As a grandparent, you surely love your grandchildren. They are the little wonders of your children. A grandparent interacts the most with his grandchildren when their parents are ill, traveling or struggling to overcome life pressures.
Grandparents help their children raise grandchildren. You often step in to help your grandchildren, whether it is with knowledge or material support. Your grandchildren are lucky to have you beside them, making them laugh, craft or write their assignments for school.
Your physical proximity to your grandchildren and the frequency of interactions enhance the relationship between you and them. But how can you increase the quality of these interactions? How can you better help without spoiling them? We have compiled a list of 11 things you can help your grandchildren with.
1. Financial Support
There are hard times in every family’s life, so there will be times when financial support is appreciated the most. No grandparent likes seeing his children and grandchildren suffering. Especially when you know that you can end that suffering by providing financial support.
But this scenario is tricky. You do not want your grandchildren to grow into spoiled adults that have everything they want. Instead, you want them to be humans with principles, that do not harm them by abusing substances nor the others.
So, how to manage these situations? Focus on analyzing the context of that specific situation. Support financially your grandchildren when it is really needed. But keep in mind that you can help them build their character by not satisfying every wish.
2. Be There
A grandparent can help in small ways with his grandchildren. You can pick them from school, assist them while doing homework and being there when they are sick.
By doing these small acts of love you will teach your grandchildren a great thing. That you are there, by their side, whenever they need. In times of hardships, but also in times of happiness. They will know that they can come to you whenever they need.
3. Share the Family History
Some might think that this will only bore their grandchildren. But you just have to find the right way to tell these stories to catch their attention. Grandparents have a very important role within the family. They connect their grandchildren with their heritage.
The technology is constantly evolving. The cities get bigger and bigger and new ways of transportation are invented. For sure your young years looked very different from today’s life. Share your family history and help your grandchildren connect with you. They will appreciate you more.
4. Respect Traditions
For sure the family has some traditions that you are especially fond of. These traditions give your family a strong identity. Respect and share them with your grandchildren.
This will give them the sense that they are part of a large family with a strong identity. Traditions will help them be more secure and better connect with you. Feeling lonely and unconnected can harm one’s mental health.
5. Teach Them Skills Untaught
Do not think about Math or Chemistry, although if you have knowledge in these domains you can help your grandchildren when they have school assignments. Think about those skills that are often forgotten nowadays.
Think about knitting the tie, sewing on a button or airing up bicycle tires. Parents often have a busy and stressful life, so grandparents are the best logical choice to pass on these skills.
You have grown up in less mechanized time, so you have more skills than your children to pass on. Not having the technology to rely on made you learn a lot of things. Help your grandchildren by sharing and teaching these practical skills.
6. Provide Unconditional Love
Grandparents are known for loving and adoring their grandchildren. Although parents are the first source of unconditional love, their love is often mixed with expectations and hopes. Their ego might get in the way sometimes. We are talking about the genuine unconditional love a grandparent provides its grandchildren with.
You already have experience raising your kids and you have learned something. That everyone has its good and bad moments. That everyone has hardships to overcome. That everyone can experience setbacks. That everyone might get demotivated, sad and hopeless from time to time. But having these moments does not mean that you will not succeed.
Family support and love can make a difference in these situations. And a strong relationship with his grandparents can make a child grow stronger and more confident.
7. Spend Time in Nature
Big city life can become overwhelming sometimes for your grandchildren. So why do not take them on an adventure? They will surely appreciate the peace and silence you can find in national parks. They will become more aware of their surroundings and the environment. Nature trips will only help them deeply connect with it. And we all know that the deeper the connection with nature, the higher level of happiness.
This is also a great way to teach them more about the history and geography of the parks or ancient cities you are visiting. And what better way to learn a little bit of history than by visiting the places where the action took place?
You can also opt for a weekend spent in the mountains. You can go hiking with your grandchildren and look for mushrooms. This way they will learn which are edible and not.
8. Play Games
There are a lot of old-fashioned games that are so much fun. Why do not play them with your grandchildren? You can choose from a lot of mind games like riddles and “river crossing” puzzles.
Choose games that incite and develop their way of thinking. If your grandchildren are big enough, you can teach them to play chess. Or, you can play cards with them.
9. Support Them with Homework Relevant Information
With their parents busy, a child can see its homework as being really difficult. This is the moment when you can help your grandchildren. Assist them when doing homework and explain all those complex concepts they are struggling with.
Grandparents have a lot of experience and have interacted with a lot of people during their life. They can adapt their way of communicating with the person they are talking to very easy. Schoolers often need help with their homework and grandparents can help them with all their experience and knowledge
10. Validate Their Feelings
One of the mistakes that parents do nowadays is invalidating their children’s feelings. Not being mature emotionally, children will often get upset by minor issues. They might lose their friends and cry. Or they might frustrate that someone took their toys at the kindergarten and cry.
Somehow people have come to think that if someone cries, it means that they are weak. Who had not heard the famous saying “Boys don’t cry”? Everyone. You, as a grandparent, know that crying is not a sign of weakness, but strength.
Validate your grandchildren’s feelings and teach them to accept what they are feeling and not repress their feelings. Support them in becoming functional adults.
11. Be Tolerant
When you have so much experience, it is easy to become a little bit rigid. You will see that your grandchildren are growing in a different world. The access to information is made easier than ever before. And every day there is a new item invented.
Do not critique them for their crazy ideas and do not forget that you also had your crazy period. Be tolerant and support them. This will help you strengthen the bond with your grandchildren.
Grandparents are an invaluable resource for every family. They commit to support their children and grandchildren at stressful times. As a grandparent, you can help your grandchildren by validating their feelings and being tolerant of their nascent ideas.
Through your life, you have gathered a lot of experience and knowledge. Put these resources to good use and share them with your grandchildren. How? By assisting them doing their homework, sharing the family history and traditions. You can also teach them skills untaught nowadays like sewing a button or knitting the tie.
Spend time in nature, provide unconditional love and play games. Financial support is appreciated in times of need, but be careful not to encourage dysfunctional behaviors.
by Eric H. Anderson