Your baby is having a baby, and a lot has changed. Having a grandchild is adding another person to love in your family. Grandparents have seen a lot and learned a lot. Now's the time to share your family's unique history and enjoy precious moments with your grandchild. Below are some ideas to think about once that new bundle of joy arrives.
Make your home safe for your grandchildren. Young children are curious and don't understand what is dangerous, and keeping your eyes on your grandchild at all times is not enough. Besides putting all medicines, cleaning supplies, and other toxic substances out of reach, you should remove any breakables from the floor. If you have a sewing room or workshop, keep it off limits to your grandchildren.
If your grandchild is a frequent visitor, there are several easy-to-find and relatively inexpensive safety devices. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission developed a brochure highlighting ways to childproof your home. To find more information on preventing injuries and childproofing your home for your grandchild, visit safekids.org.
Stay in touch. Today, families may be scattered all over the country, but despite physical distance or busy schedules, you can still bond with your grandchildren. If you're lucky enough to have your grandchildren near, make efforts for regular visits and try to attend your grandchildren's activities as often as possible.
If your grandchildren live far away, use technology to stay in touch. You can reach out by telephone, email, write cards and letters, or send pictures to your grandchildren. Today's cameras often have a video-making tool. Record a video reading a favorite book or story and send it to your grandchildren. Camera shy? Then take a recording of just your voice reading to them. If you own a computer or Internet phone, video chat with your grandkids. If you're not comfortable with the technology, your local community college most likely offers classes that can teach you how to connect with family.
Start family traditions with the grandkids. As the grandparent, you have unique hobbies and activities that you can share with your grandchild. Whether it's cooking, bike riding, going to the park, gardening, or even golf, you can start a tradition that your grandchildren will enjoy their entire lives. Below are a few ideas to help get you started.
- If you enjoy writing, start a journal with your grandchild. When you share a day together, ask them what they would like to remember about their day, such as events, what you had for dinner, etc. Allow your grandchild to draw a picture and when your grandchild is old enough, they can take over the journal.
- Let your grandchild help in the garden. Kids love to play in dirt, and they will like to water the plants and watch them grow.
- If you love golf, share that with the grandkids! Start a tradition of grandparents golf camp, where you play on different courses, or even get a private lesson together.
- Tell your grandchildren stories about their parents when they were kids.
- Start a tradition where you purchase an outfit or pair of tennis shoes for the first day of school every year.
- If you enjoy bike riding, get a bike trailer and take your grandchild on rides. You'll be amazed at what they see, and it's a tradition that can be continued as they grow older.
- Are you a fantastic cook? Make a special birthday cake for your grandchild every year and be sure to take plenty of pictures. Let your grandchild help add ingredients to food or get items out of the fridge. They will learn a lot from your cooking and also feel a sense of accomplishment since they are helping out.
- Is your grandchild a budding artist? Create your own coloring pages if you can draw, or create things together that can go in their scrapbooks.
- Visit your local animal shelter together and play with animals. The kids and pets alike will love it!
- Bake cookies together and take them to the local fire station or veterinarian. Not only is this a great way to teach them the joys of giving and doing nice gestures, but it will also teach them about different career options.
- Start a holiday tradition and have your grandchildren help decorate your house.
- When having meals together, take turns sharing what you're thankful for.
Plan a family vacation. A family vacation is a great time to bond with your grandchildren, and your adult child will love having time with their significant other while you babysit the grandkids. There are many different websites where you can find discounts on hotels and airfare, especially if you buy in bulk. Even renting an RV for an extended weekend would be a great outing for the entire family, plus it would be relatively inexpensive. Just be sure to pack the s'mores.
Take family photos. Be a modern day historian and get family photos taken. Not only will you preserve memories, but you will be recording history. By taking family photos, your future generations will be able to see their genealogy unfold. Also, be sure to designate someone to take photos at events like family reunions and during the holidays.