This Grandma’s Top Ten Grandma Tips in Honor of Grandparents’ Day

This Grandma’s Top Ten Grandma Tips in Honor of Grandparents’ DayThis Grandma’s mantra is that grandparenting should be all joy and no responsibility. Here are this Grandma’s top ten tips on grandparenting in honor of Grandparent’s Day:

  1. NEVER SAY NO.

Never say no to your grandchildren. Never say no to the parents of your grandchildren. Everyone remembers a no. And if a no is about to come out of your mouth: Distract. Don’t answer. Avoid the no at all costs. We do not immediately have to say yes to everything. If you get absolutely stuck, say “let me think about it and get back to you.” We can always think of an alternative that is a win-win.

What this really does is give the parents of your grandchildren the security of knowing you will always be there for them. Remember how hard parenting is? Everyone can use a helping hand.

If it is a safety issue, of course, the grandchildren must know that you will stay no. If it is a discipline issue, I say “freeze,” and tell the grandchild I must go to get a parent. We both start laughing and the issue is gone. What this really does is let the grandchildren know you will always be there for them too.

  1. PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST.

After all, it contains all the food groups. And grandchildren will always eat pizza. We buy pizza pies and freeze individual slices to microwave at a moment’s notice when our grandchildren are visiting.

Or anything else they crave at any time. Spoil to grandma’s delight with food—unless there is an issue such as an allergy or parents’ weight or other concern for the child. After all, a balanced diet is not our responsibility. Remember, grandparenting should be all joy and no responsibility.

  1. DESSERT FIRST.

This Grandma always offers dessert first. Why not? We are on earth to spoil our grandchildren. The parents of our grandchildren have discovered that the grandchildren eat everything on their plates when they have dessert first and tried to steal this idea. No way. I am talking a little dessert first, a small ice cream cup or a small bag of M & Ms.—and more dessert after the grandchild finishes their food.

  1. OBEY THE RULES OF THE PARENTS OF THE GRANDCHILDREN

The parents of our grandchildren control access. Access is most important to a grandparent. Learn quickly what is most important to the parents of the grandchildren and obey those rules. Otherwise, what they don’t know, won’t hurt them.

  1. LET YOUR GRANDCHILDREN NAME YOU.

This Grandma tried to teach the oldest grandchild to say “grandma’ when he was eighteen months old. It came out ‘Mema,” and Mema I am.  I have since met many other ‘memas.” My name is special to me because my grandson could refer to me at eighteen months old by name. The next grandchildren called me ‘MiMi” for a while because they wanted to name me too. It is wonderful to be loved.

  1. HAVE YOUR SIGNATURE.

A signature is what the grandchild will always associate with you               , a repetitive ritual or tradition that is yours and the grandchild’s. A signature can be a visit present when you see the grandchild. You might have a signature candy or cookie you bring with you when you visit the grandchildren. Hide it in places they can find it when you are gone. Bake cookies when you are with them. They will always remember. This Grandma has small packages of M & Ms with me all the time.

A signature can be an activity of yours which you share with the grandchild. I have done yoga with my grandchildren since they were born, first with them looking up as I did ‘downward dog” over them and now when we do the tree pose or an inversion together.   I play bingo on the I Pad with two of my grandchildren, and their apps when I am with them too.

A signature can be participating in their activity—taking them to sports or watching their sports. I know a grandpa who never misses a game as his grandchildren pay sports. They remember this signature.

A signature can be an activity you teach your grandchild, whether it is needlepoint, or tennis, or cooking, or reading. . . .or a special hug or ritual whenever you see them. . . .or something they teach you. . . .

and, all of the above and more.

  1. BE THE GRANDMA ON THE FLOOR.

What this means is go to the level of the grandchild. When they were newborns, I lay flat on the floor looking at them, face to face, at the wonder of their being. If they are on the floor, I am on the floor. Is that why I was the first person whose arms they crawled in!

Now you might find me on the couch playing video games with them or in bed watching their favorite television shows together. When we are together their time is my time and my time is their time. Even a supermarket visit can turn into a game or adventure.

  1. CREATE MEMORIES.

All of us remember rituals and traditions more than hours or minutes of the day we might spend together. Sharing holidays with grandchildren is the best. Plan outings, whether to the zoo, or museum or movies.

However it works for your lifestyle or family structure, think how to create memories that get passed down through the generations. Expand their horizons, and yours.

This grandma plans family long weekends every other year with the entire family. Then, I do a Shutterfly book memorializing the vacation. We have taken our grandchildren to New York City alone, stayed in and showed them Times Square, and toured places that became special to us alone.

For a holiday present each year, I give each grandchild a photo album of their year in pictures. Their parents have lots of digital pictures, but the album is treasured, tattered and viewed often, knowing that this Grandma made it with love.

And we can create good memories of their childhood for them by keeping their parents’ marriage strong—watch the grandchildren for 24 hours or a weekend quarterly to keep the intimate connection between their parents.

  1. EMBRACE THE INTERNET

Grandpa and I had the very first black and white telephone-video contraption on the market, Beamer TV, and we still have it—in a drawer. Skype is okay but when the grandchildren are active, it is problematic. Facetime is amazing. We have shown our grandchildren storms and sunsets in Florida, or just called to see their faces and hear their voices. We have watched them at recitals and events. The parents of our grandchildren are constantly sharing photographs and videos we keep on our electronics to view again and again.

We have gotten all of our grandchildren’s favorite apps on our electronics so they can play their favorite games. And we are finding our mutual favorites, such as playing Words With Friends with our eight year old granddaughter.

The best is when the grandchild teaches me something new that I did not know before about my electronics. Ask the grandchild to teach you about the I pad. They know everything – starting as toddlers!

And this Grandma’s absolute favorite is when they give my I Pad or I Phone back to me with their newest selfie as my wallpaper.   I still have no clue how they do this.

New apps make great visit presents—inexpensive and immediate gratification. Just make sure they are age appropriate. I like to check with the parents and the resource they also consider informative and conservative: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

  1. BE THE MEANING OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

I love how the grandchildren light up and run toward us with open arms and hugs when we see them. How lucky are we to be around to share the life of the next generation! We are living longer and healthier. I never had grandparents being the child of Holocaust survivors. The love I feel for these four grandchildren goes deep to my soul. Yes, I tell them I love them to infinity and beyond. . . .and I do, with unbelievable

 

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

 

 

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