Ever wondered why or how to write a letter to your grandchildren? Here’s the answer to both.
Do you have any letters from your grandparents? If you do, you know how special they are. The written word is a powerful connector, and letters are physical proof that you value your relationship with your grandchild. There is no better way to link generations than regularly writing letters to a grandchild!
Grandparents often ask, “What should I write to my grandchild?” It can be especially hard when your grandchild is too young to respond. You sometimes feel as if you are writing into a void! That’s why I’ve put together a year’s worth of Letters to My Grandchild Prompts. Read them below, then keep reading for tips on writing to different ages and how to make this a part of your grandparenting routine.
Each month has an overall theme and some questions to get you thinking about stories you can share. The questions are just starting points, and some may not apply to your family. Feel free to go off on your own tangent after reading the prompts!
January: Share stories about resolutions.
February: Share stories about Valentine’s Day.
March: Share your thoughts about spring.
April: In celebration of Earth Day, share stories about nature.
May: Share some stories about your family tree and its roots.
June: In honor of the traditional month of weddings, share some family love stories.
July: Share favorite summer memories.
August: Share your thoughts and stories about traveling.
September: Share your memories of your school days.
October: Share memories of Halloween.
November: Share memories of news you have lived through.
December: Share your holiday stories.
Writing to children under five
Before your grandchild can read and write, your letters are not going to be very important to them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write them, however! When they are older, they will have a written record of how often you thought of them, and they’ll treasure the stories you’ve shared. If your grandchild is very young, you may want to write these letters and collect them for when they are older. You could also send them and ask parents to keep them somewhere safe.
Writing to school age children
Once children are old enough to read and write and understand the passage of time, they will start to appreciate all the stories you share. As they get older, your letters can be an important way to get to know one another. You can begin to pose questions in your letters, asking them to call or write you with their answers. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get responses, however. Keep writing and asking, so they know you are interested in their lives.
Writing to teenagers
Letters to teenagers can continue to ask questions, and you can begin to share more of your life’s wisdom. You can offer encouragement and share stories about struggles you had as a teen. They will love stories about their parents and aunts or uncles. Whatever you do, keep writing. Teens need to know that there are adults in their lives who will be there for them no matter what. (See our post on 7 Ways Your Teenage Grandchild Needs You.)
How to Write a Letter to Grandchildren
There are two parts to writing a letter to your grandchild. One is the actual writing. Your letters don’t need to be long, or perfectly written. You can write on scrap paper. You can write on special stationery so letter is clearly from you. You can use your vintage typewriter, or compose it on your laptop, then print and send it. In other words, you can do whatever feels easiest, most fun, or most meaningful to you. (For ideas on how to make your letters more fun, read this post!)
The second part is sometimes the hardest, and that’s actually doing it. The best way for many of us is to block a regular hour on our calendar dedicated to writing. If your grandchild was born on the 7th of the month, put a reminder to write on the 7th of every month. Or set aside an hour on the first Saturday morning for letter writing. Like any habit, it will take practice and reminders before it becomes part of your routine.
Will writing letters to your grandchild be a part of your routine this year? Please let us know in the comments!
Grandparents should know baby walker pros and cons before using one.
Raise your hand if you think baby walkers are safe as long as they aren’t used around stairs.
Unfortunately, stairs are not the only hazard to a child in a tray walker. Although stairs are involved in 75% of injuries involving walkers, there are other hazards as well. The second most common cause of injury is babies falling out of the walker itself. And because walkers give a baby mobility and reach they would not have otherwise, there are numerous injuries from burns and poisons. Between 1990 and 2014, over 230,000 children under the age of 15 months went to the ER for baby walker-related injuries.
There is a reason that baby walkers are banned in Canada, and safety is only one issue. Another is that walkers can delay motor and mental development.
From the New York Times review of a study by Dr. A. Carol Siegel:
On average, infants who did not use walkers sat at 5 months, crawled at 8 months and began to walk in their 10th month, while babies who used walkers that blocked their views of their feet first sat near the end of their 6th month, crawled at 9 months and walked at almost 12 months. Babies whose walkers permitted them to see their feet sat and crawled at an age midway between the other two groups.
It's important to note that this study was far from definitive, and subsequent small studies have had mixed results. But when it comes to our grandchildren, we certainly want to avoid all the risks we can!
A third issue is the effect of walkers on a baby’s developing body. The seats in walkers (and jumpers and exersaucers) put the baby’s hips in a position that can lead to hip dysplasia or dislocation when they are older. If their feet don’t rest fully on the floor, they can develop tightness in their heel cords, which can lead to toe-walking.
