Being a grandparent is a wonderful thing; you get to explore the world with your grandkids and connect with another generation of your family. Though you must respect the rules the parents set down, you aren’t responsible for parenting any longer, which means your role is a lot more fun this time around. But life gets busy, and sometimes you don’t see your grandkids as often as you would like. That’s why setting aside time for special activities for just you and they are so important.
Cook Something Special
Share a family recipe with your grandkids by going through all the steps it takes to prepare it. Make a trip to the grocery store and have them help you choose the ingredients. When you get to the kitchen, give kids age-appropriate cooking tasks as you explain to them how the recipe works and how all the ingredients fit together. When you’re done, the meal will be extra special because you created it together.
For families without a cooking gene, you can still have fun in the kitchen. Go to the store and pick out a box of cake, brownie, or cookie mix. Have some fun making an easy dessert together. It might not have been passed down for generations, but it’ll sure be great to eat together.
Put Down the Devices
Designate device-free family time, and have everyone turn their smartphones on silent. Leave them in a different room or put them in a drawer. That way, everyone focuses on conversation and activities, not on flashing screens and text notifications.
Another way to keep technology from interfering with family time is by using T-Mobile’s tutorial for blocking calls on a smartphone. When you return a call to a number you don’t recognize, you could be calling back a spammer. They often use people calling them back to verify that someone owns that phone number. They then sell your phone number so telemarketers and others can call you to pester you. Block your number before you return calls so you control who has your number.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Plan an outing to enjoy nature with your grandkids. Take a walk to a favorite playground a few blocks away, or hop in the car and drive to a nature preserve or park outside of town. If your grandkids are interested in nature, this is a great opportunity to collect leaves and look at wildlife. Bring a pair of binoculars so you both get a closer look at birds and other tree-dwellers.
A day trip to a lake or the beach is another fun activity if you live near water. Buy a ride on a ferry or hire someone to take you out for a few hours on a sail boat.
Make a Video Call Date
Not all families live near each other. If you don’t have the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together, make sure you don’t lose touch. Set aside a time once every two weeks or once a month for a video call with your grandchildren. Get creative with what you do on the call; you can both play the same online game against each other, you could read to them from a book, or have them show you what they brought to school for show and tell.
Between video calls, stay in touch by sending texts, letters, cards, or emails. Even something small, like a funny picture of a cat, lets your grandkids know that you’re thinking about them, and it keeps you in their thoughts as well. It may not be the same kind of quality time, but interacting through technology is still special.
Other things you can do include volunteering to babysit and seeing your grandkids perform in extracurricular activities. As you remember from having kids of your own, children grow up very fast, so get as much time with your grandkids as you can. This way you can teach them important things, start new traditions, and overall just have a blast.