Muses of being a grandparent and what you can do often calls for some deliberate thinking!
Being a knock-your-socks-off grandma or grandpa is fun, sure – but it also takes time and effort. Here’s some tips we’ve caught along the way to help you show off exactly how grand you are!*
1. Don’t Underestimate How Valuable You Are in Your Grandchild’s Life
Nobody in the world can fill your role. A child perceives that their parent’s love comes with no strings attached and is not tied to the grades they get, how they perform in athletics, how popular they are, how they look, or how they behave. A grandparent’s love is truly unconditional on all counts, and children gravitate to it because it’s truly unique and non-judgmental. Children feel safe in their conversation and company; they feel loved and accepted for who they are and this builds and nurtures self-confidence.
2. Your Best Gift Is the Gift of Time
We all know moms and dads are really busy these days with long commutes, busy careers, and lots of distractions from social media. A grandparent offers a taste of a different world with a slower pace and more time to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. When I was on a walk recently, I became transfixed by a grandpa and his grandson sitting on the curb together, watching all the goings-on at a construction site. They both looked so content as they watched the bulldozers, cranes, and dump trucks do their jobs. It didn’t cost any money, and was so valuable for both of them.
3. You Can Turn Your Grandchild Into a Lifelong Book Lover
We want grandparents to know they have more power to turn their grandchild into a lover of books than the mightiest educator. While a teacher provides phonics instruction and decoding skills, she cannot do what a grandparent does so beautifully and naturally—building the association between love and reading. A child’s lifelong interest in reading stems from the emotional connection they formed with books when they were little (most likely, before they even started school). What matters most are the warm feelings they experienced when sitting on grandma’s lap and pointing at the illustrations, the happy, carefree times the grandchildren and grandpa shared while walking to the library for Story Time, and the joyful moments sitting by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate while grandma and grandpa read fairy tales and nursery rhymes.
4. You Can Teach Your Grandchild that Reading is Knowledge
Grandparents can have such a marvelous influence in a grandchild’s life. They just need to open their eyes to all the learning possibilities they can provide. School-aged children benefit from real-world experiences with reading, and grandparents can help. These real-world experiences show kids how necessary reading and comprehension are to completing everyday tasks. They include reading a recipe while cooking, reading a manual while repairing a bike, reading directions while playing a board game, and reading information on the internet about helping an injured bird. Parents are often too harried to embrace these learning moments. It’s wonderful when grandparents understand their value and step in to help.
5. You Can Help Your Grandchild Become a Spiritual Being
A grandparent can help a grandchild develop spiritual practices that make their life more peaceful and meaningful. Whether it’s meditating, praying, or spending time in nature, a grandparent can educate about ways to nurture the soul and is a great partner for a nature walk!
6. You Can Teach Your Grandchild Manners
Unfortunately, many parents today are hyper-focused on their youngsters becoming technology whiz kids and speaking three languages rather than being caring and well-mannered. Grandparents, though, can teach grandchildren that manners are not just for school, but for everywhere. The world is a better, kinder place when people show civility, cooperate, and think of others — and manners play a big part in that. Remind the grandchildren of the classic golden rule.. ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’; it works at any age!
7. You Can Shower Them With Love, Not Stuff Them With Food
In too many instances, a grandparent sees their role as one who spoils the child with candy, ice cream, and soda, and takes them to fast-food chains. This is a dangerous habit, though, because the child then associates fattening treats with love and good times. It’s so much better when children connect warm feelings with healthy activities: taking a walk, going on a picnic, playing at the park, cooking a well-balanced meal, or going to a museum, movie, play, or concert. This doesn’t mean no treats allowed.. but make sure it’s not the sole purpose of your outing!
8. Teach Your Grandchild About the Importance of Saving Money
According to Forbes, almost two-thirds of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency. Grandparents can instill in a grandchild the importance of saving for a rainy day, a college education, and big dollar purchases. They can hire their grandchild to do jobs around the house or in the yard such as dusting, pulling weeds, or raking leaves to earn extra money and learn the value of a dollar.
*Portions of article reprinted from: https://wehavekids.com/family-relationships/How-to-Be-a-Good-Grandparent-25-Things-a-Mom-Wants-You-to-Know