Truth be told, I’m not a grandparent. But my kids have some AMAZING ones. So, when my neighbor mentioned that there’s nothing on Pinterest about grandparenting, I went to work. I interviewed several grandparents (including my parents and my mother-in-law) and asked them how to be a good grandparent.
How to be a good grandparent in a nutshell
- Love them unconditionally
- Start an electronics basket
- Make a story time sock puppet
- Learn how to connect virtually
- Hire your grandkids to earn some money
- Be open to babysitting
- Leave disciplining to the parents
- Focus on one-on-one time
- Mail special birthday cards
- Say “Yes” when you get invited
- Baby-proof your house
- Look at them in the eyes
- Schedule a game night
- Spoil them like crazy
- Host a Lego play date
- Host a cooking or mani/pedi date
- Don’t forget about Grandpa
- Give an open invitation to Sunday dinner
- Make family vacations a priority
- Attend extracurricular activities
#1: Love them unconditionally
This one almost goes without saying. But none of your grandkids need a critic, they need a grandparent to love them no matter what!
#2: Start an electronics basket
Two of my neighbors have an electronics basket inside their front door. ALL of their grandkids (and kids) know that when they walk into their grandparent’s house, cell phones go in the basket. Set the expectation. You’ll only have a couple of hissy fits and then they get over it.
#3: Make a story time sock puppet
Reading books with your grand kids is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do. My neighbor took it a step further and made a sock puppet named Freddy. Her grand kids ask for a story from Freddy every time they come over. She even uses Freddy on Skype to tell stories to her grandkids who live out of state. Check out this post on how to make your own sock puppet or you can just buy one here.
#4: Learn how to connect virtually
If you don’t know what Skype, Marco Polo, FaceTime or Google Duo are, then you need to get with the program. These are apps that will help you stay connected to your grandkids. They are video calling apps.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, you need a Smart phone ASAP. Then you can log into Facebook and Instagram. If you don’t know how to do that, just ask one of your grandkids.
#5: Hire your grandkids to earn some money
I can’t tell you how many weeds I pulled working in the yard for my grandparents. They taught me the importance of hard work, plus I got to earn money. It’s a great excuse to see your grandkids more often and they’ll thank you for it later.
#6: Be open to babysitting
Last year, my husband and I went on a trip to France for 10 days. So, who watched our four kids that whole time? Yep, you guessed it, grandma and grandpa! It may be hard and very tiring to watch your grandkids overnight but your children will be incredibly grateful and your grandkids will love you even more. I mean what kid doesn’t love a sleepover at grandmas?
#7: Leave disciplining to the parents
My mother-in-law said this one best. “You don’t have to be the mom. Just be the grandma. Let your mothers do the disciplining. You just get to love them.”
#8: Focus on one-on-one time
Sometimes when you have too many grand kids with you, you end up being a referee. Instead, try spending time with your grandkids one-on-one, especially during the teenage years.
#9: Mail special birthday cards
Kids LOVE mail (especially mail from a grandparent). So, even if your grand kids live next door, mail them a birthday card and slip in some money. That one simple thing will mean the world to them. Check out this post and this post on ideas for some homemade birthday cards.
#10: Say “yes” when you get invited
So, you can’t make it to the birthday party for your grandson. No big deal. But it only takes hearing the word “no” a few times and your kids will stop calling. Just prioritize. Is that calendar item more important than spending time with your grandkids? You decide.
#11: Baby-proof your house
My mom is wonderful at making her home welcoming to all of her grandchildren. The bottom drawer in her kitchen is filled with toys and her basement is catered to all things kids. The trick is to not freak out when your grand kids stand on the couch or spill a cup of water on the carpet. There are worse things. Just remember, you want them to come back.
#12: Look them in the eyes
Nothing says “I love you” more than 100 percent of your undivided attention. Pause, look them in the eyes and just listen every time you see them.
#13: Schedule a game night
Once a month, try to schedule a night with one of your children and his or her family. Pull all the board games out of the cupboard and have fun. Here’s 17 board games perfect for toddlers, if you need some ideas.
#14: Spoil them like crazy
I don’t give my kids gum. But, when my kids are with grandma, let get all the gum that they want. It’s like the saying goes, “The world needs Grandmas ‘cuz grandkids aren’t going to spoil themselves.”
#15: Host a Lego playdate
Every grandparent with grandsons needs a huge box of random Legos. Those boys need something to play with when they come over! Better yet, buy a small box of Legos for each of your grandsons and invite them over to have a Lego playdate. But most importantly, sit down and play Legos with them. Click here for some fun Lego party ideas.
#16: Host a cooking or mani-pedi playdate
Do you remember Glamour Shots? Well, I do, because my grandma took me and my cousin and sister there. We looked like we stepped out of a 80s music video and it was totally awesome. You can get a kids cooking kit and try some new recipes or pull out the spa kit and have a girls night. They will love it.
#17: Remember grandpa
Don’t worry Grandpa. We love you. Just make sure that Grandma doesn’t get all of the attention. You gotta work for that love.
#18: Give open invitations to Sunday dinner
Wherever there is free, home cookin’ the grandkids will follow. Sunday just wouldn’t be Sunday without dinner as a family.
#19: Make family vacations a priority
Every year, our family goes to Yellowstone. My days spends 11 months of the year planning fun activities for the grand kids specifically for our family vacation. He never fails to impress either. It means so much to our kids. These are the memories our kids will always hold close to their hearts.
#20: Go to the sports games and extracurricular activities
Call your kids right now and ask them for all of the schedules of all your grandkids extracurricular activities. Then show up.
What other ideas do you have for being an AMAZING grandparent? Leave your comments below.
Related article: Top 10 Unique Mom Must-Haves for mom and baby