The Coolest Grandparent
We are going through withdraw.
We spent 4 weeks in Ohio visiting family this summer. That means spoiled by grandparents. Two little girls were completely spoiled with what grandparents call “we don’t get to see them that often so they can have whatever they want.” Two parents were completely spoiled with—are you ready for this—date nights! Although we love living in Florida, one of the downfalls is no family around to babysit. So even my hubby and I got spoiled by grandparents because we
dumped took the kids to papa and nana’s and got to go to dinner. Alone. With no kids. (I actually ate my food while it was hot!)
So needless to say, we all miss Grandma Tese, Nana, and Papa!
So in honor of far-away grandparents, here is an article I’ve written that was originally published in ParentLife Magazine.
The Coolest Grandparent
Now more than ever, grandparents are cooler, trendier, and more youthful acting! With today’s kids being raised in a tech-savvy, digital age, grandparents have to be on their toes to stay involved with grandkids.
It’s Cool to be Grand
The modern grandparent is interested in keeping up with whatever her grandchild is involved in. Be a groovy grandparent with these tips.
- Be involved. According to an AARP survey, over half of grandparents live 200 miles or more away from their grandchildren. If you live close to your grandchildren, take advantage of the opportunities to be together: attend their soccer games and school plays, go out for ice cream dates, catch a Saturday matinee movie, start Friday night slumber parties at your house, plan a monthly Wii bowling competition, or join a yoga or Tae-Kwon-Do class.
- Learn something new. We are living in a very high-tech world, which can seem daunting for many adults. Toddlers are learning how to use cell phones and computers before they can even walk! But instead of being intimidated, take on the challenge of learning all the new technology along with your grandchild. Ask your grandchild to teach you how to text with your cell phone or how to download pictures on your digital camera to share on Facebook. Learn together how to safely use the Internet to email, shop online, download music, video devotionals, or your church’s sermon series, and even keep up with the latest news and sports scores. Introduce yourself to the variety of gaming systems available, such as the Nintendo Wii to learn a new sport that every member of the family can enjoy.
- Don’t forsake the traditional. Even though grandparents may seem “cooler” than years past, the traditional grandparenting activities are still important to enjoy with your grandchild. Treasure time together baking cookies or cooking an old family recipe. Go fishing on a hot summer day, teach your grandchild how to play chess or checkers, or learn how to knit a family quilt from old blankets or t-shirts. Even though today’s kids are used to a fast-paced lifestyle, it is also good for them to slow down and learn to respect and honor family heritage and traditions.
- Connect over the miles. If your grandchildren live far away, don’t despair. There is still so much to do together to keep in touch. Renew the lost art of letter writing and become your grandchild’s pen pal. Buy an inexpensive web camera for your computer and learn to Skype (free video calling) with your far-away family. Challenge your grandchildren to a game of Scrabble on Facebook. For an infant or toddler, record her favorite books on an audio tape and mail it to her for goodnight stories. Start a picture diary with your grandchild by emailing a picture everyday with a short description of what you did. Learn how to watch videos of your grandchild’s swim meet or golf tournament on YouTube.
Grammy or Nana? Papa or Pops?
Choosing your “grandparenting name” is a tough decision! The average age of first-time grandparents is younger than in years past: 50 for grandmothers and 54 for grandfathers. So many grandparents want a name that sounds a little more youthful and a little less elderly!
Think about these options for your grandparent name:
- Traditional: There’s nothing wrong with the traditional names of Grandma/Grandpa or Papa/Nana.
- Cultural: Choose a name from your heritage, such as Babcia (Polish) or Nonna (Italian).
- Trendy: You can be ultra-hip by choosing G-Daddy or G-Mama.
- Location: You can distinguish grandparents by where they live. One set of grandparents is Grandma and Grandpa MiMi (because they live in Michigan) and another set is Papa Flo and Nana Flo (because they live in Florida).
- Original: Make something up! Combine your first name, such as KatieGram. Or be silly and use Grand Dude!
Long-distance or nearby; old-fashioned, traditional, or modern … whatever type of grandparent you are, you can be involved in your grandchildren’s life. Being an involved grandparent makes you a cool grandparent!
©2011- 2012 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.