How to Be an Unforgettable Grandparent
The love between grandparents and grandchildren is built over time and through shared experiences.
Creating memories for your grandchildren is good for you and your grandchildren. Here’s how to be an unforgettable grandparent.
Building Bonds with Your Grandchildren
One evening I was saying goodbye to my middle 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 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. And if you’re reading this, then I know you know how the love between grandparents and grandchildren feels too!
Why are Grandparents Important to Grandchildren?
Grandparents are important to grandchildren! My children’s grandparents were so supportive of me and my husband.
They often babysat while I went to school or let me bring the kids over to play while we had a grown-up visit.
My kids had these four amazing people in their lives that loved them unconditionally.
It wasn’t just what our parents did for our children, it was the example they set, the experiences they shared, and most of all the love they gave their grandchildren.
To this day, my children talk about their grandparents and all the time they had with them.
That love between grandparents and grandchildren has stayed with my children through their entire lives and it has been an example to me of how to be a great grandparent to my grandchildren.
Creating Memories for Your Grandchildren
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 of creating memories for grandchildren.
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 these grandparenting tips to help you and I get started.
How can I have a great relationship with my grandchildren?
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.
If you are wondering what you can do with my grandchildren, you don’t have to do anything spectacular or expensive to have the love of your grandchildren.
By being fully present to them, they will love being with you.
What can I do with my grandchildren? Play, Hangout, and Talk!
I love to hang out with the girls in their room, sitting on the bed or floor, playing games or reading books.
We dance to music. I’ve gone roller skating and bowling with them. We’ve explored my neighborhood parks or we go out for breakfast.
It seems like it’s not the what that is important, it’s that you do some things with them occasionally.
I lived in apartments for a few years and my granddaughters thought that was the most amazing thing ever. They love exploring everything!
As they get older, we can play games, do puzzles, make crafts, go to playgrounds, or just explore around the yard.
I kid you not, one day we spent a couple of hours looking for interesting rocks in their gravel driveway. With kids, everything can be a fun adventure!
Create Memories for Your Grandchildren
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, we knew we wanted to do something else.
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. There are shows specifically for younger children and those are fun for adults too. We’ve also watched magic shows and cartoons come to life.
These things create memories that we can look back on with them and say, “Remember when we…”
Another way I create memories with grandchildren, is that I have them over to spend the night once in a while or for an afternoon visit.
They really enjoy doing this. I keep a couple of bins full of craft supplies. My middle granddaughter is an avid crafter and always is cooking up new ideas for us to create.
I also have all the Barbie dolls my own girls played with when they were little. I just keep a few toys on hand. Since they don’t get to play with them every day, they always are excited to get them out.
To make it easier to do things with them, I finally bought a car seat to go in my car, so that I can easily come get her and take her places!
Creating Traditions with Grandchildren
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.
We also have developed some yearly traditions. Before Christmas, I host a cookie making party that adults and children enjoy. In fact, my adult children look forward to it as much as the little ones.
I’ve collected cookie cutters for years. We do it for the fun–not to make beautiful cookies, though we try!
We also get together for holiday dinners and for birthdays. Celebrating together once in a while is a unforgettable event for grandkids!
How to Be an Unforgettable Grandparent
The love between grandparents and grandchildren is an amazing thing.
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.
The most important thing, I believe, is having your own unforgettable life. The thing all of the above ideas have in common is YOU. You bring the fun and memories with you!
Putting thought and effort into these relationships 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 those grandkids my friends!
The Best You is the Best and Most Unforgettable Grandparent.
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Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute coaching session.