“Nana,” queried the sweet seven-year old voice on the phone, “when we come to make applesauce at your house can we also make apple cider, apple butter, apple crisp, apple pie, and dried apples?”
“Of course we can. I will have everything ready.”
I spoke with our granddaughter’s parent, my son, and “Apple Day” was put on the calendar. However, having a date and getting apples wasn’t all I needed to do to have everything ready. Memory-making activities are usually great fun but they can be more than that if they are part of strategic grand-parenting.
I want to be able to speak good things into my grandchildren’s lives, especially in their teen years and beyond. To do so, I need to start building good relationships with them now. Time spent together and pleasant memories of those times contribute to strong relationships.
I still think fondly of my own Nana whose faith in God and life of daily prayer influenced me greatly. I listened to what she said about faith in part because we played card games and told jokes. She taught me how to use the sewing machine and took me on shopping trips in New York City with lunch included. I always knew that she cared about me because she spent time with me.
So what can you do to make a memory? How about doing a craft, playing a game, reading a story (or two or three or ten)? Invite them into your life by teaching them something that you love like sewing, woodworking, or gardening. Go to the zoo or a children’s science center or an activity at the local library. Take a walk in your neighborhood or theirs. Visit at school. Go to church together. If you stop and think about it you probably could come up with a long list. Talk with other grandparents and share ideas. The key is to develop a strategy: think, plan, then execute.
Oh, and not to leave you hanging… “Apple Day” was delightful and we made all those things, along with some great memories! I would say we did it up “grandly!”
Ginny Joy is a strategic grandmother of 18 and lives in Lansing, Michigan.
Copyright © 2020 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club