You and your grandchildren have a lot more in common than you might think! Spending time together doing things that you both enjoy and sharing those experiences is what creates a great relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. From electronics to exploring the great outdoors to leading by example (oh my!), being the best grandparent you can be is a difficult, but a rewarding and fun journey to take with your grandchildren!
Replace Home Electronics with External Electronics
Using electronics and playing video games has quickly grown to be the favorite pastime of today’s younger crowd, but this love of technology isn’t exclusive to the generations that followed the Millennials! Instead of letting them stare at an iPad screen, take them to the movies. For a little extra flare that they might not have experienced, take your grandchildren to the drive-in—complete with snacks you could make together at home! Instead of hanging around the PlayStation or the Xbox, take a trip to the arcade. Most arcade games encourage multiple players to take part, so take advantage and spend some quality time together.
Take them Exploring
Electronics and video games are popular and prized by younger generations for all that they get to explore within their imaginary worlds—but what about the world around them? Take the grandkids out exploring in the fresh air! Go to your local park, nature center, or hiking trail, and see what there is to discover together. For the brave at heart, consider taking them camping—complete with the chance to sit around a fire and look at the stars. If you’re a knowledgeable nature-goer, spread the wealth of experience and take them fishing, or teach them how to identify plants and berries that are safe to eat, or best to be cautious of. No matter what, just make sure to have fun, be prepared, and remember your sunscreen!
Board Games over “Bored” Games
Rainy day? Feeling a little more relaxed? Wanting something to do that’s a bit more settled in? Brain games are the way to go. Be it puzzles or board games, these competitive and communal ways to pass the time are a sure-fire success. Depending on age range and skill level, there are hundreds of board game options available that suit the kind of challenges and fun you want to share with your grandchildren. If board games aren’t your style, card games are always a simple and effective winner. Teach them poker, GoFish, or Blackjack, and compete for prizes you find around your home (healthy snacks are a crowd favorite). Remember, brain games you teach your little ones now instill life lessons they will carry on in adulthood.
Be Balanced: It's not just about being fun, it's also about being a role model
Not everything is fun and games; sometimes, life is hard. Your grandchildren will encounter difficult situations and have to make hard decisions that put their characters to the test. This is where your job as a grandparent truly comes in, because you’re a role model as much as you’re a playmate or friend. Instill in your grandchildren a strong value system during these moments of quality time that you spend with them while they are young. They love and admire you, and are watching you to lead the way.
Avoid Grandparent Rivalry
Like you, your grandchildren are filled with plenty of love to go around. So, there’s no need for competition between the grandparents. Avoid speaking ill of, undermining, or excluding the other grandparents in the equation. Try to include them, instead! Your grandchildren love everyone in the family, so make sure the love goes around with a “more the merrier” mentality.
Being the best grandparent you can be takes more than a few steps, but these are a great start. Build strong, lasting relationships through quality time with your grandchildren: listen, laugh, and explore everything that life has to offer with them. Share your knowledge, experience, stories, and lead by example—they’ll thank you for it!
Written by Rhianna DeVries