Are you a new grandparent too? I am always on the look out for ideas on how to enhance my new role with each grandchild. That’s why I am thrilled to have guest blogger Lisa Carpenter, author of Grandma’s Briefs and successful long-distance grandmother, share her true and tried tips.
Sure, you tell your grandchildren “I love you” each time you end a telephone conversation or hug them goodbye. Here, though, are ideas for expressing the sentiment at other times in extra-special, unexpected ways.
Chalk it up. Turn the tables on chalk drawings and make one for your grandchild instead 0f the other way around. Grab some sidewalk chalk and cut loose with a heart-filled message of love your grandchild will see — and appreciate — next time she visits Grandma’s house. Long-distance grandmas can take a photo of their chalk masterpiece and send via text messaging, Facetime, Facebook, or e-mail. Or go the old-fashioned route and print it out then pop it in the mail.
Set a date night. Institute a standing special evening, weekly or monthly, with your grandson or granddaughter. Ideas for your time alone are unlimited: dinner and a movie; taking a class together; hitting the gym; attending a concert; playing at the park. Mix it up or make each date the same. Having several grandchildren make for a full calendar — and full hearts for all, too. Facetime, Skype and Google+ chats/hangouts save the day (and date night) for long-distance grandparents.
Make a mix tape. Okay, it’s not really a mix tape you’d be making, but compiling a playlist of songs that make you think of your grandchild then burning it to CD relays the message o’ love just as effectively (and emotionally) as cassette tapes of days gone by. It’s unlikely your grandchild will listen to your compilation on a CD player. That’s okay, though, as it’s simple for him or her — or Mom or Dad — to pop the disc into a computer’s CD drive and transfer the songs over to iTunes or other audio programs for creating a playlist that will work in whatever high-tech way the kiddo chooses.
Crash the cafeteria. Surprise a grandchild by showing up at school to have lunch with her. She’ll be happy to show off Grandma or Grandpa to her friends, and even more excited to lead the way through the lunch line. Or consider bringing lunch to her, takeout or something from her list of favorite dishes made by Grandma. Whatever’s on the menu, be sure to get permission and clearance for the visit from parents and the school in advance.
Show up. In a vein similar to a cafeteria visit, consider taking time off work for a school (or preschool!) event you wouldn’t normally be able to attend: an awards ceremony, science fair, book fair, sporting event, performance, spelling bee. Show up unannounced — to the youngster, that is; again, get permission — and root for your little one. Be sure to remember the camera for capturing the ear-to-ear grins sure to follow when your grandchild spots you in the audience!
Blog about it — together. Create a private blog that only you and your grandchild (and Mom and Dad) can read and post on. All you need is a free gmail e-mail address and a few moments of time spent setting up a free blog on Blogger, making sure to mark the blog settings to be visible to only those invited. Even novices should have an easy time of managing a high-tech way of sharing news, photos, thoughts, concerns…and love. Little ones will need help from Mom and Dad to add posts, pictures and more, but older grandchildren will enjoy the challenge — and likely teach you a thing or two not only about blogging but also about themselves in the process.
Send them searching for it. Use Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker to create a word search filled with all the things you love about your grandchild. Use your own title and input your own words for a one-sheet puzzle to print directly from the website for sharing with word-loving little ones — or big ones, too. Include an appropriate (and sharpened) pencil to double the fun. (And don’t forget to print out the key, too, just in case she can’t find all the loving words you set out to share.)
Just say it. Don’t reserve your “I love you”s for the end of conversations or visits; proclaim them at unexpected times, too: midway through reading a bedtime — or any time — story; via a midday text; at the closing of grace when sharing a meal. The time is always right to simply say, “I love you!”
How do you like to express your love for your favorite kiddos?