Like many of you, I have very fond memories of my grandparents, especially grandad. I was the first of several grandchildren and we bonded immediately. He was my favorite grownup. Grandparents and their grandchildren have unique and rewarding relationships. Fulfilling grandkids sense of security, prospering deep familial relationships and heightening their sense of family unit togetherness are compelling elements to healthy living. Grandparents relish interacting with grandkids on a level that is removed from the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting. Periodic weekends together, afternoon play dates, an evening babysitting, summer vacations, phone chats and occasional email exchanges are enormously pleasurable. Mary Bounds’ article Grandparents: Planning a Simpler, Grand Summer, highlights the joys grandparents have experienced for generations.
Three out of four grandparents report their grandchildren are the most important, satisfying thing in their life. Not surprisingly, most Nanas and Papas look forward to spending time with their grandkids, and what better time than summer vacation! Whether it’s the entire summer or a weekend with the grands, the goal is to make meaningful, lasting memories, but here’s an important news flash: A hefty bankroll is not required!
What devoted grandparent doesn’t delight in an enjoyable summer visit from their precious grandchildren? Theme parks and sunny beach resorts are often found on a grandparent’s “Places to go” list, but not every Pawpaw or Grammy can squeeze them into their budget. Today grandparents are discovering they can have a fun, rewarding time with their second-generation offspring without breaking the bank. Here’s what they have learned.
Sharing moments with grandkids should be the focus of outings together. The point is to spend time with them! According to Sue Johnson, co-author of Grandloving: Making Memories With your Grandchildren, “The best thing you can give your grandchildren is your time. Think back to the simple pleasures you enjoyed when you were a child. It’s these things that will be meaningful and memorable.”
This may sound too simple to be true, but in the midst of a technology driven world, grandmas and grandpas are enriching grandkids’ lives through old-fashioned, back to basics activities. Grandchildren are not only fascinated by the “good old days”, they also build a sense of identity through family photographs and stories. Grandparents, in turn, are garnering sentimental satisfaction as knowledge from their lifespan is wondrously rekindled through the eyes of their grandchild.
Summertime is the perfect time for grandparents to introduce grandchildren to family traditions and activities from their past. There are countless ways to incorporate the old with the new and make lasting memories along the way. Here are a few ideas, but by no means stop here. Release your inner child and show the grandkids your kind of fun!
Scavenger Hunt. Include items such as clothes pins, watering cans and hand saws. Discuss how these items were used and what newer products are being used today. Finally bring out the old-fashioned ice cream machine and cool things off!
Cookie Master. Let the grandkids assist with baking cookies from a handed-down family recipe. Tell stories about having the same cookies when their mom or dad was young. Post a photo of each proud little cook on the refrigerator, and of course, devour the cookies!
Fly a Kite. Build a kite with your grandchild. Make the tail from clothing scraps from different family members. Plan a picnic to the beach or meadow for a trial run (video tape the flight).
Rainy Day Review. Dim the lights, then watch old family movies complete with popcorn prepared on the stove top, served with root beer floats. Upon conclusion, hand out ballots to vote for favorite family videos.
Junior Gardener. Let your grandchild select a flowering or vegetable plant at a local store. Assist with daily care and document its growth with a series of photographs. Once fully grown present the photo album to your proud little gardener. Enjoy the flowers or veggies!
Bedtime Family-Tale. In lieu of the usual bedtime story, tell true tales of special family events such as the day each grandchild was born, or their parent’s high school graduation. Make an audio tape of the stories for future listening pleasure. (Be sure to make copies of the tape as it will surely become endearing family folklore!)