According to The Children’s Rehabilitation Institute TeletonUSA:
Research shows using these kinds of toys does not help your child achieve independent skills sooner, because they are able to “walk”, “sit”, “jump” in a seated, supported, and poorly aligned position. This means they are not able to fully practice the muscle control and balance reactions necessary for moving outside of the device.
CRIT goes on to point out that the ill-effects of these toys are unlikely if a child is in an exersaucer for a short period each day. It’s when a walker is used for hours to keep the baby occupied while the caregivers are busy that both safety and development become an issue.
What should you, as a grandparent, do with this information?
Like all information on this website, our purpose is to educate you so you can better understand the choices your adult children are making as parents. If they are using a baby walker and you are worried about it, send them this blog post and ask if they have seen studies like these. Don’t, however, try to dictate what they do with the information.
On the other hand, if you are using a baby walker when your grandchild is at your house, you might want to find a new way to entertain the baby. Hopefully, now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of using a baby walker, you can make an informed decision.
Meals to make for new parents—including how to send meals to new parents from a distance.
When my first child was born, my mother arrived to help out. In addition to soothing the baby and helping with laundry, she kept our new family fed. But what was even more appreciated was that when she left us a week later, she left us with a full freezer.
One of the best ways grandparents can help new parents is by providing meals for those early days. If you are close enough to make and deliver meals for a new mom to freeze, it’s just a question of which meals to give new parents. But even if you live far away, you can still help new parents from a distance. Read on for ideas for grandparents near and far, including recipes.
First things first
Whether you are near or far, the first thing you need to do is to be clear on what would be most helpful. There may be a church or neighborhood meal train set up already to provide dinners, or there may be dietary considerations that you aren’t aware of (like the passionate dislike of reheated chicken I recently discovered in one of my sisters!). Start by saying, “I’d love to help keep you fed after the baby comes.” Then make sure to ask the following questions:
These questions should get you started on a conversation to find out what would be most helpful and when. Then you can move on to figuring out what meal to make for new parents!
Meals for new parents if you live nearby
My youngest granddaughter was born just days before Covid shut down the country, so I wasn’t able to go help out after her birth as planned. Luckily, my mother and I had visited a just a couple weeks before and filled the freezer, so they had at least a few meals to help them along.
In figuring out what meal to make for new parents, the key is to make things as simple as possible. Make and freeze favorite casseroles, or prep some easy to assemble meals. Cook chicken breasts and shred them before freezing in meal-sized portions, and they are easy to thaw and make tacos, add to a bagged salad, or just throw on a bun with some barbeque sauce.
My go-to chicken breast recipe:
Make a rub of 2 t paprika, 1 t cumin, 1/2 t thyme, 1 t salt, 1 t pepper and 2 T olive oil. Coat 4-6 chicken breasts, put them on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes or until done (the time varies wildly with different sized breast—check after 20 minutes, but be prepared for it to take an additional 10 minutes or more). This spice blend goes with almost any cuisine, but feel free to add cayenne, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, or any other flavors you like.
Pro tip: To shred a large number of chicken breasts, toss them in the bowl of your stand mixer with the mixing blade and turn on low. You will have beautifully shredded chicken in minutes.
What new grandparents need to know to be a valued member of the club!
Congratulations and Welcome to the Grandparents’ Club! You have been selected for membership by someone close to you. While this is most likely one of your adult children, there are other paths to membership. Read on to discover what new grandparents need to know about this exciting club.
Grandparents’ Club Benefits
Grandparents’ Club Privileges
Grandparents' Club Rules
Membership in the Grandparents’ Club is irrevocable; however, you may have any and all privileges stripped at any time by the Chapter Leader. It is key, therefore, to familiarize yourself with these rules and abide by them at all times.
Grandparents’ Club Structure
While the Grandparents’ Club is a global group, it is made up of individual chapters comprised of:
Grandparents’ Club New Member Orientation
New members will be tempted to focus on shopping and picture sharing during the first months of membership. For long-term success, it’s best to augment those activities with some education about their role in this new club. There are several helpful books, but the quickest way to learn what new grandparents need to know is by taking advantage of New Grandparent Essentials, which we developed especially for this purpose. It will ensure you have all the information, strategies, and support you need to be a valued member of your chapter of the New Grandparents’ Club. Find out more about it here.
(Skipping New Member Orientation can lead to hurt feelings, unexpressed tension, misunderstandings, chapter drama, and in extreme cases, estrangement. Should you wish to avoid these outcomes, it is recommended that you take advantage of the resources offered on this website and in New Grandparent Essentials.)
Welcome again to the greatest club in the world!