I recently heard a friend say, “I loved having kids and now grandkids, but had I known how good it was to be a grandparent, I would have skipped having kids.” I totally get that. Grandparenting is much easier because the parents are doing the heavy lifting. They’ve got school, homework, doctors, the late nights, early mornings, and everything in between. As grandparents, there’s a lot we can do to support our kids as parents, but we are also in position to bring so much more to the kids and relationships.
Here are a few ways my hubby and I connect with our boys:
- Get to know them as individuals. We have eight grandkids. All boys!! There are times we’re just managing the herd, but we’re also intentional about seeing and spending time with them individually. And they love it.
- Share yourself. I’m an artist and teacher, so art supplies and activities abound at our house. Grandpa is a musician, so music and the guitar have been his way of sharing himself. We also garden and the kids love digging for worms when we plant, then picking the vegetables we grow. We cook together. Tell stories around the firepit. We laugh, love and create memories.
- Share family stories. My hubby has a great way of telling stories from when he was little. He turns the simplest things into adventures to share. They were ‘Little Boy Stories’ and now the grandkids are hearing them. Share stories of your parents, your life, your ancestors. Knowing where we come from helps kids understand who they are and helps them form their identity.
- Play what they play. I have played more board games, cars, cards and transformers, than I ever played with my kids. We’ve got more time now, and as good as it is for the kids, it’s fun to get down on the floor and play. (If you can still get down on the floor!) It’s also a great way to connect and be part of their world and imaginative play.
- Read. Read. Read. For me, this is the most precious activity we do together. I loved reading to my kids and its even better with grandkids. I have a special shelf with our favorite books and a nice comfy couch nearby for us to snuggle up and read. It’s some of the sweetest, most intimate times we have together.
Grandparents can bring such richness to a child’s life. My parents were not able to be with my kids very much, but we had a wonderful neighborhood and friends that helped fill that void. As a parent, I appreciated that while my hubby and I were having fun with our kids, while doing the heavy lifting, they had other adults that brought value, love and connectedness to their kids’ lives.
Let’s get some ideas flowing. I’d love to hear some of your special memories with your grandparents. What are some ways your parents interact with your kids? Leave a comment below.