Whether you live five minutes or 500 miles away, your grandchildren are so lucky to have you in their lives and so lucky that you want to be such a strong presence in their lives. And, they want you to be present in their lives.
Here are five tips on how to make this happen.*
1. Learn how to text and send your grandchild a short, loving message each day. (and, do note that smartphones have a “microphone” function, whereby you can say what you want to say out loud, and it will automatically type it into a text message.)
2. Get on Facebook. That is where you will find your grandchildren most often. (Type their name into the search box to find and go straight to their pages.)
3. Watch your grandchild’s school website. Look at the announcements. Read the section for parents. Watch for upcoming events.
4. Get a subscription to the school newspaper, or sign up for the school enewsletter, so you can keep up with what is going on at school.
5. Read what they are reading in English, such as A Tale of Two Cities, so you can discuss the book with them. Ask them what they are studying in History and Science and share your knowledge and expertise. Get a conversation going on those topics. Ask them what they find interesting and shy. Ask them about their teachers.
This is a tremendous opportunity for you to continue to be an important and prominent person in their lives. Even though they start to run around more and get more busy and have more activities and have more things going on, they are spending more time with friends and less time at home, they need your wisdom. They need you to be present in their lives. You have life experience to share with them and they need it. They value what you have to say even if they might not tell you so. They hear you.
You are such an important person in their life. Stay connected and don’t give up.
*These are from a longer handout at the launch of “Grandparents Connection” at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, IL. For this program I worked with administrators at the high school to set up regular, ongoing programs (e.g. Grandparent Orientation at the beginning of the year); a newsletter for grandparents written by the students, and more. The program is now expanding to elementary and middle schools, as well as to other organizations. Please feel free to contact me for tips if you’d like to set this up for your school.