• The Art of GrandLoving

Posted by: kidhelper on Saturday, June 18th, 2011

The Art of GrandLoving

I could hardly wait to become a grandparent. My four kids all married late. Most of my peers were already grandparents, so I thought the day would never come. I even found myself volunteering to be the grand parent for other people’s kids. Not long after our kids began getting married, the grand kids began to come. Our aspirations for grand parenting were finally realized. Now there are eight grand kids!

Managing our interests in the “grands” has become a part of our daily preoccupation. Two live very close us. Four are in Baltimore. Two are grown adults, both live in California.

So the day came when Benjamin first called me “Papa,” I just melted. Sharon soon was called “Nana,” and we officially felt like grandparents.

My wife easily became a very involved “Nana.” I am, on the other hand, was an “aspiring” grandfather. However, I have decided that I wanted to be more engaged and deliberate about being a grandpa, but it was this year, that I set out to figure out ways to have some monthly involvement with our “grands.” It is work!

So here are the Twelve Things I am doing to help me maintain some constant contact.

1. Trying to find something they are interested in that also engages my interest. i.e., camping, fishing, storytelling, reading, amusement parks, aquarium, camera, stamps, princess dresses, sports, and books.

2. Working at giving quality age-appropriate gifts that enhances their learning, but is unique from me to give—maybe something that their parents might not buy, i.e., Swing set, stamp collection, magic trick, puppets, wagon, Lincoln logs, nice dolls, hot wheels, princess clothes.

3. Being sure we plan trips to visit with some regularity—not long visits, Friday to Monday. Don’t want our visits to wear thin. But you really can catch up in that amount of time.

4. Exploring things that only I can do with them individually. I desire to have a personal one on one relationship with each grandchild. This is easier for me as they get older. This is the goal.

5. I am watching them to find anything that I can encourage or relate to that interests them. Music, reading, art, storytelling, playing, writing, cars, dolls,

6. There should be some things that are at our home that they would not find in their own home, so coming here is special for them.

7. Provide a “collection” box for each grandchild. This a special box to keep anything that I give them from my travels overseas. i.e., foreign stamps, foreign coins and currency, postcards and special momentos.

8. Working at sending them things in the mail, a package, a postcard, letter, a gift anything that that increases my connection with them.

9. I remind them every time I see them that I love them. I use the words…”I love you.” Or I might teasingly ask… “who loves you?” or Did I ever tell you that “I love you?”

10. Praying for them with Sharon. I want them all to know the Savior early. I will to have opportunities to speak about spiritual things. I want them to know that I will pray for them.

11. All the boys will get a Tool Box for Christmas with a few tools. Every year I will give them another tool. So by the time they have a car or graduate and leave home, they will have a toolbox with tools from Papa.

12. Be especially involved in birthdays, and Christmas to build memories of involvement.

We want to give things that are unique and age appropriate, so we have to be involved to know.

Challenge: Gather grandparents to resource them on how to be more involved with their grandkids. This might be quarterly meeting.

1. Brainstorm how to stay engaged with distant grandkids or close grandkids.

2. Recommend that grand parents get the book Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren, Johnson & Carlson

3. Encourage them to share ideas that are currently working for them to be more involved.

4. Discuss how they are influencing their grandchildren spiritually. How is this working?

5. Offering to have some prayer time for their grandchildren and their influence with them.

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