Fun and Easy Ways for Grandparents and Grandchildren to Connect All Year 'Round
As children my sister, brother and I so enjoyed visiting our Grandparents as well as speaking with them on the phone. We enjoyed visiting more because both sets, our Mom's parents and our Dad's parents lived in another state - one set lived in Ohio and the other set lived in New Jersey. We especially enjoyed the plane trip to Ohio. Once we got to our Grandparents we unloaded our luggage in our bedrooms and headed for the kitchen where there were homemade pies and ice cream and a few of our cousins who heard we would be visiting. The next thing on our minds was to go outside and play where we swung in an old tire that Grandpa strung up in the tree in the front yard, then we rode bikes with the neighbors' kids - and that was all done the day we arrived. After the third day my sister, brother and I were ready to go back home to New York - why? Well, even though we loved our Grandparents very much, we felt that there was not much of a plan to keep us busy and interacting with our Grandparents, and our Mom could see the boredom setting in pretty quickly and our whining began. Want a good connection between Grandparents and Grandchildren even if your family lives near or far? Here are some great ideas.
- Grandparents think that because their children are out of the house that they can now put out their little tchotchkes - NOT! What about the Grandchildren who visit? Why shouldn't the Grandparents childproof their home? Put down your rocks, please. Grandparents, if you want your Grandchildren to enjoy your home put up things that will break and other items you don't want your Grandchildren to get to. Grandchildren don't want to constantly hear no, no, no, don't touch that - their visit to the Grandparents will always equate to them not being able to touch anything and they won't want to visit you as much.
- Grandparents, have a play room for the Grandchildren with toys, equipment to watch their favorite movies, favorite blankets, and child friendly furniture. Let the Grandchildren know before they come that you've created a space for them to hang out. Make a banner or a sign with their names on it and put it over the door or at the entrance to their play area.
Find free entertainment outlets for the Grandchildren.
- 10 Free Entertainment Outlets
Where can I go for free entertainment? Learn where the free activities are in your city.
- Grandparents, have an activity plan for the Grandchildren. One day it's going to the museum, one day it's going to the aquarium, one day it's going to the park, one day it's baking a pie or a cake, one day it's visiting a Plantetariuml, etc., you get it. Camp out in the living room. I love putting together large puzzles - buy one.
- Grandparents, try to limit the Grandchildren helping do chores, they did not come for that. They came to enjoy you. If they volunteer to lend a hand then let them, but please don't have a day of chores planned.
- This one's for the Grandchildren who should be taught not to call Grandma and Grandpa only when they need or want something. Grandparents are not ATM's, an electronics store, or a clothes closet.
- Grandchildren should be taught to send the Grandparents thank you notes when they do receive something from them.
- Grandchildren should send notes, e-mails, e-cards to Grandparents just to say, "I Love You" or "We Appreciate You." Parents, teach your children the art of letter writing. Grandparents should receive these things not just on their birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or on any other holiday.
- I charge parents to make an effort to make sure their parents have the necessary computer equipment so they can communicate with the Grandchildren. A great way is through webcam - it's cheaper than a plane ticket. The Grandchildren can show off their latest fashions, toys, hair styles, tangible awards, and even baby's first steps and first words.
- Parents, have the Grandchildren initiate a weekly "Check Up" phone call to the Grandparents even if they put the phone on speaker so everyone's voice can be heard - the phone call does not have to be a long one.
- If the Grandparents are in driving distance and the Grandparents and the Grandchildren are clamoring to see one another, ask the Grandparents to split the gasoline cost, and you the parents, bring some groceries.
- If your child's school has Grandparents' Day make sure, if possible, that the Grandparents take part. I remember my nephew's school having Grandparents' Day and my Mom was so excited about participating - she sure enjoyed that day.
- Grandchildren can be tutors for their Grandparents - if Grandparents are not that technologically savvy, the Grandchildren can set up free e-mail accounts for the Grandparents and teach the Grandparents how to send and receive e-mail. If the Grandparents have cell phones they use, I'm sure there are some features on the phones that they can be instructed on. The Grandchildren can show the Grandparents how to use certain social networking sites to communicate with them. The Grandchildren can show the Grandparents how to do Internet searches.
In what ways do your children interact with their Grandparents? Do they interact with them all year 'round or just during birthdays and holidays? Why not make it a year 'round thing.