This time of year, the role of grandmother can be most rewarding, especially if you and you grandchild spend some of the winter holidays together. Ours just visited for Thanksgiving and we all enjoyed being together to celebrate. While buying and giving presents is important, the most significant gift you can give your grandchild is your presence, attention and love. And you know the best gift you can receive back is a great big hug. For some budget-friendly and fun activities to do with your grandkids this holiday season, here’s 100 free things to choose from.
‘Grand Mothers’ come in all sizes and shapes, as well as names – Grandma, Nana, Bubbe, Granny, or whatever special name your grandkids have for you. Grandchildren may live near or far; be in preschool, grade school, college or beyond; from intact or blended families. What grandmothers share in common is a deep desire to maintain a loving bond with their grandchildren. Here are some tips for creating enriched relationships:
When your grandchildren live far away, the most salient issue is developing connections. You probably don’t have the opportunity to see them more than every few months, particularly in this economy. You will likely need to enlist the aid of your adult children to help you form the bonds between you and their kids. How you connect will change as they grow and will certainly flow from your own interests and creative talents. Whatever you choose, your efforts will be well worth it when you see how excited they get when you visit. For some new ideas about connecting at a distance, take a look the article on our HerMentorCenter.com website, Create Meaningful Bonds with Your Grandchildren across the Miles.
When your grandkids are babies, help them develop a full impression of you. You can best do this by using all the sensations that babies respond to. Let them begin to identify your voice by cooing to them on the phone or sending them tapes or CD’s with you singing, reading or speaking to them. They can begin to recognize your face from pictures of you in their room or on the computer via iChat or Skype. Have a special song or book that you share with them as you cuddle on each visit. Wear the same perfume – or even a dab of vanilla – whenever you visit so that they learn to associate that with you.
Even if you can’t spend the holidays together, continue to use phone calls, letters, cards, texting and emails to stay in touch. After a visit, you can create a scrapbook for them of pictures and souvenirs from your time together. Their memories of you will be enhanced when they have something tangible to look at and savor over and over again, like Family Photo Books. You can write them stories or poems about what you do together, with them as the star of the piece.
During the rest of the year, learn about your grandchildren’s activities and interests so you can engage with them about topics that mean a lot to them. Pay attention to their friends when you go to their birthday parties, sports events or special occasions – then you can ask about them later when you have returned home. Integrate what you find out and keep up with their changing activities. All of your efforts will help cement the connections between you.
Check back with us again on Wednesday when we’ll have some more tips for you grandmothers to put in place this holiday season.