12 Ways To Instantly Put A Big Smile On Your Grandkid’s Face

Seeing my grandbabies can always put a smile on my face and turn my day around, but there are times when the grandkids just aren’t having it, whether they are too tired, sad about something else, or hangry (so hungry, it makes you angry). While it may sting initially, it’s important to remember not to take it personally, as kids have good and bad days, too. If you want to fix their mood and do something special to make them smile, try one of these 12 things that will instantly put a big smile on your grandkids’ faces:

Bring out the secret candy stash 

Amelia's horde of candy

Yes, I know, this one is a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning because it’s too darn fun! I have a “secret” stash of chocolate that no one knows about but my grands and me. This is great whenever I want to reward, spoil, or make them smile! (I go through A LOT of chocolate.)

Dance party 

Dancing for Grandma

Who says grandma can’t shake her groove thing? I lived through the 70s, so you best believe that should some disco come on the radio or Alexa, granny is going to DANCE. In addition to these old tunes putting a big smile on my face, they can always make my husband (or anyone else watching) giggle. 

Build a fort 

The remains of a pillow fort
Flickr/Mark Pilgrim

If neither candy nor dancing turned your grandchild’s frown upside down (or if it did and you want to keep the fun going!), it is time to break out the big guns, AKA the pillows. To make a great fort, move furniture and cushions as needed, grab all the blankets you can find for the top and the sides, and get to building. When it’s time to clean up, have fun knocking it all down before putting everything back where it belongs. 

Tell them a farfetched story 

Ella Reading to Grandma Kelly
Flickr/David Kelly

I have a bizarre talent for making up weird stories with quirky characters and funny voices, and I have found that it always perks up my grandkids! If you don’t like making up things on a whim, always have a silly book ready to go on your bookshelf (trust me – they make some adorable children’s books that can even make me laugh out loud).

“Don’t smile”

Grumpy Gabby not smiling
Flickr/Ashley Webb

Ah, yes – a little reverse psychology, and why not? 

Make a mess 

Finger painting mess
Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski

Remember that fort from earlier? That’s an excellent place to start with making a mess! Other messy yet fun bonding activities include baking up a storm in the kitchen, finger painting a masterpiece, and/or digging around in the garden.

Build them up 

Grandmother kissing her grandson on the cheek
Flickr/J Jongsma

Don’t you love it when someone compliments you and tells you what you are good at or what makes you unique? Our grandkids do, too! Remind them of how smart and kind they are or how impressed you were when they did XYZ. Not only will saying these things make them grin, but it will build their confidence, too. 

Pillow fight and/or wrestling 

Children engaged in a pillow fight

Pillow fights and wrestling are a surefire way to get a smile, especially if you have grandsons! (What is it with little boys and their need to be aggressive?!)

Turn on a funny show they’ve never seen 

Grandma and Rochelle enjoying a show

True story: I recently shared some old episodes of “Mr. Bean” (yes, the British slapstick show from the 90s) with my grandson, and we were both rolling on the floor laughing. Screens are not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and watching Mr. Bean put us both in a better mood! Note: Mr. Bean can get a little raunchy (I recall a few episodes where they showed his naked backside), so be sure to screen the shows before sharing them with your grandkids.

Big hug 

Christmas hugs
Flickr/Heather Paul

I don’t need to tell you that no two children are alike, so I have found the success of giving a big hug to be on a child-by-child basis. However, I will give my grandson (who isn’t as much a fan of physical touch as his brother) a big hug and then not let go for a while, which usually gets a chuckle out of him after a while.

Let them win 

Grandma and grandson playing a game
Flickr/Rachel Singer Gordon

Whether it’s Chutes and Ladders, an impromptu game of baseball, or a staring contest, let your grandchild win, as it will make them smile and boost their confidence.

Ask silly “this or that” questions 

Young girls having fun and laughing

Pickle ice cream or a broccoli cookie? Gloves on your feet or shoes on your hands? Elsa or Moana? Have fun with this one – the sillier the questions, the better! (We have a whole slew of fun questions to ask right here.)

I hope my list gives you tons of inspiration for making the grandkids smile! What is one of your tried and true methods? Let me know!

Love Being A Grandma?

Then you'll love my daily email! Over 34,500 grandmas get it to start their morning off on the right foot. It's uplifting, fun, and always completely free. Give it a try below!