Life Times Newsletter

May/June 2004
Vol. 6, No. 3

Spending quality time with grandchildren

Summer is a great time for grandparents to spend special one-on-one time connecting with their grandchildren.

Although I personally have not had the grandparenting experience yet, my children have wonderful memories of spending special times with two sets of grandparents. While sharing activities with grandparents, such as baking cookies, going to a movie, getting books at the library, working in the garden, or just taking a walk, they had many opportunities over the years to share and discuss opinions, feelings, and interests.

Some grandparents may have more time and money to do things they may not have been able to do as parents. All generations benefit from interactions and friendships between grandparents and grandchildren.

The greatest rewards for grandparents are the opportunities to share their love, enjoy a more active lifestyle and gain satisfaction from watching grandchildren learn and grow. Grandchildren benefit from experience, wisdom, unconditional love and acceptance, and many happy memories.

Here are some suggestions to help build relationships and create memories that both will cherish:

  • Spend as much time as you can together. If you donít live close together, be sure to phone, write, and e-mail as often as possible. Share photographs, videotapes, and audiotapes.
  • Be personal. Share opinions and feelings. Go for walks together, play games, read, and talk together. Respect each otherís choices and decisions.
  • Share family history. You may be surprised at the questions children will ask while looking through carefully-packed boxes of keepsakes from years gone by. They will probably want to know who all the people in the pictures are and how they are related. They might even make comments about the funny hairstyles and clothing styles. Children especially like to hear stories about how their own parents behaved as children, both good and bad.
  • Communicate your own needs to your grandchildren so they will learn to respect adults. Give them love, structure and, more importantly, set a good example.
  • Decide together on a project to do. Of course, keep in mind that it is age-appropriate so your grandchild will achieve success, not frustration. Possibilities are to assemble a jigsaw puzzle, learn to bake bread, plant a small garden, or complete a small sewing project.
  • Realize your grandchildís interests may change. Although Sesame Street might have been a favorite television show for a 4-year-old, a 9-year-old may consider it too "babyish." Parents should be able to tell you about new activities or hobbies. Show you are aware of your grandchildís efforts and are thinking about him/her by sending a note or e-mail with wishes of good luck before an event in which your grandchild is participating.
  • Now is a perfect time to begin building important grandparent/grandchild relationships. All children can benefit from positive adult influences, especially from people who will listen and try to understand them.

    Maudie Kelly, MS
    Human Development Specialist


    Return to the Life Times Newsletter main page

    University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller