Few moments, since the birth of your children, can equate to the sheer joy of becoming a grandparent. This wonderfully unique role in a child’s life can be a journey of excitement, love, and pure fun – without the parental responsibility!
However, within those first few cuddles, you’ll once again feel the familiar tug on your heartstrings that you would do anything to prepare and support this child as they grow, and develop. Knowing how to do this, as a grandparent, can be tricky. Here are our suggestions of how to prepare your grandchildren for the future.
It may seem obvious, but this can be a tricky path to navigate, especially with in-law relationships in the mix. However, the single biggest gift you can give to your grandchildren is your time. If you are retired, you’re in the unique position of having more time than many, and if you invest some in your grandchildren, you will reap immense rewards. Children require time and patience to build an open relationship outside of their parents, and you can give them this, meaning that they always have a third party who isn’t mum or dad when needed.
Give them roots and history
All children need to develop a strong identity of who they are, and where they come from. Familial relationships are key to this. Therefore, find ways that your grandchildren can share in your life, your interests, and your history. Also, facilitate the wider family get-togethers to keep the bonds and family heritage going.
Be the peace-maker
Life is too short for disagreements with loved ones. By fostering a forgiving family environment with the wider members, you enable your grandchildren to mirror and learn how relationships should be. If you have a respectful and healthy relationship with their parents, you’ll also have a better relationship with the child.
Be a thoughtful provider
One of the joys of grand-parenthood is that you aren’t responsible for any of the financial upbringing of the child. However, many grandparents find they want to help provide for the future of their grandchildren. In the short term, this might mean you choose to invest in their future by paying for extracurricular activities, holidays, and experiences. In the longer term, you can look at the most suitable ways of helping them save for their first home, car, their wedding day, or even their higher education. At Shepherds Friendly, we have a broad range of options for saving for your grandchild’s future whereby you can save from £7.50 per month. If you’d also like to help contribute to everyday expenses, do this in collaboration with Mum and Dad to ensure they know what they will need.
Share your talents
Children are still discovering who they are, and what they are good at. Being exposed to a range of talents can ignite their drive to try things for themselves. If you’re a dab hand at carpentry, work on a project together. Paint with them. Bake. Whatever you are good at, your grandchild will love learning from you in an unpressured way, where their attempts are respected.
Give them unconditional love
Parents often find themselves torn between family, work, and other commitments. Of course, their love for their children is unconditional, but the act of loving as a parent involves so many other demands on their time that the small moments can be lost. As a grandparent, you can show and provide the love that supports both the grandchildren and the parents. You can be the one putting photo albums together because your daughter doesn’t have time. You can even keep track of all of the special moments you’ve shared in a journal. But, above all, the single biggest thing you can do to prepare your grandchildren for the future is to love them – unconditionally.
Congratulations on becoming a grandparent! Enjoy the adventure!