a touchdown in little league baseball
(3) Encouragement and assistance to improve in areas in which they seem challenged
(4) Continual assurance of love in verbal expressions and hugs

Story Telling

(5) Stories featuring the grandchild to demonstrate his worth and his position in the family
(6) Family stories about love and loyalty as well as fights and forgiveness
(7) Bible stories—personal favorites and lessons learned from them
(8) Historical episodes about culture and customs “back in the day”
(9)Selected biographies of people who excelled in areas of interest to the grandchildren


"Grandma's Favorite."  Painting by Georgios Jakobides (1853-1932).
"Grandma's Favorite." Painting by Georgios Jakobides (1853-1932). | Source

Show and Tell

(10) Sightings of different colors and shapes around the house
(11) Family albums of members past and present
(12) Drawings, paintings, any kind of craft done by family members
(13)Fashion parade of outdated clothes and shoes


Nature Exercises

(14) A walk in the park or an a trail
(15) A visit to the zoo, identifying animals
(16) Identifying plants in the yard and neighborhood
(17) Sea shells or rocks or butterfly collection
(18) Admiring the sunrise, or sunset or a rainbow


Media Exercises

(19) Listening, singing along, talking about and dancing to wholesome song lyrics
(20) Not just watching television; but watching a movie, turning off the television and talking about it
(21) Reading together (newspaper or magazine) testing comprehension, and discussing the subject matter
(22)Learning from the grandchild—features on your cell phone or on his iPhone, how to send an email etc.


Celebrations

(23) A birthday message, gift or visit on the grandchild’s birthday
(24) Special messages for first-day and first-day-back at school
(25) Meaningful gifts after an athletic game, craft exhibition, dance or music recital
(26) Attendance at graduations—school and extra-curricular classes

Long Term Projects

For the very young, anything that is not completed in a day is long term. So one or two days may be it all it takes to satisfy the concept for some.

(27) Jig saw puzzles
(28) Board game competitions, for example, “Who will be the first to win three games?”
(29) Collectibles: postage stamps, hot dog coupons, small round rocks
(30) Planting seeds and waiting for them to grow


Long Distance Interaction

(31) Telephone calls to express love and inquire about the grandchild’s welfare
(32) Video chats on Skype or FaceTime in arranged regular meetings or sharing special occasions to match faces with voices
(33) Text messages—a teenager’s favorite way to communicate
(34) Instant Messaging on popular sites like MSN and Yahoo, or Facebook (if the teenage grandchild will befriend a grandparent)
(35) Snail Mail—the old fashioned way to express love from a distance through cards and gifts, for grandparents who are unable to use other media systems

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32 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Ideas for Interaction between Grandparents and Grandchildren great hub and I m glad to have come across this new hub, well thought of and a very helpful hub indeed,interesting, useful and I voted up.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. These are some great ideas Ms. Dora. As children, we don't see the importance of spending time with our grandparents, I guess we're too young to know better. I wish I had more time with my grandparents, certainly something that I will teach my children. Great article, very useful!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you for your kind comment, DDE. thanks also for the positive vote.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

LyricWriter, looking back it is easy to see how important our grandparents were. Your children can learn from you when you become a grandparent. All the best for such times!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

There has been a subtle shift away from this type of interaction in the United States. You have given great suggestions so that children may better know and learn from their grandparents. Well done Dora!


Rayne123 3 years ago

I have one grandchild and she is my life as most grandchildren are to grandparents.

I do follow all of these interactions with her when I can.

Now she is 9 and she is a home body. She use to love spending weekends with me or even my mom (great grandparent) but now she loves to be at home. I guess it's a good thing. She is content.

They grow fast and not one single moment should be wasted trying to be away from them or any child that is part of your family.

They are way to precious. Thank you for the great hub

Blessings

Laurie


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for your comment, Billy. Grandparents are like precious jewels; they shouldn't be left to waste away.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Laurie, thank you for sharing. I also have one, so far. I'd like to follow your example and do all these interactions. All the best to you and our lovely granddaughter. She is blessed to have a great grand.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Dear MsDora,

What a most important hub here as to the role of every grandparent, for it is such an essential role indeed! Speaking of which, I enjoyed my grandchildren this weekend and we were blessed beyond measure to celebrate the life of my grandson on his first birthday just yesterday!

