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Connecting Grandparents and Grandchildren

The first Sunday after Labor Day is a special day. That’s the date we celebrate National Grandparents Day—a day that’s dedicated to grandparents the world over.

“Grandparents are absolute treasures to their families, particularly their grandchildren,” says Pamela Klapproth, CEO of Kendal on Hudson, a not-for-profit Life Plan Community serving older adults in the Quaker tradition in Sleepy Hollow, NY. “And the reverse is also true. The bond between grandparents and kids is incredibly special, and Grandparents Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that connection and spend quality time together.”

Grandparents connecting with grandchildren is a gift for all ages, no matter how old or young they (or you) are. This Grandparents Day, here are some great suggestions for both grandparents and grandchildren to connect with each other.

Ways for Grandparents To Connect with Kids

Plan some one-on-one time.
Often, grandparents and grandchildren may only see each other during big family gatherings, like birthdays, Christmas or Thanksgiving. If you live away from your grandchildren, visits can also be busy and involve a lot of people. A great way to break that cycle and celebrate the special grandparent bond is by scheduling one-on-one time with each grandchild. If you live in the same town as them, this can be fairly easy: go out for lunch, attend a sporting event or do anything else you enjoy doing. You can still have one-on-one time with faraway grandchildren, too. Schedule a regular Skype or Zoom call to chat, play online games together or even watch a movie together via “watch parties” through Netflix.

Share your hobbies and passions.
What are the things you love to do? Do you enjoy baking, quilting, woodworking or reading? Whatever your favorite thing to do, sharing that love with your grandchildren is a great way to connect. By teaching them a new hobby and having them participate with you, you’re creating a legacy and, hopefully, a lifelong love. Your grandchildren will also get a chance to learn about you a little more.

Participate in their hobbies and passions.
As you’re sharing your favorite things with your grandchildren, why not pick up on some of theirs? Whether that’s soccer, video games or any other hobby, having them teach you about their favorite things will help you stay young and get grandkids even more excited to spend time with you.

Adjust activities according to age.
Connecting toddlers to grandparents is quite different than connecting teens to grandparents. Still, there’s no reason why grandkids can’t enjoy the same activities, as long as they’re age-appropriate. For example, writing letters to each other is a great way to connect. A toddler or younger child may choose to send a drawing, while a teen can use a wide variety of mediums to share their thoughts. 

Ways for Kids To Connect with Grandparents

Offer to help.
Have you ever asked yourself, “how can we help our grandparents?” Children helping grandparents can take many forms. It can be assisting with tasks, doing errands for them or even just spending time with them.

Record their stories.
Grandparents have lots of interesting stories. Preserve those stories for all time by recording them or writing them down in a book. Ask about their childhood, favorite memories and life lessons they’ve learned throughout the years. This can be an ongoing project that both you and your grandparents will enjoy for years to come.

Learn something new together.
Learning new things is fun, and it’s even more fun when you have someone to do it with. Pick a hobby or take a class that interests both you and your grandparents. Or look for how-to videos online and you may come across something fascinating that you’d never heard of before.

The connection between grandchild and grandparents is a special bond that is unmatched by anything else. This Grandparents Day—or any day—is a perfect time to celebrate these very special people in your life. Although these ideas should give you a starting point, it’s also good to remember that it doesn’t necessarily matter what you do … as long as you’re doing it together.

Together, Transforming the Experience of Aging.®

Founded on Quaker principles and guided by our values and practices, Kendal on Hudson provides a vibrant, active and social lifestyle on our 25-acre campus next to the historic Hudson River. As the only Life Plan Community in Westchester County, we offer five levels of service for our residents: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Kendal on Hudson is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. Kendal on Hudson is an affiliate of The Kendal Corporation, a system of communities and services for older people based in Kennett Square, PA. We support diversity, inclusiveness, and independence and support the values and practices of Kendal by remaining focused on healthy aging. Located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, just 35 miles from New York City, we offer a vibrant lifestyle, cultural programs, continued learning and health care for life.For more information, please call 866-KENDALNY.