The joy of being a grandparent comes with a lot of stuff.
If a new grandchild spends extended time at your home, begin with items a baby needs, such as a high chair, car seat and bathtub. As the baby grows, you can start accumulating toys. Then there is the fun of giving them things they really want for their birthdays and other holidays.
Here are ideas to help you foster a good relationship with your grandchildren without all the stuff.
Your own childhood adventures can be entertaining and educational for your grandchildren. Sharing your stories gives kids an opportunity for a lesson in listening, asking questions and learning from others. If your grandkids keep asking for the same story, consider creating a journal. This will be something they will treasure and can share with their children and grandchildren.
Teach them a skill
Life skills are important, and learning them from a grandparent can be more fun than a parent. Any life skill that you have the patience to teach will be beneficial. Not only will the grandkids become more independent, they also will develop stronger self-esteem.
Share a hobby
Do you bake? Play tennis? Or maybe do woodworking? We all have a hobby that we can teach children. Spend time sharing the fine art of your craft or sport. You never know what a little exposure might inspire.
As we age, we tend to have more time to give back to our community. Exposing kids to the experience of community service is a good thing, especially if you share why you give your time to an organization or a cause.
Give them experiences
Most kids don’t need another toy or article of clothing. When it’s time to give a gift, consider experiences. Movies, the zoo, ice skating and Broadway shows are all experiences that kids love. You might even consider a monthly outing with your grandchild, for the sake of bonding and making memories together.
Be a minimalist
You have the hindsight and wisdom to help your grandchildren identify what’s really important. Simplify your life so you spend less time maintaining the stuff and more time nurturing family relationships. You could be just the inspiration your grandchildren and children need to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of the Momaha Magazine.