Celebrate Grandparents Day

Honor your grandmas and grandpas on Grandparents Day, which is September 11.  Parents.com consulted with Patricia Babuka, CEO and co-founder of GrandCamp Adventures, a line of products (storybooks, music, games) designed to strengthen connections between the older and younger generations.  Babuka shared, “Grandparents want to connect with their grandchildren. While 80% of grandparents say their grandchildren are their top priority, they  wonder how to entertain them.” 

The interaction strengthens family ties, increases love and happiness, ensures the preservation of family history, and builds a solid environment of security and safety.  Plus, “grandparents are given the valuable opportunity to tap into and enjoy youthful energy and see a world of possibilities. Parents find that children are nourished with a different kind of learning and sharing experience. Since grandparents are free from day-to-day parenting, they provide a special time of uninterrupted play,” says Babuka. 

Here are her three suggestions for how grandparents can bond with their tiny family members, whether they live near or far away.

Make time for the relationship and make that time sacred. A majority of grandparents today are online, making the Internet a key way to stay connected. Grandparents email grandchildren often and have Skype and telephone calls for quick chats about what happened that day. Those who keep long-distance communications short, fun, and frequent develop great rapport with their grandchildren.

Follow the 3 “Fs” of family.
Fun: Enjoying one another is an essential ingredient.
Familiarity: Sharing deepens the relationship. Share about yourself, parents, and the child. 
Frequency: Carving out time makes family interactions more rewarding for everyone.

Take a few minutes ahead of time to plan the interaction.  Spending playtime with grandchildren rather than entertaining them makes all the difference. Grandparents say the key is discovering things both age groups enjoy doing. Very young children often lead playtime. They make up games and imaginary situations and ask that grandparents play along. As grandchildren get older, grandparents should involve their grandchildren in planning activities. Whether it is playing cards or board games, reading books, baking cookies, going to the movies, going on a nature walk, or visiting museums, time together is the most important thing.

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In addition to gifting GrandCamp Adventures storybooks and CDs ($11.95 – $29.95) to grandparents, here are two more special ways to thank grandparents for their love and support.

1- Legacy Keepers is a service that provides unique ways to record family history and geneaology.  Working closely with a team of personal consultants, choose from several packages ($975 – $5,950) to turn your grandmother’s and grandfather’s stories and photos into a variety of audio CDs, books, and DVDS.   This way, memories become mementos passed down through generations.

2- In ”Grandpa Green” by Lane Smith, a great-grandson shares stories about his grandpa, who loves horticulture, while exploring his garden.  The sweet tale is told through topiaries that represent important life events in the grandfather’s history. Lane Smith, the illustrator behind clever and popular picture books such as “The Stinky Cheese Man” and “Madam President,” released this new book ($16.99) as an homage to grandfathers. 

More About Grandparents on Parents.com

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