Friday, September 12, 2008
For the multitudes of grandparents who live a good distance from their grandchildren, developing a relationship with them--- beyond an hour around a holiday meal once a year or so---is going to take planning and preparation on the part of the grandparent. It means looking at the calendar in advance and blocking off a time frame that is devoted to grandparent/grandchild relationship building. Naturally, it will need to start small and be age appropriate for the youngster. With the passage of time which includes periodic experiences together, a bond and trust can develop between the generations that will benefit both. Some examples of small beginnings might include a picnic in a nearby park, miniature golf, a short hike on the nature trail at a city park, a climbing wall for the kids to try, or a child-friendly museum. Then the pair can try overnight trips----perhaps using one of the overnight activities arranged by organizations such as Wonders of the Outdoor World, Zoo overnights like "Roar & Snore" in the San Diego Wild Animal Park, state park-sponsored kayaking or camping trips, short church mission trips, museum overnights, etc.; if you want more ideas, just type in "grandparent/grandchild activities" in your Internet search engine, and you would be amazed at all the suggestions! I know of one grandmother who worked toward the goal of taking each of her grandchildren on a week long travel adventure together, as each grandchild graduated from high school. And seeing how those grandchildren that she traveled with have developed into outstanding individuals gave me the motivation to work harder at a similar goal. I need to insert that I have a personal bias, after years of working in the health care field, toward activities that will promote an active lifestyle for the youth, as opposed to limiting your interactions to sedentary things such as movies or TV watching. Likewise, the health habits that the grandchild observes in the grandparent should be ones worth emulating. Since I grew up in the same town as my grandparents, the subject of grandparent/grandchild excursions was no big deal; rather, they were a regular, almost daily occurrence. Likewise, it was for my son, who grew up in the same town where both sets of grandparents lived. But that is not always the case, and the suggestions today try to give you some ideas of how to get to know the adults of tomorrow. So as the old rock and roll song used to say "Go, Granny, Go!!!