Choosing Grandparents-Grandchildren Activities Needs Think-Ahead Planning
Recently, I was asked how do you choose grandparents-grandchildren activities and what makes a good grandparent. So…I did some research. I asked experts…our grandchildren. Here are some honest responses:
- always there for us
- unconditional love…especially when your teen grandchild comes with an attitude (her mom added)
- makes us feel special
- does things we like to do
- fun…Poppy is better
Side note: This weekend when I asked my grandkids what makes Poppy a good grandparent. They agreed on this…”he’s fun!” My eight-year-old grandson is a caring boy. He didn’t want me to feel bad, so he looked at me and added, “He’s better.” So, I guess I’m fun, just not the best of the two of us. I’ll take that…and the hugs.
HOW TO CHOOSE GRANDPARENT-GRANDCHILDREN ACTIVITIES
On my website, NanasCorner.com, I’ve offered many activities for grandparents and grandchildren to do together, while visiting in person or long distance. I’ve been reminded through my 16 years of being Nana to five grandchildren, now ages 16,11, 8, 6, and 3, that they each develop their own personality with their own likes and dislikes…as did my own children.
But, what the above list of responses shows us is that the important characteristics of a being a good grandparent to our grandchildren are also universal to all children.
Keeping that in mind when you visit with your grandchildren either at their home, your home, or on vacation, make them the center of your universe, make them feel special, and that they have your full attention. There is no one else you would rather be with.
Of course, children like to be kept entertained with fun activities that interest them. How should grandparents choose fun activities for grandchildren?
10 TIPS | CHOOSING GRANDPARENTS-GRANDCHILDREN ACTIVITIES
My 10 tips for choosing grandparents-grandchildren activities to do together are…
- most importantly, let your grandchild be your guide
- make it all about them…let them know you are sincerely interested in them…and don’t force your together time
- get a sense of how they are feeling…energetic,hyper, tired, low key, not feeling well, distracted, happy, sad
- learn from your grandchildren what they like to do (if they are very young, ask their parents for suggestions, too)
- if a grandchild is undecided, or too shy, share stories about what you liked to do as a child then, ask your grandchild to share stories about things he or she has had fun doing
- ask your grandchild if he/she would like to do one of his/her favorite activities again (if possible)
- let your grandchild choose the activity (if you have more than one grandchild, try to find activities that won’t take a lot of time in order for each to get a turn doing their activity of choice)
- or, brainstorm together to find a new, fun activity new to experience together
- bring an activities bag, so if all else fails you have go-to fun with which to surprise your grandkids
- do your homework before you go…search for local parks, indoor and outdoor amusements, movies, and the local toy store (we sometimes take them to help prepare an early Christmas list…or fill the cart up with toys they want, then narrow it down (while returning them to where they were found) to one to take home…with a price limit, of course)
My Examples Our Grandchildren Centered Fun Activities
- KC, our oldest grandchild, is a 16 year old who likes to practice applying make up, so I ask her to help me with mine, trying new products each time we do this together…to help me look younger as I get older…and we get to share stories about boys, teaching, and family heritage.
- EC, her 11-year-old sister, enjoys drawing, so when we are together she gives me drawing lessons and we discuss her career interests…which now includes graphic artist and computers.
- LC, their 8-year-old brother, loves computer games such as Minecraft, Spiderman, and Nintendo Skylanders for WiiU, of which I need a lot of guidance. Our activity together is his trying to teach me to slay the bad guys. He wants to be a YouTuber, so we make some fun videos, too.
- DJ is our 6-year-old grandson. He enjoys puzzles and strategic games. When we have one-on-one time, we solve puzzles such as Jenga and even some math coding. He also likes video games…some with Captain America slaying the bad guy, some creating on Minecraft, and some using physics such as on Red Ball.
- His sister is just three. She is on the go most of the time! She loves it when I help her ride her bike, push her in her car, kick the soccer ball with her, and after all that…she prepares a tea party for us and her Frozen dolls.
- The girls enjoy cooking…perfect for sharing and learning. The boys love eating the results!
Now, fun Poppy, is able to be more physical in his activities with our grandchildren. He gets down and wrestles with them…except now KC. He plays in the pool (ours is an Intex EZ setup, but they have larger pools which gives to more fun for them with Poppy), or spends hours building sandcastles or a swimming hole at the beach. He teaches them to play checkers to the ability that they win! Poppy is handy with building tools so each one, at one time or another, gets to build a birdhouse and a boat. They love it!
To make up for not being as much fun as Poppy, I crochet special gifts for them for no special occasion. Their Nana gifts are, hopefully, gifts that will become keepsakes. (That will be a future post.)
The Importance Of Fun Grandparents-Grandchildren Activities
Many studies over time, have shown time grandparents and grandchildren spend together builds emotional trust and stability. One such research is by the University of Oxford “has shown how grandparents play a vital role in children’s wellbeing and the results have been informing UK family policy.”
In that study, “Professor Buchanan has now re-analysed her original grandparent data, looking at the impact of grandfathers’ involvement on child wellbeing. This shows that grandfathers’ involvement, independent of grandmothers, is associated with child well-being but their involvement is different; whereas grandmothers are more involved in nurturing, grandfathers get involved in activities and mentoring.”
Often a family can go through difficult times. With a strong grandparent-grandchild bonding, their relationship provides much needed support. Knowing their grandparents are there for them, unconditionally, takes away some of the fear of change and insecurity that may lay ahead.
Grandchildren are more likely to open up to grandparents they trust and are emotionally connected to when they find it difficult to share their concerns with parents. Grandparents-grandchildren activity time offers relaxed opportunities to do so.
It is my hope that grandchildren will take away from grandparents-grandchildren activities time together is the knowledge that they are loved and that they matter…their feelings, their opinions, their likes and dislikes, their skills and abilities, are all respected and supported.
(posted while waiting for the 2017 Solar Eclipse – partial here in NJ)
I hope this post offers some tips you can use to make your grandparent-grandchild fun activities, just that…FUN!!!