Vol. 6, No. 3
Spending quality time with grandchildren
Summer is a great time for grandparents to spend special
one-on-one time connecting with their grandchildren.
Although I personally have not had the grandparenting
experience yet, my children have wonderful memories of spending special times
with two sets of grandparents. While sharing activities with grandparents, such
as baking cookies, going to a movie, getting books at the library, working in
the garden, or just taking a walk, they had many opportunities over the years to
share and discuss opinions, feelings, and interests.
Some grandparents may have more time and money to do
things they may not have been able to do as parents. All generations benefit
from interactions and friendships between grandparents and grandchildren.
The greatest rewards for grandparents are the
opportunities to share their love, enjoy a more active lifestyle and gain
satisfaction from watching grandchildren learn and grow. Grandchildren benefit
from experience, wisdom, unconditional love and acceptance, and many happy
Here are some suggestions to help build relationships and
create memories that both will cherish:
Spend as much time as you can together.
If you donít live close together, be sure to phone, write, and e-mail as
often as possible. Share photographs, videotapes, and audiotapes.
Be personal. Share
opinions and feelings. Go for walks together, play games, read, and talk
together. Respect each otherís choices and decisions.
Share family history.
You may be surprised at the questions children will ask while looking
through carefully-packed boxes of keepsakes from years gone by. They will
probably want to know who all the people in the pictures are and how they
are related. They might even make comments about the funny hairstyles and
clothing styles. Children especially like to hear stories about how their
own parents behaved as children, both good and bad.
Communicate your own needs to your grandchildren
so they will learn to respect adults. Give
them love, structure and, more importantly, set a good example.
Decide together on a project to do.
Of course, keep in mind that it is age-appropriate so
your grandchild will achieve success, not frustration. Possibilities are to
assemble a jigsaw puzzle, learn to bake bread, plant a small garden, or
complete a small sewing project.
Realize your grandchildís interests may change.
Although Sesame Street might have been a favorite television show for a
4-year-old, a 9-year-old may consider it too "babyish." Parents should be
able to tell you about new activities or hobbies. Show you are aware of your
grandchildís efforts and are thinking about him/her by sending a note or
e-mail with wishes of good luck before an event in which your grandchild is
Now is a perfect time to begin building important
grandparent/grandchild relationships. All children can benefit from positive
adult influences, especially from people who will listen and try to understand
Maudie Kelly, MS
Human Development Specialist