Activities for Grandparents
to do with their own Grandchildren
(or someone else's)
Activities and Sharing your Talents
- Spend time with your own grandchildren, or someone else’s. Offer to rock your neighbor’s babies.
- Make a family calendar with birthdays, anniversaries, family activities, etc.
- Send postcards from places you visit.
- Make special items, like quilts, for each grandchild, allowing them to help.
- Plan family reunions and activities so that children will learn that they have many family members who care about them.
- When you are with the children, do certain things like puzzles, playing games, reading to them, flying kites, baking…
- Attend children’s activities—recitals, school activities, church programs, and games; and they will know you care and are proud of them.
- Help children with crafts.
Kids fall in love with crafts, because it’s so different from what they
do today with much of their time in front of TV and computers.
- Share your talents
and skills with your grandchildren—gardening, sewing, music,cooking,
repairing things. "The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an
elderly person." Andy Rooney
- Teach your grandchildren to knit/crochet.
It has a calming effect and boost to fine-motor skills. It’s
comforting, something quiet and peaceful for them to do. Once they are
proficient, they will like to chat as their hands fly. This is a great
parent-child activity, where they can hang out together and each can
work on a project geared to his or her own ability. Age 6 is generally
the age kids’ hand-eye coordination improves enough to manipulate
needles. Finger knitting and simple crocheting are also easy ways to
start. Children can crochet chain stitches into rings and bracelets,
sometimes stringing them with beads. Bright, textured contemporary
yarns appeal to young fans.
Kids fall in love with crafts,
because it’s so different from what they do today with computers. This
is a portable craft which can improve children’s concentration. A
focused activity with their hands helps kids with their restless
energy. Schools can include this in their after-school enrichment
programs. They are learning a lifelong skill they can fall back on when
times get rough or they are stressed. It’s also a great brain
exercise, requiring the use of both hands at the same time; and it helps
students with second and third dimensional spatial relationships, as
well as pattern recognition and sequencing.
- When you visit your grandchildren, make a point of visiting their schools, attending their activities and meeting their friends.
- School Volunteering. Volunteer in your grandchildren’s schools, if possible.
- Back to School.
Prepare a special sleepover or breakfast for Back-to-School, and
discuss the importance of doing your best, preparing for college, being
honest and not cheating, choosing good friends, talking to your parents
about each school day, saying “no” to drugs, proper relationships with
Expect Good Behavior
- Expect good behavior and respect from grandchildren.
- Don’t spoil your grandchildren by giving them everything they want.
- Teach children social skills and manners.
- Give your daughter and granddaughters pictures of their grandmothers, and encourage them to also live an honorable life with integrity. (Do the same for your boys)
- Record your own voice reading, telling a story, or singing a song.
- Start a family newsletter or family web site.
- Promote family reunions so children will learn that many family members care about them.
- Assemble a family cookbook, including recipes from the children.
- "Research shows that children who know where they came from
are more resilient, according to research. They are able to handle
problems, do better in school and better socially, because they know
they are part of something larger than themselves," said Helen
Jackson Graham, English professor. Helen is the Houston area Freedmen's
Bureau coordinator, and has 20 years of experience in African American
genealogical research. Nurture the interest and collaboration of
genealogical and family history research. Linking to other families
sometimes brings you right back around to your own family. Help
children recover their historical memory. Help them recognize they are
part of one human family. Help them discover who they are, where they
came from, discover their family stories, and to feel connected and
bound to their families through generations. (Source: Reuniting the
Black Family: Volunteers Index Freedmen's Bureau Records, by Linda
Talbot, LDS Church News, November 4, 2015)
- Children with learning disabilities
who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face
challenges." (Source: "The Stories That Bind Us," by Sara Duke
(psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities), The
New York Times, March 2013)
Holidays and Birthdays
- Don’t expect your children and grandchildren to spend all of their holidays and vacations with you. Allow them to establish their own family traditions and memories.
- Make a family calendar with birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Remember each child
on special occasions with cards, notes, and phone calls, recognizing
their talents and unique abilities. Express your love, appreciation,
and faith in them.
- On special occasions, take your grandchildren to the Dollar Store and let them pick out their own gifts, or choose gifts for their cousins.
- Birthdays - Hold an un-Birthday party when all grandchildren are together, with games, cake, and candles.
- Thanksgiving –
Invite all the grandchildren to your home the night before Thanksgiving
for a sleepover. Help the children make cookies for the table the next
day. Do a service project with the children on Thanksgiving Day, to
show our real thanks.
