Its hard enough trying to find common ground with your kids, but now that technology dominates young peoples lives, you might be struggling to find a way to connect with your grandchildren, too. You will love your grandbabies no matter what, but its important that you find a way to bond with them early on so they feel close to you for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, even if you dont feel comfortable using tech (or enjoy the idea of staring at screens day-in and day-out) you can still find ways to engage your grandkids, such as any of the following six bonding ideas below.
Collect Stuff Together
Kids will avidly collect anything they can get their hands on: stuffed animals, trading cards, dolls, spoons, rocks ? literally anything. You can encourage your grandbabies to collect items you both find interesting or items that can provide use later in life. For example,U.S. Mint coins are unique items with a fascinating history, and by handling currency, your grandkids might learn financial lessons sooner than their peers.
Whenever you spend time with your grandchildren, you can hunt for new items to add to the collection and review your current treasures to become closer.
Perhaps the most important collectibles are those that only you can provide. Your family undoubtedly has a few precious heirlooms that are destined to be passed down. Trusting your grandchildren with your prized treasures shows your love and confidence, which will increase their family pride and devotion.
When you pass on your possessions, you should make sure your grandkids understand exactly why they are so valuable, perhaps even including a letter that will explain the items importance to future generations. If the item has an interesting history, like a coin commemorating a historic event, or a coin minted before they were born, you can share stories along with the heirloom to explain to your grandchild why the item holds sentimental value for you. Your special relationship will be strengthened every time they look at the coin and remember the stories you told them.
Teach Special Lessons
Your grandkids likely spend all day learning math and science, so the last thing they want when they come to visit is a lecture on the same stuff. However, if you can teach them something they dont have access to in schools ? especially if you can teach it in a new and entertaining way ? you can develop a closer relationship to your grandchildren.
For example, because many schools are losing their art and music education, you might connect with your grandkids by providing advanced instruction with real art supplies. Alternatively, you could teach your grandkids about politics and the government with fun songs and make-believe games of president. Collecting tangible things, like coins, that show the child famous presidents or people from history can help them internalize these lessons. As long as the lessons dont feel like school, your grandkids will love to come over and learn.
Read Books Together
You might not gain much by reading about Dick and Jane or the newest young adult sensation, but your grandchildren stand to benefit for the rest of their lives. A strong ability to read is the foundation for academic excellence, which means helping your grandbabies with their letters might set them on the path for amazing success in school and career.
Even better, you dont have to be together to read together; as your grandkids get older, you can form a reading club, consuming the same books and discussing them later. Sharing the experience of reading will form a lifelong bond between you and your grandkids, so you should invest in books early.
Make Something Together
Unless your children are priming their little ones for careers in tech, allowing your grandbabies to spend all their time interacting with screens will not foster in them any valuable skills. Whether or not you have experience with crafting or building, you can learn alongside your grandkids while you craft or build something together.
You can work side-by-side as you construct a birdhouse or a treehouse, a wagon or a racing bike. You might even make something conceptual rather than physical, like a song or a story. Creativity is a muscle that should be stretched early and often, and you and your grandbabies can grow yours together.
Have Good Talks
As a grandparent, you might not get to see your grandchildren as often as you like. While it might feel like a curse, this limited exposure might actually be a blessing. Because you arent always in their lives, your grandkids might see you as indulgent friends rather than authoritative family members, and they might feel more comfortable talking to you about issues they would never bring up to their parents.
When you talk to your grandkids, you should always avoid passing judgement on their decisions, instead listening and commiserating. When you have a foundation of trust and respect, you can provide advice they will actually follow, and they will remember you for your wisdom and kindness.
Screen time may be prevalent now, but it is not necessary to spend time with your grandchildren. With a little creativity and just some classic quality time, you can truly bond with grandkids. You don’t need tablets or social media. Inspire your grandchildren to set aside the screen and you may end up teaching them about the beauty of living life unplugged.
Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk Photography