The spontaneous grandparent? Those words don’t seem like they should even be together. Shouldn’t grandparenting be intentional, with a plan and purpose?
Yes and no.
Of course, grandparents want to pour good things into their grandchildren’s lives. You spend time researching the most fun things to do, the best games to play, the best multi-generational vacations, how to help them grow into responsible people, etc. But the best teachable moments are those that just come along unplanned and unscripted. And, for sure, some of the best memories are those where Grandma or Grandpa just jump right in as the unplanned star of the show!
Why should you even consider acting on those spontaneous thoughts?
One year I was going to join my grandchildren at the church fall festival. They were all wearing costumes. At the last minute I decided to go as an old woman. (I know some of you are thinking that wouldn’t take much!) But I went as a really, really old woman. I did such a good job that when I arrived, most of my grandchildren didn’t recognize me. They are still talking about me as an old woman. And just think how much younger I looked when I got home and took off the old woman garb.
To Make Special Memories
Grandchildren remember time spent with their grandparents. But the times that include the unexpected remain longer than most. Invite your grandchildren to play follow the leader. Lead them around and around doing fun moves. If you have access to a swimming pool or lake, lead them to the edge of the water and jump right in, clothes and all. If you don’t have access to a big body of water, start the sprinkler before you start the game and end with a romp through the sprinkler.
To Keep Them on Their Toes
The element of surprise is the most fun part of spontaneity. If you do something they are not expecting, they will pay more attention to your actions for a while after that. Will Grandma walk through that puddle? What will Grandma do onstage at my school program, will she dance? Maybe she play baseball with us after lunch!
I am a germ freak and refuse to eat after my children and grandchildren. One day we were doing a major clean-out and sent out for lunch. Part of what was brought back was a whole apple pie. When dessert time came, my grandchildren placed the whole apple pie in the middle of the table and handed everyone a spoon. All eyes were on me. I bravely stuck my spoon into the pie and began to eat. Every mouth around the table dropped open. Grandma had broken her rule of not eating after anybody as we continued to devour the entire pie.
Simple things mean so much to your grandchildren. And even though the spontaneity element makes it fun, any time with them makes them feel special.
What fun thing can you do today to surprise your grandchildren?
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Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, writing coach, and personality consultant. Author of Articles, Articles, Articles!, the LINKED Quick Guides to Personalities series, and over a thousand magazine articles, Linda loves to share a great story almost as much as she loves playing with her grandchildren! Learn more at LindaGilden.com
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