My mom tells me all the time how great grandkids are. And how if she could do it all over, she’d skip having kids and go straight to grandkids. And how it’s not spoiling them when her grandkids are perfect little angels who deserve whatever they want. And of course she doesn’t mind waiting on them hand-and-foot because, after all, modern kids are under so many pressures. And who could I possibly be talking about when I mention stories about how terribly behaved they were, the temper tantrums they threw, the backtalk I get, and the rug, which is now decorated with a permanent Sharpie rainbow.
I sometimes think this must be my mother’s “To do” list when my kids come over:
- Welcome kids
- Buy kids anything they want
- Load kids up with candy, cookies, cakes, and other assorted junk food
- Send kids home
Of course it’s always easier to spend time with kids when you are on a time-share program and you know you can give them back after a few hours. Heck, if *I* could do it again, I’d skip the kids and go straight to grandkids, too.
Benefits of Multi-Generational Relationships
Anyway, waxing idealistic aside, grandparent relationships are important. If you only have to travel over the river and through the woods to get to grandmother’s house, I thoroughly encourage you to dump your kids on them, errr … plan quality visits with your kids and your parents or in-laws as much as possible. If your family is distant, I strongly recommend sending your kids to them for a few weeks as soon as they are old enough to ride the plane or train alone.
Grandparental relationships offer tons of benefits. It gives your children exposure to living history. If your kids don’t come home sick of hearing “Back in my day…” then your parents are doing something wrong. It also gives them a chance to learn more about their heritage, roots, traditions, and values. It makes it that much more interesting to study cultures through school or materials like Faces when you know your family has ties to it.
Another benefit is your children can explore some of the things you did as a child, in those dark days before there were video games, phones, and (gasp!) the internet. Cooking, crafts, walks, bikes, puzzles, games, gardening, reading, playgrounds, nature watching, movie dates, model making, and more, are all things most grandparents are very capable of doing with their grandkids. If your parents are anything like mine, they probably still have all the games, puzzles, bikes and books from your childhood in their attics. And they probably nag you endlessly about coming and getting all that stuff.
Best benefit? Your kids get exposed to a multigenerational perspective on these fantastic hobbies while the Sharpie rainbow ends up on someone else’s rug.
In the times in between visits, you can keep the grandparent/grandchild connection strong though an app like Storybug, which allows your child and his or her grandparents (or other far-away relative or friend) to spend quality time reading together. Having this sort of nightly interaction is a sure-fire way to build strong relationships between the grandparents and the grandkids all year long. And with the grandparents on the other end of the internet, at least you know no candy, cookies, or sweets will magically appear in your child’s possession.
Cricket Media Mom has scheduled her grandparents/kids playdate to be next Tuesday, with no return pick-up time determined. Meanwhile, she’s going to HER grandmother’s house to get spoiled and waited on.