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.

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.

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!

Gammy, you are my best buddy. Picture of me and my granddaughter. How to be an unforgettable grandparent

(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.

17 Fun Crafts To Do With 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 to Stay Close to Teenage Grandchildren too.

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.

How can I have a great relationship with my grandchildren?

Be Yourself

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.

(Long-distance grandparent? I’ve got you covered here!)

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.

Here’s my favorite present! From Say it With Words. This beautiful snuggly blanket came with words my granddaughters wrote. You can get one personalized for your own grandchild, so they can think of YOU as they snuggle!

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 can I 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!

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.

However, 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.

Create memories by doing things together. How to be an Unforgettable Grandparent

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…”

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. Here’s how I help them feel at home when they visit my home.

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.

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.

Can being a grandparent help you live longer?

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 those grandkids my friends!

Here are some other grandparenting tips and ways for grandparents and grandchildren to bond.

Love, Sara

Keep showing up my friends,

Sara

Sara

Hi, I'm Sara! As a counselor and college advisor/coach, I've helped thousands of people make positive changes in their lives. Join me on the adventure of thinking big and living well!

45 Comments

  1. Mimi on July 22, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    I was blessed beyond MEASURE for 3 wonderful years, with the most precious angel on earth. My beautiful grand daughter Ryleigh. Then for reasons I will never understand she was taken out of our lives and we have not seen or heard from her in 5 years, my heart breaks daily just for her touch. This is a nightmare I never dreamed of. I would give my last breath just to hold her one more time. She will never know the love we have for her in our hearts. I pray for God to bring her back into our lives one day

    • Sara on July 23, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss! My sister had a grandchild she didn’t see until the child was an adult. (I hope you don’t have to wait that long) Every year, she wrote her a letter and bought her a Christmas ornament and saved these until she did see her when she was old enough to make the decision on her own.

  2. So, have at it. Go get them. If they are teens, call them or text them and ask for some of their time. Hold them to it and press them on it. They really do want to spend time with you, they just don’t remember how much fun it can be. If only for an hour or so, go for it. Hug them and hold them tight. They won’t be little forever.

  3. Angela on April 1, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Every year I fly to Oregon to pick up my 8 year old grandson up. Sometimes I stay a few weeks with them on the coast beforehand and help take care of him and hang out in his town. Then when we are dropped off at the airport we always make it special by getting a special little lunch. On the plane we have our things would like to play. We have our snacks and the little blankie I pack him as it gets cold. At my house he has his own room with his own toys and his uncle’s bike. He has his skateboard and all of his thing he collects. We go to many of the same places the zoos, ice cream, friendshio rocks, museums, Sunken Gardens, splash pads, parks, and he loves it. He is familiar with them all. We always do crafts too and cook… LOVE

  4. Phyllis on March 31, 2019 at 5:25 am

    I use to love seeing my granddaughter, taking her to church, doting on her but then her father’s grandmother (who raised him) chose to take her out of our lives and is raising her. She is now 11. I was able to be in her life until she was 4. Both my daughter and her husband were addicts. I never used but was treated poorly by the system. Then my oldest daughter’s son who was 2 was removed from her! He is now 7. His grandparents were friends with my granddaughters grandmother! Their son (his father) died of an overdose when he was 7 months. Now my oldest has a daughter who is not a year yet. She just lives over an hour away. Hopefully we will build a healthy relationship but the pain of the two losses lingers in the back of my mind.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      Keep doing healthy! That is the best example possible.

  5. BMarie on March 30, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Hello; I am very lucky and value being a grandma. We see the two grandkids often. They are close sisters, 2 1/2 years age difference. They love going back to the same places (experiences) again and again. We bowl, ice skate, go to museums, dye Easter eggs, go to trampoline parks, local parks, animal environs, and more. They love Thanksgiving with us and their parents and a family friend. We have toys at our house, yard sale deals. Anyway, I am enriched by them, them, by us.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Thank you for sharing! Creating your special things and traditions is so important in building these relationships.

