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As a grandma, mom, and mother-in-law, you want nothing more than to help and support the people you love the most: Your children and grandchildren. While you would never do anything to upset them intentionally, it is important to note any boundaries that may be in place, whether it be baby cocooning or abiding by family rules (no matter how ridiculous or petty they may seem).
Are you not sure where these boundaries lie? Or maybe you want to make the most significant impact without overstepping? Whichever your situation, I come to share these 10 easy yet powerful ways that you, Grandma, can make a huge impact:
1. Offer advice in passing conversation
Nobody wants to feel lectured, which is where subtle storytelling is handy. Instead of flat-out telling your grand/child what they should do, you can share pearls from yesteryears in gentle, passing conversations, so it is not a direct lesson but a shared memory with a hidden lesson or two.
2. Compliment them
Who doesn’t love receiving compliments – especially from your beloved grandma? Shower your grands with affirmations and appreciation, as noticing the little things can boost their confidence in a big way!
3. Ask, don’t tell
As we discussed with offering advice, it’s better to be subtle to not unintentionally hurt feelings. When asking a question, I try to take the more “scenic route,” so to speak, whereas, for example, instead of directly commenting on my grandchild’s new hairstyle, I ask them what inspired it. I find that going about it this way can lead to a heart-to-heart without even trying.
4. Tradition, tradition!
(If I get that song stuck in your head the rest of the day, I apologize.)
I am a stickler for tradition and find that I’m not the only one – my children and grandchildren seem to enjoy and look forward to it, too! Keep up with any traditions you have, or if you still need one, think of some you can start. While I don’t plan on going anywhere soon, these traditions will likely be passed down to future generations.
5. Lend your ears
Sometimes, we all need someone who listens. You can be that listening ear for those precious grands. Offer a comforting space, nod along, and just let them be. Your silence might be the most profound conversation they’ve had all day.
6. Send (or deliver) a care package
Who doesn’t love a surprise? Drop off a spontaneous care package now and then! Whether it’s your famous lemon pie or a nostalgic board game, it’s a great way of sending a hug without saying much.
7. Gentle offers to help
“Just putting it out there, but if ever you want me to babysit or whip up a Sunday brunch, give me a holler.” See? Non-intrusive and with a dash of love!
8. Tech date
Kids and their gadgets… they sure do love them! You can be the cool, tech-savvy grandma while bonding with your grands by starting a monthly date where you explore a new app or game together. It’s connecting and learning all rolled into one, so have fun.
9. Handwritten notes
While random text messages are nice, handwritten notes mean the most and get saved. In a digital age where everything is instant, let handwritten letters or notes be their treasured keepsake.
10. Celebrate the uncelebrated
Who says you have to wait until a special occasion to celebrate – well, anything? Acknowledge and cheer on the little victories with your grands, whether it be a small act of kindness or a personal growth milestone.
You don’t have to make a big fuss to make a big impact – in fact, the most profound impacts are made in the subtlest of ways. A light touch, a silent gesture, or even a knowing smile can say more than a thousand words. Here’s to savvy grandparenting!