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It’s a fact of life: Nothing stays the same, and changes can come often and quickly. When our grandchildren are young, they typically have a routine and familiarity, but as they grow, they will experience many changes and new experiences. While these can be beautiful, they can also be challenging.
How do we help our grandbabies thrive during these uncertain times?
As with everything else, we grandmas have a special touch and ability to make things a little easier, and this is no exception. Here is how you, grandma, can best help your grandchildren grow through new experiences:
If you are a long-time reader, you know that I love bonding with my grands by sharing stories and personal anecdotes. Remember when Aunt Mary accidentally dyed her hair green, or Uncle Joe got lost on vacation and found a hidden gem of a café? Share these family stories as they entertain and show how unexpected turns can lead to delightful adventures.
2. Set aside time to talk
Set aside time for ‘just talking’. Share experiences, discuss current events, or ponder mysteries like why cats hate water. This simple act can help your grands process changes and grow through understanding and reflection.
3. Trust tokens
Create little tokens or notes they can give you when they want to talk about something but find it hard to initiate the conversation. If they feel uncomfortable discussing it together, you can even recommend communicating via a shared journal.
4. The art of resilience
Discuss times when you faced setbacks and how you bounced back. (At our age, we can come up with one or two – or ten!) Emphasizing resilience can be a valuable lesson in navigating change and is a skill they can use for the rest of their lives.
5. Wisdom walks
Take leisurely strolls and use the time to chat about what’s on their minds. Walks, in general, tend to be more laid back, and an informal setting may make it easier for your grands to open up about things they’re experiencing.
6. Life skill lessons
Who says that all lessons and conversations need to be deep and serious? Keep things light and – well, helpful! – with life skill lessons, a la sewing, budgeting, and other often overlooked things that will help them in the future. Speaking of the future…
7. Future gazing
Positively talk about the future and discuss your grandchild’s aspirations, dreams, and the steps they might take to get there. This helps in normalizing the idea of change as a pathway to growth.
8. Emotion exploration
Encourage your grand(s) to express their feelings through art, writing, or music. This helps them process emotions and provides you insights into their world. Another bonus? It teaches them healthy ways to explore and express their feelings beginning at a young age.
9. Open mic nights
Are you ready to host an open mic night (or sorts)? No, you don’t need to turn your home into a club but rather dedicate some evenings to open conversations with your grands, where they can voice concerns, ask questions, or ponder life’s mysteries without fear of judgment.
10. Celebrate milestones
Every transition, big or small, deserves recognition! Whether it’s the end of a school year, getting a driver’s license, or overcoming a personal hurdle, make it a point to celebrate together, as it instills confidence and frames changes as achievements.
I hope that by using these methods, you’ll help your grandchildren navigate change and foster a deeper bond with them. As always, it’s all about ensuring they know that they have a rock-solid support system in their grandma. You’ve got this, Grandma – keep up the great work!