  6. Jan H. on March 28, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Around 25 years ago I had an epiphany about what it meant to become a grandmother. Back then, my 18-year-old daughter gave birth to my first grandchild, then put her little girl up for adoption. I understood why, but I grieved knowing I would never know my little granddaughter. That’s when I took a closer look into myself and realized the type of grandmother I wanted to be. Clearly, I wanted to be hands-on, interested and an involved grandmother who would take her grandchildren to the parks, library, museums and interesting places around the state. Now I have 13 great & grandchildren. I’ve done all those things and much, much more. I try to be involved with the grandchildren on a 1:1 basis as well. Individualized attention is important. I taught my oldest grandchild to drive a stick; built a homemade tipi for one of my grandsons; tea parties for one of my grandchildren who loves to dress up; had my hands-on teenage grandson choose a small appliance to buy at a thrift store so he can take it a part and put it back together; make baked goods with my granddaughter who loves to cook; and so much more. When we have lots of grandkids together, we go to the local swimming hole; bowl on Wii; have an old fashioned sock hop with my grandson as the DJ playing vinyl records; create a homemade game for all of us to play; bake cookies & cook meals together; give them projects and chores to help around the cabin; play indoor and outdoor games and so much more than I have time to write. The kicker is, none of my 13 grands live in-state. I see some of the kids once a year, and others it may be 3 years before we see one another. True, we have to pack as much activities in those few days as we can, but we have fun doing it. Fortunately, we have such fond memories that whenever we see one another, it’s like we’ve never been a part at all. When they’re here, they’re home away from home. And they know it.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      This is so inspiring to me. I especially love that you are able to do this long-distance! Thanks for sharing how you do this.

  7. Grammy Barb on March 18, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    We are having a problem in that having 19 grands and 1 great it is difficult to supply much 1 on 1 individual attention. In addition our youngest kids are 18, 20, and 22, so i expect there will be more grandchildren to treasure in the future. Though we like the idea of giving gifts of time, we live 2.5 – 3 hours from a town of any size to have many activities available. And at 64 and 70 yrs old we are unable to enjoy outdoor winter activities. Our oldest grands we were able to spoil with time and attention, but the younger ones have a great deal of competition.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      It’s all good. They won’t have the same expectations but they will always have your love.

  8. D. Lynn Graves on March 14, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    I love everything you write. My grandchildren and I have made some funny, glorious, heartwarming memories over the years. So fortunate I spent so much quality time with them. Things changed this last year and a half. My granddaughter turned 16 and my grandson 13. They are very busy now and are not interested in Grandma anymore. I have tried spending time with them, but it’s different in so many ways. I am having a hard time with this.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      All relationships change. It was so hard when my own children started growing up. You did it before and you’ll find your way with the grandkids. You got this!

  9. Heather Ouellette on March 13, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    My best of many memories of my grandmother was her sharing, with only me, just how she made her renowned lemon pie. From my MIL, a fantastic grandmother, I learned that all her grandkids & great grandkids remember the crazy, fun time she spent with them. Now, with my four granddaughters, I do all of these spot-on ideas. Each has their own preferences that I have clued in to and make sure to include — sleepovers, (sometimes in a home-made tent in their own bedroom), crafts, journaling, make believe, Easter egg hunt tradition, making pancakes, learning to sew & knit, garbage pick-up along our walking trail ending with a pop & fries at a fast food joint, bowling, hiking, biking (have their own bikes here), donating money saved all year to a special charity, trips to a play at Stratford, Ontario or an afternoon at a nearby theme park or museum. Whether frequent or few, we focus our visit time on them & what they enjoy. My out-going 7 year old recently said, “Grandma, you’re my best friend.” I noted that she has lots of friends so I’m likely a really good friend, to which she replied, “Hmmm, no you’re my best friend.” That is my reward for the time & attention that I devote to them whenever we see them.

