Does mindfulness fit with your goals as a grandparent?
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Finally! Covid restrictions had eased, we’d all been vaccinated, and we were going to spend a glorious six days with our grandchildren and their parents! It had been seven months since we’d seen them, and the baby had gone from a barely scooting bug to a fully walking toddler. We’d missed so much! I was determined to make the most of every day. I’d read Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice and was committed to being fully present during the short time we’d have together.
Within a day, I realized I’d forgotten something crucial: being with small children is an endurance sport, and I’m not an endurance athlete. Trying to be fully present created an intense overload on my system, especially after the cocoon I’d been living in during Covid. So how could I use the lessons of mindfulness to deepen our relationship without ending up longing for the end of the visit? What was I doing wrong, that one day with my grandchildren left me exhausted?
That night, I reread my grandparent vision statement and Grand Plan*. No where did my grandparenting plan include being fully present at all times. What it did include was letting my grandchildren know they were important to me, and helping out my children as much as possible. I needed to take the principles of mindfulness and apply them to help me be the grandmother I wanted to be. There were five ways to be more mindful that I found fit well with my goals.
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Grandparenting: RENEW, RELIVE, REJOICE is a simple, user-friendly guide to being more present in the moments you have with your grandchildren. It suggests practical, actionable activities to help you fully enjoy the time you have together. Students of mindfulness will be familiar with many of the techniques, but even mindfulness masters will appreciate the suggestions for sharing those techniques with your grandchildren.
The suggestions in early chapters seemed like common sense to me, but later chapters had activities that I look forward to trying with my grandchildren. I especially loved the section on listening, an area where we can all use some improvement! Generously interspersed with the mindfulness suggestions are charming anecdotes from grandparents. If you love reading stories that make you go, “Aww”, you will enjoy this book for the stories alone.
If you are a grandparent who has been curious about mindfulness, this book would be a great place to start. It’s probably most helpful to grandparents who see their grandchildren often and regularly, though some of the ideas would work during infrequent visits, as well.
Ready to be a more mindful grandparent? Order it today!
If you’ve read it, please share your thoughts about the book in the comments!
A Secret Weapon for Connection with Your Grandkids
Did you read about my grandparenting vision statement? One of my core beliefs is that my purpose is to teach my grandchildren to explore the world. This can be hard as a long-distance grandparent, especially during a pandemic. I’d love to regularly take them on trips around their town—or mine (or anyone’s really!). I’d like to point out the constellations, show them the difference between a lake and an ocean, and tell them about all the places we’ve lived. I wish we could sit down with maps and make plans for where to explore next. Unfortunately, that’s not something that can happen as regularly as I’d like.
So recently, I sent a box full of ways for them to plan and explore the world from their house. How will this foster connection? Knowing where you are in the world, and where the people you love are, helps make sense of the universe. It creates a framework for conversations, and a springboard for future plans. Plus, it shows them that I value exploration, while giving them something new to learn and do!
Here’s what I included:
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I also sent maps: this set of United States, world and solar system maps, and a local street map of their city so they could find where they lived. They were a big hit, as was this compass!
And finally, I sent materials to make their own maps: some graph paper and colored pencils. My grandson worked hard on his map of his house and yard, but you'll have to follow me on Instagram to see the exciting backyard he designed!
Family traditions are important--and can teach your grandchildren valuable lessons.
When our children were small, we saved our spare change all year long in a special jar. Every December, we’d count and roll the coins, then take the kids to the toy store. There, they’d each get to choose what to buy with their share of the money we’d collected. Their decisions were never easy—they each thought long and hard about what they might want if they only got one toy for Christmas.
After everyone had figured out how to spend their allotment, we’d take our toys to the checkout stand. Every year, a surprised cashier always happily took our payment despite it being entirely in change.
The final step was letting each child put the new toys they had selected in the box for Toys for Tots. Granted, the year my youngest was not quite two, she had to be coerced to give up the baby doll she had chosen! I still have a very clear mental image of the longing look on her face as we walked away from the donation box.
A roaring good time for your grandchildren
For parents with small children, Covid-19 has made life both harder and easier. Gone are the pressures of playdates and scheduling naps around outings. But for many, those have been replaced by long, lonely days at home. Mom and Dad are frazzled, the kids have cabin fever, and everyone is in need of a break from the monotony.
One of the ways I’ve tried to make things a little easier for my family is with “virtual field trips”. The trip to the art museum and the virtual summer vacation were both a big hit, so this time I sent them on a virtual trip to the zoo.
Once again, I looked for items that would do more than provide a few moments of fun and then add to the clutter. Here’s what I included:
They both got Zookeeper shirts, which quickly became a favorite piece of clothing. I got these, but there are other fun styles available.
Grandparents Can Be the Superheroes This Halloween
What will Halloween look like for your grandchildren this year? Because of Covid, Halloween parties are out, and trick-or-treating is being discouraged in many communities. There are a lot of little ghosts and goblins that are going to be disappointed this year—unless someone comes to the rescue!
Grandparents, here’s your chance! Why not start a new family Halloween tradition with one of the following ideas?
Interactive stories to make even virtual storytime a hit
Reading with small children helps them learn the building blocks of language. It also introduces them to stories, which are a rich, vital part of human life. Books can ignite their imagination and curiosity, and the right books can entertain them for long stretches. And for grandparents, it’s a lovely way to share time together, even if it’s only over video chat.
But how do you keep the attention of a squirrely two-year-old, or a three-year-old with better things to do? The secret to picking books for your grandchildren is finding ones that demand their attention: books that ask them questions, encourage them to jump around, or are filled with silliness. These interactive stories will keep toddlers and preschoolers tuned in.
The following books all have a collaborative element that goes beyond lifting the flap, and are fun for the reader as well as the child. Click on any book cover to learn more about it and order it from Amazon!
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What book does your toddler grandchild love best? Please share in the comments!
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Every penny helps cover the costs of running this site, so thank you for your support!
It’s time for a virtual field trip!
Have you ever taken your grandchildren to an art museum? Even babies respond to being in a place with new things to look at, and exposing young children to a wide variety of great art introduces them to the idea of diversity in our world. Plus, between the ages of 2 and 5, creativity explodes. If we nurture it, it is likely to become a life-long characteristic.
Of course, many of us aren’t able to take our grandchildren anywhere right now. So why not send the art museum to them? That’s what I just did, and it was a big hit. What did it include?
You’ll want to include a book about making art. Art Making with MoMA: 20 Activities for Kids Inspired by Artists at The Museum of Modern Art is a great one. Although some of the activities are more advanced, most of them can be adapted based on children’s ages.
This Faber-Castell watercolor set has everything needed for beginning artists.
And since gluing things together is a thrill when you are a small child (and helps with crucial small motor development), look for something with lots of pieces. The ALEX Toys Little Hands My Collage Farm is perfect.
And to keep them from ruining their clothes, you’ll want to throw in an art smock for each child. I ordered this two pack.
Go put together a virtual field trip to the art museum for your grandkids, then tag me on Instagram or Facebook with a photo of their masterpieces!