- Christmas -
Read the nativity story on Christmas Eve. Provide a living nativity
with costumes and food. Invite your children’s in-laws if they live
- Invite your grandchildren to a sleepover
at your home, where they bring sleeping bags and sleep on the floor
under the Christmas tree. This will allow their parents time to shop
for gifts. Prior to going to sleep, ask the children to share Christmas
stories and thoughts, and sing their favorite Christmas songs and
- Allow grandchildren to open one gift Christmas Eve–possibly a gift you made for each of them.
- Make or purchase special tree ornaments for the children.
- Treat each child as
an individual by doing something special with each one. When
grandchildren visit, ask them to do something with you to help you;
then, do things the child wants to do.
- Help each grandchild feel safe and loved in your presence.
- Send personal letters
and birthday cards to grandchildren, expressing your love, appreciation
and faith in them, and recognizing their unique talents and abilities.
people write and mail letters anymore. Write to each individual
grandchild and leave them something they will keep and hang on to long
after you have died. Tell each one what they mean to you, how you felt
when you held them for the first time, and what you feel really matters
- Establish a time each week to call your grandchildren. When you call, ask to speak with each grandchild, or one for each call.
- Long-distance grandparents can keep in touch by phone, e-mail, instant messaging, and sending cards and small gifts.
Listen, listen, listen
- Talk less, and be a non-judgmental friend.
- Listen to your grandchildren—their accomplishments, fears, and problems.
- Bond with grandchildren early–as infants, if possible.
- Express unconditional love often to each grandchild. Children can detect insincerity of loving and caring.
- Wrap up children in a warm blanket and hold them till they feel loved.
- Let your grandchildren know
that you are doing everything you can to remain in their lives. They
will then know they can always count on you, and that you will always
- Pray with your grandchildren, and for them.
- Teach with stories, including scripture stories.
- Give grandchildren a recording of your voice reading or telling a story.
- Read or tell stories that will inspire and motivate children.
- Teach your grandchildren the timeless truths and virtues found in the scriptures.
- Read the same book,
or watch the same movie, as a grandchild; and then talk or write about
your opinions. Moral principles are in decay, and targeted for ridicule
and must be reinforced by those who know them.
Support your adult children
- Support your married children
in honoring their values and choices. Hold your tongue, and don’t give
advice about the way they are raising their children, unless asked for.
- Take all of the grandchildren into your home once/month so their parents can have a night out.
- Always back up parents (even if you don’t agree) and encourage children to listen to their parents.
- Accept your married children’s new family traditions and priorities.
Traditions with Grandchildren
- Begin meaningful traditions to bind your family.
- Don’t start traditions you cannot continue—such
as doing extravagant or very time-consuming things for Christmas,
birthdays, births, graduations, etc. Make your traditions manageable
for all your grandchildren. Consider gifts such as money, going to the
Dollar Store and letting the children pick out their own gifts, buying
tree ornaments for children, mailing picture postcards of yourself to
remind them of you, making quilts, or making PJ bottoms and purchasing
- Accept new traditions and priorities of your children’s new families.
- Start a tradition of inviting grandchildren to stay a week in the summer, and watch for opportunities to reinforce good values.
- Start a tradition of having 2 slumber parties a year with games, movies, and stories, and then provide a big breakfast in the morning.
- Have a party on Grandma’s bed before bedtime occasionally.
Sharing with the other Grandparents
- Resist the temptation to be the “favorite” grandmother.
- Invite your children’s in-laws who live nearby to family gatherings in your home.
- Remember that daughters or daughter-in-laws are usually closer to their own mothers.
- Be friends and include the other grandparents, when possible.
There are 3 kinds of Grandparents…Which one is you?
- Been There, Done That Grandparents
– They are finished raising children and have “had enough.” They often
come from large families and raised their own large families. They
view their job over, and want a rest.
- Help When Asked Grandparents –
They are willing to help out with grandchildren–if parents request
it. Many are uncertain about their roles, and choose to remain mostly
- Parents Forever Grandparents –
They actively participate in the lives of their grandchildren. They
represent about 33% of all grandparents. They are highly motivated to
nurture, support and share their expertise and life experiences with
their grandchildren. They want to remain connected to their adult
children and believe all the adults in the family share the
responsibility of raising the youngest generation. They are often the
ones most challenged by geographic distances and other factors that
separate them from their grandchildren.
- Parents can ask Grandma to share her life with her grandchildren...including,
family stories and traditions of the generations before her. Ask her
to share something from her childhood, a game, recipe or song; or the
names of her parents, grandparents and siblings; and what part of the
world her family came from and when they arrived in this part of the
country. If Grandma speaks another language, ask her to teach a few
words. Pull out family movies and old photos. Make a list of questions
to ask, and record her responses in a journal. Video the visit to
capture these wonderful moments.