Tips for successful grandparenting

Caring grandparents can often be the most stabilizing force in a young child’s life. Understanding bedtime chats, walks in the park and afternoons at the beach still mean so much to a child growing up in this fast-paced world.

Yes, kids going through the so-called “terrible twos” and “trying threes” can be stressful, but grandma’s cookies and milk and hugs usually bring a smile to a child’s face that is priceless. A child’s grandparents serve as a symbol of the heritage of a family for the young offspring — the final link to the past while the child is the link to the future. Their roles in each other’s lives are of equal importance, and time spent together is always well-invested.

Grandma and grandpa frequently fill the gaps and do their share of parenting when mom and dad want some time alone. With things moving so quickly these days in the world, a lot of grandparents ask me how they can best connect with their grandchildren. Below are six simple ways for grandparents to keep their grandchild’s attention and have some fun together as well.

Make a schedule

Make sure you are present in their lives often. Speak to your son or daughter and discuss when a good time is to see the children every week or two. If you live far away or abroad, then you should call or use Skype, so you can be seen and heard. Kids grow up fast.

Family photos

You should give the children a picture of you in a frame. You should also have a photo of them in a frame at your home, too. It will remind everyone of the experiences you’ve shared as the memories warm your heart.

Petting zoo

There are lots of day activities to do with kids, but this one never seems to get old. Kids love petting zoos! Grandparents should find one in the area and bring them there every once in awhile. Make sure you wash their hands immediately afterward.

Board games

Children are getting into video games younger and younger these days. But nothing should replace good old-fashioned fun with a board game. If the children seem bored, pull out some change, and put a little wager on the line to make it a bit more exciting. I guarantee you will get their attention quickly.

Family history

Take an afternoon to go through some old family photos with your grandchild. Ones of their mother or father growing up are sure to make an impression on them. Have your grandchild pick out one they like, and get it printed on a T-shirt for them to surprise their parents.

Favorite pastime

If you have a talent or a hobby, share it with the children. If it’s cooking, make something together. If you like to fix-up cars, show them some things you’ve worked on. If you’re into knitting, show them how it’s done. This will illustrate the importance of a hobby and teamwork.

More on grandparenting

15 Ways for grandparents and grandchildren to bond
Step back and enjoy the role of grandparent
How to help kids really know their grandparents — regardless of where they live