Lifestyle

7/25/2022 | By Charlie Fletcher

Writer Charlie Fletcher shares ideas for being an active grandparent: building a supportive relationship, sharing experiences, and keeping up with your grandkids, these bundles of young energy.

Being a grandparent is exciting and rewarding. Watching your children’s children learn and grow is an experience unlike any other.

However, there’s no handbook for being a grandparent. When you first become a parent, people are willing to offer plenty of advice. There are books and guidelines and even podcasts that can give you some pointers, but grandparents don’t often get the same kind of support.

Thankfully, you don’t have to follow any rule book to play an active role in your grandchild’s life.

Let’s dive deeper into how you can be an active grandparent and foster a loving, supportive relationship with your grandchild, create happy memories, and take care of your health so you can play a role in their lives for years to come.

Share experiences

grandparents in park with grandkids at dusk, with campfire and playing guitar. Photo by Igor Mojzes, Dreamstime. How to be an active grandparent: build a supportive relationship, share experiences, and keep up with these bundles of young energy.

There are plenty of stereotypes about grandparents spoiling their grandkids. While it’s okay to give gifts and little “extras,” both you and your grandchild will benefit more from shared experiences and time spent together.

Don’t be afraid to get silly and let yourself be a kid again. Ask them about what’s going on in their lives, and their interests. Share in those interests whenever you can. Maybe they’ll even teach you the latest TikTok dance.

When you treat your grandchild’s interests and hobbies as valid, they’ll be more open to showing interest in your hobbies, too. Share stories of the past, and let them experience things with you that you’ve enjoyed for years. That could include things like

  • Going to a baseball game
  • Fishing
  • Seeing a drive-in movie
  • Hiking
  • Crafts
  • Cooking and baking

An active grandparent: Engage with grandkids in the kitchen

Not only will these shared experiences strengthen your bond but telling your grandchild why these things are important to you will give them insight into your past, and into their family history. You could end up inspiring some new hobbies for them.

If you still want to give gifts and do a bit of “spoiling,” try to make the things you offer a little more meaningful. Make homemade birthday cards that are unique to your relationship. Buy them things that will help them learn and grow. Show them that you’re always listening and you’re always there.

To be an active grandparent, keep yourself healthy

As you age, you become more at risk for certain health conditions, including

  • Back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing loss
grandfather walking on beach at dusk with a grandchild. Photo by Monkey Business Images, Dreamstime. How to be an active grandparent: build a supportive relationship, share experiences, and keep up with these bundles of young energy.

Now, more than ever, it’s essential to make your health and well-being a priority. Spending time with your grandchild is a great way to do that, as they can help you to keep both your mind and body active.

From a physical standpoint, simply keeping up with grandkids can feel like a workout! If they’re younger, play with them. Run around the yard, give them a “horse” ride, or join them on the swings at the playground.

An active grandparent: Spending time with grandkids

If they’re older, ask them to be a workout buddy and go on regular walks or bike rides together. Exercising is a wonderful way to boost your physical and mental health, and something as simple as weekly walks can strengthen your relationship connection with your grandchild, offering a great opportunity for meaningful conversations.

Even if you’ve never had to worry about your mental wellness before, the risk of loneliness, anxiety and depression increases as you age. Consider different things you can do to combat stress and find peace in your life, including meditation.

If you’ve never meditated, try using a guided app to help you focus on deep breathing and clearing your mind. Before long, you’ll look forward to it as part of your daily routine.

The experiences you share with your grandchild will stick with them for a lifetime. You don’t need to do anything special to be an active grandparent. The best thing you can do is be present, offer a listening ear, and do whatever you can to make sure you’re there to see your grandchild grow.

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees” – Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can find more of her writing on her Contently.