Think back to when you were a kid. Chances are, you had a favorite grandparent. Your kids probably favored a certain grandparent, too. Grandparenting has changed quite a bit from the time you were a child. Today’s grandparents are more active in their grandkids’ lives than ever before. But without your own experiences to be able to draw from, it can be hard to figure out how you fit into your grandchildren’s lives. Don’t worry--it’s not as tricky as it seems. By following five easy steps, you’ll be the grandpa that every kid loves best!
1. Be there. If you live in close proximity to your grandkids, it’s important to see your grandchildren often. The more often you are physically there, the more bonding can happen. Wave and take pictures of them at the school Halloween parade, cheer them on at baseball games, volunteer to read in their classrooms. If you don’t live nearby, technology can be your best friend. Apps like the NoMeLoMe digital library allow you to stay connected to your grandchild. Through NoMeLoMe, you can record a story for them to listen to or even hear them read to you! Whether you live near or far, being present shows your grandchildren how much you care. And they’ll notice!
2. Be involved. Talk to your grandchild and get to know them. Even though they’re young, they still have opinions to express and stories to tell. Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or through video calls, ask questions about your grandkids’ friends, activities, and accomplishments. You may be surprised at what they have to say!
3. Share what you love. Kids are naturally curious, and they’ll want to know all about you. Share the things you like to do with them. If you like to fish, buy your grandchild a fishing hat to match yours and take them out to the pond. If you love football, head outside with a foam football to throw, catch, and tackle. Do you have a favorite snack? Bring some over to share with you r grandkid and they’ll never leave your side.
4. Admit and laugh at your mistakes. As Grandpa, you serve as one of your grandkids’ top role models. It’s important to teach children that it’s OK to make mistakes, and the best way to do that is to admit that you’ve made some yourself. So the next time you get lost with your grandchild in the car, laugh at your predicament, tell your grandkid that you tried hard but still made a mistake, and let them know that you’re going to keep trying until you get to where you’re going. It might feel strange to admit your shortcomings to a child, but it’s a powerful lesson that they will remember for years to come.
5. Remember, it’s all about the kids! Above all, it’s important to remember that your time with your grandchildren is special, and these early years won’t last for long. Put your own wants aside for the duration of their visit and focus on theirs. You can read the newspaper later, you can record the game, and you can chat with friends another day. But these days of princess tea parties, lining up cars on the runner, and hide-and-seek will be gone before you know it. Embrace them while they’re here, and you’ll both have memories forever.
An involved grandpa is a favorite grandpa. By keeping your grandchildren centered in your life, you’ll always be their favorite!