    • Sara on March 31, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      That is the best! To be a best friend

  10. Angele on February 24, 2019 at 10:20 am

    I agree with doing things together. Our grandson is 2 and from the onset my name to him has been Mémé. Atlas is such a joy to have around. We have this agreement that we will do what he wants when he comes to visit and squeeze in what we want when/if there is time. One of his favs is to play hockey with miniatures sticks and a tennis ball – with my husband or I as his opponent. It sounds messy but it really isn’t. We have a blast and laugh out loud as we stick handle our way through the game. He is such a fun little guy??

    • Sara on February 25, 2019 at 7:39 am

      Love this! Thanks for sharing Mémé. Spending time doing what they love to do is such a good relationship builder.

  11. Mavis on February 12, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Hi I really enjoyed your article and I would love to do something similar to your ideas but my grandchildren are a little older 12, 10, and 8 and they also live 3 hours away from us so we don’t spend as much time with them as I’d like to and when we do see them it is all 3 of them together and wanting to spend time with all of them it is hard to pick one or two to do something different. I would really appreciate any ideas you could give me thank you

    • Sara on February 12, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Those are fun ages! My sister is in a similar situation. What she does is have one at a time spend the weekend. If the parent is open, they could meet you halfway. You don’t have to do it every month, but maybe plan for each of them a couple of times a year to stay with you on their own. Her grandchildren LOVE this special time and they are similar ages to your grandchildren. You can plan an activity or two that is tailored to the individual child and also have them join you in some of yours. It’s also good if they have something they can do on their own, such as a good book or something, so you can all have your “down time.” Last time I had my younger granddaughter over, we started the weekend with trip to store to pick out ingredients for dinner to cook, then we picked out inexpensive toy she could play with. For my older granddaughter, we often start with trip to the library for books. I have access to a great park and museums so we do that as well. Sometimes, you can have two over and let the one have the parents to themselves. If everyone is super busy on weekends, it might just be once a year for each. I think it would also be fine if when you are visiting, you plan ahead to something with just one of them at a time for part of the visit. Once the kids understand that everyone will get their special time, they don’t mind that a sibling is getting theirs. The main thing is plan ahead with their parents on board and be equitable (doesn’t have to be the same).

  12. Robin hammerman on October 20, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Sara, your love for your granddaughters rings loudly and the…I have one 9 year old boy and one 6 year old,girl for grandkids.lthey life in Boston and we live in San Francisco,the distance is very great…we visit on each coast twice a year each way plus meeting in the south or other places for get together during school vacations..when you are forced to see them this infrequently due to distance and we ar getting older and have a harder time traveling..these have become “high stakes” visits…Anyway, any advice as to how to better keep up? The window seems to close so soon…no matter how hip you are,,they prefer their friends..we feel as if we are getting smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror…we ar traveling to Boston for Halloween…that’s become a ritual! Hard to know where they will be with the concept this thanksgiving,,maybe want to go out with friends,,whatever,,we want to maximize! Help! Thank you,..I had so hoped for local grandkids..♥️???xxxrobin

    • Sara on October 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      When my own kids were growing up, we were fortunate to live in town with all their grandparents. However, their cousins did not. But spending chunks of time together a few times a year made a huge impact. My children’s cousins, who are all adults, many with their own children now, (on both sides) have very strong relationships with their living grandparents to this day, despite the geographical distances. In fact, some have closer relationships than my own kids who lived in the same town.

  13. Kathy on October 13, 2018 at 9:36 am

    I would love to be the unforgettable grandma to my grandchildren like mine was to me! But mine live in another country ! So we do the Skype thing and visit once or twice a year ! It’s hard to know how to make our relationship special .

    • Sara on October 13, 2018 at 9:50 am

      My sister did that for a year or so with her grandkids. It definitely works to keep the relationship going. I love to write and read, so I might add real letters and care packages (with books) to the mix.

    • Nina on February 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      A friend of mines grandchildren live on the other side of the country. She’s started a round robin book with each one. She bought each one a spiral notebook. She wrote on the first page about her day, and what had been going on in her life. She then mailed it to her grandchild for him to fill out the next page and send back to her. Just a fun way to keep in personal contact and have a fun diary.