Affirmations of love and encouragement from a grandparent adds much to the life of those precious little ones.

You are always spot on in your insight and I thank you for sharing here in your writing on most important issues to benefit all families.

Up and more and sharing

God bless you, Faith Reaper


sheilamyers 3 years ago

Very cool ideas and a great hub!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

Being a grandparent is a new adventure. I have found that the concept you have discussed here is definitely applicable for me in my life. All of my grandchildren are over a days' travel away from where I live. I am able to visit with them via telephone, Skype, and e-mail, but that does not substitute for real-life interaction. I have found that when I treat other children "as if" they were my grandchildren, I can have that desired interaction and make a meaningful contribution in someone else's life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Sheila. I appreciate your comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, thank you for sharing. So then it's true that we benefit from substitute grandparenting. Thank you for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, thank you for your continual support. I appreciate your kind comment.


Ebonny profile image

Ebonny 3 years ago from UK

The story telling is a great idea/reminder. I particularly like the one about featuring the child within the story, a sure fire way to grab their attention. Great hub.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Ebonny. What grandparent cannot create his or her own story featuring a beloved grandchild? I like this one too.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 3 years ago

Hi MsDora

Powerful hub , listed here, so much wisdom and practical advices to invest into grand children's open - hungry souls. Love implementations of grandparents without vocal repetition of the word, is permanent and cherished for lifetime.

I'll always bless them.

Voted up and beautiful.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Michael, thank you very much for your input. Very well written. Thanks for the votes.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

This is such an awesome article.. makes you think and the advice is so practical you corner the hub page market with hubs like these Ms Dora bless you


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, you're always so kind and encouraging. Thank you. bless you, too.


Benjamin Chege 3 years ago

Hi MsDora. I enjoyed reading the hub a lot. It is the high time people went back into the times when grandparents were the most important figures in people's lives. Good tips on how to improve such interactions. Voted up, useful and interesting.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you Ben. Glad you enjoyed the article, and that you're in favor of healthy grandparent/grandchildren relationships. We know the value of it, and should try our best to bless the next generation in the same way we were blessed.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

I love the painting you used, it reminds me of me in my dreams with a grandkid. I still haven't been blessed with them. I do have some kids around my life which I consider them like grandkids.

This is very useful, thanks for such lovely suggestions. I will share and treasure.

Hope my kids change their mines and start the fabric.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Lastheart, so good to hear from you. It says something beautiful about you that you consider other children your grandkids. They are blessed to have you in their lives. Be patient concerning your kids (smile).


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

I loved the picture it really went well with your words, and you are so right. lovely ideas and suggestions, I am not lucky enough yet to be a grandparent but I would love to be, wonderful!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Nell, it will be wonderful. I'm experiencing it for the first time. It is worth waiting for. Thank you for sharing.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

I don't know what it is about being a grandparent, but I absolutely love being a grandmother to my grandsons. Your tips are wonderful. My favorite thing to do is send messages through snail mail. The grandchildren really seem to like that a lot.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Marlene, thanks for your interesting comment. Thrilled to find someone else who still likes snail mail. All the best to you and your grandsons.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

A great hub, and such a shame grandparents role seems to be changing, I suppose due to the fact they are younger in the worldly sense. I cannot imagine how lacking my memories would be without my grandparents.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, you may be right. What does a twenty-something year old know about grand parenting? Some do not even want the title. Those of us from "back in the day" are blessed. Thank you for your comment.


OhMe profile image

OhMe 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

We have twin grandchildren due in December and they do not live nearby. Our only other grandchild has lived in the America town and we have seen him almost daily for 14 years. It will seem strange not to be able to see these twins as much and will require some different Grandparent skills. Thanks for this article


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

I share your excitement. You'll figure it out and do such fine. Grandparenting brings the wisdom out of you. Congratulations, again.

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