Share Yourself with Your Grandchildren
Time with grandchildren is the most precious gift grandparents can receive. I just spent a week with my grandchildren at the shore. It was fun doing activities together while talking about whatever topic came up. My granddaughters asked many questions about my childhood…what my friends and I liked to do, what school was like, what toys I played with, and are amazed at what I didn’t have…video games, ipods, cell phones, DVDs, calculators, computers, Internet, etc. They were equally interested hearing that I had similar personal experiences in my childhood…bad dreams, feeling left out sometimes, crushes, not getting along with my older sister, and more. They, in turn, opened up and shared similar stories and interests. I call this sharing me time.
I enjoyed sharing with them stories about my grandparents, including humorous stories such as how my grandmother would drive me to ballet classes in her baby blue 1933 Nash Coupe at a very slow 25 miles an hour. Of course, there was always a line of cars held up behind her on the winding two lane route. Every week I was so embarrassingly late!
Bonding with Grandchildren
When grandparents are not able to visit as often as they’d like, attempts at becoming closer to their grandchildren are sometimes awkward. Combining an activity, such as cooking or a craft, with sharing me time helps to create a relaxed environment making it easier to build a closer relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.
ABC Family Photo Album Activity
Recently, I’ve been going through family photos looking for those to use in an ABC Family Photo Album. The album will have photos of past and present family members. Captions will include alliteration for the letter of the alphabet highlighted for that page. Include colors, shapes, prepositions, actions, emotions, too. Most importantly, make it fun to read. Two examples are shown here:
|Great-Grandmother Irene is glamorous in her sun glasses at ninety-years-old||Nana at seven-years-old sitting on Santa’s lap (asking for a new girdle for her mother)|
There are a couple of ways an ABC Family Photo Album project can be accomplished by grandparents with the help of grandchildren.
- When grandchildren are visiting, go through some of your family photos with them. Ask them to tell you what they see as a starting point: beach, blue sky, hat, beads, sun glasses, sand, people, clouds…Together find words starting with the same letter and create an original caption (silliness welcome!) A caption for the photo on the left above could state for the letter B : Great-Grandmother Irene is at the beach under the blue sky wearing beads.
- If grandchildren are not able to visit, use a web cam. Hold up photos one at a time and do the same as in number 1. Using a web cam helps in building a close relationship…and keeping it close until you are able to visit in person; you won’t have to work through that awkward stage again.
While you’re looking through the photos, take advantage of the time together to get to know each other better. This activity for grandparents and grandchildren together is a wonderful way to celebrate Grandparents Day for the day was originally created by its originator, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade in 1970, to bring the older and younger generations closer together by sharing me time.