Don’t want the grandchildren to forget you? Creating memories with grandchildren is good for you and your grandchildren. Here’s how to be an unforgettable grandparent
One evening I was saying goodbye to my youngest granddaughter and as I was holding her close, she whispered in my ear, “Gammy…you’re my best buddy.”
My heart could not have felt fuller.
The love I share with my two granddaughters is one of the most surprising and wonderful relationships of my life. Who knew?
Pretty much anyone that’s ever been a grandmother—that’s who.
Each little moment like this is a treasure that I hold near and dear. Those sweet words whispered in her little voice come to me at odd times and bring a smile to my face. I certainly won’t forget them!
(Here’s a link to my post: How to be an Awesome Grandparent)
It’s made me wonder, if she will have memories of me and that got me thinking of ways on how to be an unforgettable grandparent to her.
I have no idea how long I’ll be in my grandchildren’s’ lives but I do hope that I can create memories with them that they have for the rest of their lives. To that end, I’ve created this short list to help me and you get started.
I was always a little different as a parent. My grown kids still have a lot of laughs at some of the things they experienced growing up. My kitchen was always a laboratory for experiments with food. Lentil loaf and tofu-anything are things they just can’t seem to forget.
But they have other memories. We took hikes and explored the woods. We adopted dogs and cats. As much as money and time allowed, they got to try different kinds of things. Not because it would get them into a good college or turn them into a super-kid but because it was fun. In a nutshell, I gave them a safe place to be kids and explore their world.
As a grandmother, I am still myself. And my little granddaughters know they can always be themselves. They have plenty of clothes and toys and I don’t feel any need to add to all that. However, I do give them my undivided attention on a regular basis and let them play however they want when we are together.
We have serious and silly conversations. My thing is accepting them exactly how they are without trying to change them and thoroughly enjoying every minute with them.
What I’m trying to say is that I don’t have to do anything spectacular or expensive to have the love of these little girls. By being fully present to them, they love being with me. I’m not exciting or particularly bubbly and it really doesn’t matter.
Just be you.
Being yourself will also make you different—and memorable. While I haven’t tried to feed them lentil loaf (that’s not the kind of memorable I’m shooting for anymore) I do try and do different things with them.
I get along with my grandchildren’s other grandparents and I never try to compete with them. If they give the girls great gifts; I never try to one-up them. However, I do try to think of different things to get them or do with them.
For this next one, I can thank my middle child, the girls’ aunt since she came up with this brilliant idea.
My younger daughter and I have started giving the girls experiences for their birthdays and Christmas instead of gifts. After sitting through watching the girls open so many gifts that soon get discarded and forgotten, my daughter, their Aunt, came up with the idea of taking them out and doing something special. We started with taking the older girl to a traveling Broadway show and then to dinner.
HUGE HIT. She got to dress up and have a special night out at the theater. In fact, my daughter and I loved the evening as well. So, we decided to make it our thing with the girls. For Christmas, we gave them tickets to another visiting Broadway show.
Both girls dressed up and got to experience the magic of watching musical theater. It truly was unforgettable.
Of course—that might not be your thing! And that’s okay. Every town has fun things that come to town or are seasonal.
I’ve also taken the girls out for interesting meals, to the museum, and for a train ride. These things create memories that we can look back on with them and say, “Remember when we…”
Create Things They Can Count On
Children love traditions, structure, and routine. While novel things are fun once in a while, it seems to me that they love repeated things even more.
When my grandchildren visit, they love knowing where everything is and getting things out and putting them away. They like knowing favorite people, activities, and places. They like doing the same thing for celebrations.
Having routines and traditions help children create memories that will last. As far as I can tell, especially when they are young, children love repeating the things they love to do.
It’s helpful to have some kind of routine visits with them, whether it’s by Facetime or in person. I try to spend one afternoon a week with them and they look forward to it. A few weeks ago, I was sick and couldn’t make it. My little granddaughter cried for ten minutes because she was so disappointed.
I truly hadn’t realized how much she counted on these visits! You can bet that I won’t miss them without a really good reason.
How to Be an Unforgettable Grandparent
To be honest, I often feel like the lamest grandmother there is. Yet, after writing this I really do know that I share a very special bond with my granddaughters. I don’t have to be exciting or act like someone else to have a great relationship with them or to create memories.
However, putting thought and effort into the relationship has helped create this bond and I like to think this will make me a memorable grandparent.
I’d love to hear how you create memories with your grandchildren! Feel free to share in the comments below.
Keep on loving my friends.
Be sure to check out How to be an Awesome Grandparent!
How to Enrich a Child’s Life
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.