It was a hard wakeup call when my grandsons threw a wet blanket on my suggestion that we go to the zoo. It was incredulous to me that they deemed another visit to our famous St. Louis Zoo “boring.” It was time for an attitude adjustment. If I wanted to share time with those two boys, I needed to be a little more creative and do what they wanted to do.
Here are suggestions gleaned from an article on www.livestrong.com that may turn us from zeros to grandparent heroes.
Take trips to the zoo. Choose a favorite animal to adopt. Help your grandchild get a library card and visit often. Pick out books with a grandparent theme, such as Spot Visits His Grandparents, by Eric Hill; or That's What Grandparents Are For, by Arlene Uslander. And … read to them, often.
Let him or her work on simple tasks around the home. Help re-paint the garage door or help cook dinner. Share a hobby that you’re passionate about with them. Model airplanes? Surprise him or her with a model airplane kit that you two can work on together. If it’s fishing – get a kid-sized fishing pole and practice casting skills together.
Tweens have a strong desire to be more independent from their parents. Invite your tween to do things that nurture their independence and growing maturity. Go to a movie together. Talk about school over pizza. Find out about their hobbies and show a genuine interest – even if you’re not a fan. Ask them to teach you how to play their favorite video game. If they’re interested in cooking, try some challenging recipes together.
Share stories about your past, about their parents when they were their age and about important ancestors in your family. Look through old photo albums showing pictures of yourself when you were teens. Support important milestones and future plans. Take a road trip, just you and your teen. Help them plan it and map it out. Help research careers and scholarships, maybe even go on a college visit trip.
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