The relationship between grandparent and grandchild is precious in so many different ways. But how well do we really know them?
Today’s kids might find it hard to believe that their grandparents (and likely even you) grew up without common luxuries like smart phones, laptops, and GPS. This generational divide, coupled with distance and time, can make it a little harder for your kids to connect with your parents. But it can also serve as a great conversation-starter and relationship-builder.
As we celebrate Grandparents Day, we felt the timing was perfect to put together a list of ideas that will help your kids bridge the generational gap and make meaningful connections with their grandparents—and even you with your own grandparents.
Grandma and Grandpa 101
What better way to get to know Grandma and Grandpa than a one-on-one interview? Have your kids think of questions they’ve always wanted to know about their grandparents, and encourage them to ask about their lives as kids.
While one’s life history certainly can never fit into a single discussion, these questions may very well spark some ideas to get your grandparents talking about one special era of their life, whether it be childhood dreams, school experiences, or becoming parents and grandparents.
• What did you want to be when you grew up?
• Did you have a nickname?
• Who was your childhood best friend?
• What kinds of games did you play growing up? Did you have a favorite toy?
• What is your favorite song?
• How did you two meet?
These simple questions can be not only a lot of fun, but informative and eye-opening as well.
You could even help your kiddos turn this activity into a mini project by documenting each question and answer and decorating a scrapbook full of photos and memories. (Hint: this would make a great gift for the grandparents!)
Visit the Old Stomping Grounds
Our hometowns are very much a part of who we are today. Although they grow and change, we can still find parts of ourselves in familiar places.
Have your parents give your kids a glimpse into what their childhood was like. If your mom and dad’s hometowns are relatively local, have them take your kids on a car ride to where they grew up. This could be a drive by their respective childhood homes, stopping for a bite to eat at their favorite restaurant, or seeing where they used to hang out.
Pen Pal Project
We may be biased, but we think handwriting cards and letters is still alive and well. Sure, texting is great, but cards and letters give us something tangible to hold on to and cherish for years. (And who doesn’t love getting snail mail from someone special?)
Have your child start writing letters to Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe each letter or card exchange follows a theme. For example, each of you has to describe your dream vacation—where it’d be, who you’d go with, and what you’d do.
Another fun variation of this idea is to create a bundle of Open When cards. Both grandparents and grandkids will look forward to opening cards with personalized messages throughout the year.
Video Chat Dates
Schedules fill up and distance can keep us from seeing our loved ones as often as we’d like. Keep the lines of communication open by scheduling a weekly video chat date between your kid(s) and their grandparents. Just like the pen pal idea, these chats can have a different theme each week, or they can use it as a chance just to catch up.
They say cooking feeds the soul, but you don’t need to be Julia Child to appreciate spending some quality time in the kitchen. Cooking with someone you love is a great way to make lasting memories, so grab an apron and whip up your favorite recipes with your grandma or grandpa.
Is there a recipe he or she loves most? A meal they especially enjoy making? Swap ideas or even experiment with different ingredients to come up with a new recipe that’s completely your own.
Keeping Their Memory Alive
If you or your children no longer have grandparents, consider doing something to honor their memory, whether it’s thumbing through an old photo album, recounting your favorite stories of them, or quietly remembering them in a spot they once loved.
No matter how your children nurture their relationship with their grandparents, it’s vital that they (and you) seize the opportunity while they can. Quality time, good communication, and love are what it’s all about!