Spending quality time with grandchildren is as rewarding to you as it is to them. As you’re planning things you can do together over the warmer spring and summer months, think about how you can take your bonding experiences to the next level that will both deepen your relationship and build a sense of legacy. Try these activities:
Pick an Age When You Take Each Grandchild On a Special Trip
The trip can be a quick overnight or day trip to a nearby city or fun town, or it can be more elaborate, like a European country. The key element is the age you pick—is it 10 or 12? (Ages 8 through 13 are considered ideal travel ages among travel-blogging families. For one thing, kids don’t seem to struggle with jet lag starting at age 10.) The age you pick takes on a certain magical status. Each of your grandchildren will look forward to this trip, and the bonding during the trip will create indelible memories.
Teach Your Grandchild a Game
Teaching your grandchild a game that you love, and especially a complicated game, is a valuable legacy-building and bonding experience. It can be a card game or a board game, like chess or backgammon. The wisdom you pass on, the laughs, the concentration and thrill of victory—all are elements that create lasting memories, deepen your relationship, and cultivate respect.
Create an Annual Event like Going to the Ball Game or a Play
Your grandchild will look forward to a fun event that doubles as an educational opportunity. Maybe your granddaughter doesn’t know the finer points of your favorite sporting event. Maybe she doesn’t know how much you love to discuss the layers of meaning in a play. What a great outing and backdrop for enriching conversation.
Record Each Other Telling Life Stories
Each of you can ask five questions about life so far and record each other’s answers using a simple mobile device. Go a step further and create an iMovie to watch with the whole family.
Create a Photo Book
With sites like Shutterfly or Walgreens, you can easily create a photo book that highlights your relationship with your grandchild. These beautifully produced scrapbooks are a treasure to cherish for years to come. Be sure to choose a theme, and then curate the images around that theme. The theme might be “Grandma’s Joy” or “Johnny’s Favorites.” Build variety into the book by including landscapes, candid shots, and photos with quirky details. Online photo websites will guide you through the simple steps to take to create your book.
Create a Movie Club
Pick a night once a month where each takes a turn picking a movie. Choose your movie wisely, so that your grandchild knows why it’s important to you—e.g. your favorite movie as a child or as a teenager, or a movie that captures an era you’d like to pass on and teach to your grandchild.
Start Giving Your “Stuff” Away
Instead of waiting for inheritance time to share your special possessions with your grandchild, give away these things early to enjoy your grandchild’s reaction. Choose items that gave you joy at some point in your life and then explain to your grandchild why. You’ll get to enjoy your grandchild’s gratitude as well as his/her growing sense of legacy by safeguarding something special to you.
There are so many ways to create meaningful and memorable experiences with your grandchildren. Your grandchildren will appreciate the thoughtfulness of your activity planning and it will give you something to look forward to as you plan each new adventure.