I was the youngest Grandma-in-Training ever
Growing up I always wanted to be a grandma. Really? Yep. I never dreamed of being a mom. Sure, I played house, loved baby dolls and all that jazz, but what I envisioned was being a grandmother. I had two super grandmas that I adored. I wanted to unlock the magic before my grandchildren’s eyes like they did for me. They made being a grandmother look so fun and easy, always full of smiles, games, projects and treats. My Grandma R had little pie tins for us to make our own pies alongside her. She had a super fabric scrap pile for us to explore while she sewed us something fantastic. Grandma B had THE candy dish, made our favorite foods and took us to BINGO night. I’ve been in Grandmother Training ever since, hoarding memories to share, squirreling away activities, just plain being fun and staying young. I’m in big trouble if my son never has children., I guess I’ll settle for putting the ‘great’ in ‘Great-Aunt.’
Tips for the Field Trip Grandparent
Today I’m a little older, but I’m still in training. Now my parents are my teachers. Here’s what I’ve learned in training.
- Have maps on the walls at kids’ eye-level. So much time spent in front of those maps talking about where we live, where relatives live in relation to us, where grandpa served in the Air Force, where our great, great, great grandparents emigrated from, our travel routes and so much more.
- Get active with your grandchild.
- Put a spin on things. If you said, “Look kiddo, we’re going to do hard work and get chores done together” or “We’re going to go on an hour-long ‘hike’ and only cover 15 feet” what kind of response would you get? Much better to ask for help on a “project” or say you’re going on a hunt for elusive insects.
- Be there to give your child a break. There have been a couple of days when P was in the Terrible Two’s and Three’s that I practically pushed my son out the car door as I drove by my parents’ house. I kid, but sometimes a break is good. By giving your kids a break when times are tough and saving their sanity you’re ensuring your grandchildren aren’t scarred for life.
- Share an interest with them. Especially if it’s an interest your children don’t share with you. My mom, bless her heart, has all the musical instruments at their house. She taught P how to drum in a drum circle kind of way when he was very little. Bonus: I didn’t go bonkers listening to tambourines, drums, shakers and triangles.
- Turn off the television. The only time the TV is on while P is at my parents’ house is when he’s too sick and miserable to do anything else (or when the Packers play). Things start to happen when you unplug.
- Be still. Listen to all the sounds around you, talk about your childhood or your children’s childhood.
- Read together. Read aloud to each other or read your own books in the same room. Just read.
See anything in common with all these posts? Not only are Grand Grandparents good to their grandchildren, but they’re also good to their children. If their children are paying attention they’ll find they’re already enrolled in Grandparent Training 101. I’ve been in training 38 years now. Just a couple more decades to go!