Have you ever wondered how you could be a better grandparent? Or worried that you’re not the grandparent that you want to be?
This past weekend we had a family reunion. It was my mother’s family. The day unfolded like most reunions. At least how ours have gone since I can remember. Everyone arrived just before it was time to eat. The picnic tables were full of home cooked comfort foods.
However, being the last day of summer, the weather turned on us in an instant. Our bright sunny day suddenly turned gray. Storm clouds rolled in. The wind blew the table clothes and old aunts grabbed their picnic baskets.
Then the rain came.
Everyone was chasing the food, few parents thought to grab the children still playing on the nearby playground.
Which, as it turned out, was much to their delight. The wetter the kids got, the happier they became. That’s when I noticed that there were two kinds of grandparents at that reunion.
There are those who wanted to get the kids out of the rain–and those who enjoyed watching them play.
Help Guide has some good suggestions if you’re looking for ways to become a better grandparent.
Spend quality time with your grandkids
“The best grandparenting activities flow naturally from the interests of both the grandparents and the grandchildren. You can create a deep, loving relationship with your grandchildren by sharing the things you love with them, and by being available to learn about the ideas and activities that excite them.”
Take it easy together
“Make an effort to enjoy leisure time with your grandchildren. As a grandparent, you get to interact with your grandchildren without the same daily pressures of a parent—you don’t have to worry about driving carpool or juggling making dinner for the family with soccer practice and grocery shopping. Allow yourself to slow down and become really absorbed in an activity. Moving at a slower pace than usual can give children a sense that time can be ‘stretched’—that you don’t need to hurry through activities. And, as with adults, it gives them the psychic space to feel, reflect, and express emotions without feeling rushed.”
“Children love the outdoors, and trips to the park or the beach can be a great jumping-off point for some wonderful adventures and happy memories. Nature walks and day hikes can provide lots of interesting things to talk about, and water activities can be especially fun. Throwing stones into the water or watching the current play with sticks are simple activities that can be fascinating to children. You can start these activities when kids are toddlers, and expand the games as they get older.”
While all these suggestion are a great start, always remember, if you want to be a better grandparent learn to play in the rain. Because if you do, you’ll find the secret to creating the best memories.