      • Sara on February 5, 2019 at 8:37 am

        Nina, I love that idea! Thanks for sharing here in the comments for others to see and try.

  14. Nancy on September 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I became a grandma for the first time 2 weeks ago…i never felt like I was “grandma material”. My son (new granddaughter dad) and i are not having the best if a relationship and i have tried everything to mend that issue..i did get to see my granddaughter last week and going today…i pray that this little baby will mend the heart of my son and allow me to be the grandma i want to be in this precious little girl..

    • Sara on September 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

      I pray that you mend your relationship with your son and that you have an amazing relationship with your new granddaughter!

  15. Mary on August 13, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I, too, am a grandparent, but older with a 5 and 7 yr. old. The clock ticks and my husband and I don’t know how much time we have left. So we richly invest into their lives by the giving of ourselves in such a way that they truly feel love that will influence them to become better people for having known us. Our hope is that they too, become involved in their children’s and grandchildren lives having a strong bond and relationship repeating the cycle of love.

    • Sara on August 13, 2018 at 8:52 am

      Mary, your grandchildren are blessed to have someone like you in their life! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  16. Kimberly on April 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Sara, I love this post. Being an involved Grandparent is so important and it looks like you’re doing it right! I agree with “doing things they can count on” – even little things. I have a drawer in my fridge that has their snacks – applesauce, cheese sticks, etc. They know where it is and always look forward to seeing if Grandma has added anything new to the stash.
    You are right, they will remember!
    Kimberly
    Passing Down the Love

    • Sara on April 16, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      My sister does that–keeps special snacks for her grandkids! Love that!

  17. Mark on March 3, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    As for “creating memories”– when my son was young, I had a rule that I always kept: every other weekend we would do something (or see something, or experience something) that he had never done before. It really worked.

    • Sara on March 4, 2018 at 10:37 am

      That’s a fantastic idea! I should definitely incorporate that for the little ones once a month or so.

  18. Holly Lasha on February 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    These are great tips. I definitely had a fantastic grandma…I hope to be one as well someday!

  19. Mimi on February 26, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    You sound like such a good grandparent,my grandma passed away when I was 3 so I don’t have memories of her so I wish I could really share some more with her

    • Sara on February 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      I didn’t have that my experience myself either–so I’m really trying with my girls.

  20. Glenny on February 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    aw such a great and cute post! I’ll have to remember to go back to this one day as i’m not entirely all there yet but these are some amazing tips 😉

    • Sara on February 26, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks–it is fun when you get there!

  21. Alyssa | Flaxseeds & Fairytales on February 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    This is such a sweet post! I’m not a grandparent, but what I remember most about my grandma is the traditions and memories she created with me when I was a kid. She put thought into our relationship and it stuck with me. Even as an adult, I still look back fondly on the time we spent together. I’m sure your grandchildren will feel the same way. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Sara on February 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I love hearing that kids do remember their grandparents!

  22. Kristeena on February 26, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    “Create things they can count on” This couldn’t be truer! MY grandparents have always made traditions. Whether it was sunday brunch, soccer games or yearly projects (building a doll house from scratch was my fave). I will cherish these memories forever.

    • Sara on February 26, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I love hearing that you cherish the memories! And I really like the idea of a yearly project. Thanks for the idea.

  23. Katie@MySweetHomeLife on February 12, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Awww you sound like an amazing grandparent. I think the idea about experiences is such a good one. My husband and I are doing this a little now with each other rather than acquiring more things we don’t need.

    • Sara on February 12, 2018 at 8:45 am

      Thanks!That’s a great idea for a post too–experiences–not more things. After my divorce, I started seeing “stuff” in a new way. Every time I move, I pare it down a little more. It’s very freeing to not be burdened anymore. And now I’m enjoying more experiences than ever.

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Sara | MyThinkBigLife.com

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.

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