Monday, August 27, 2012

The Greatest Gifts to Give a Grandchild

These are excellent excerpts from Creative Homemaking for Happy Living, Relief Society Homemaking Booklet, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984.  Barbara Winder was the General Relief Society President and her counselors were Jay Evans and Joanne Doxey.  This article was written by Elma S. Bradshaw.

  • Get down on the floor and talk to them face to face at that eye level (it helps to see things from that point of view).
  • Make it a habit to attend the events in which the grandchild participates, such as: swimming, baseball, football, cheer, gymnastics...
  • Let your grandchild practice a speech or instrumental number before you prior to the big performance.
  • Grandchildren love to show you how far they can jump, how fast they can read, or how high they can climb--be interested!
  • Listen--really listen--with your ears, eyes, and heart to a teen grandchild who has a problem.

Give the Gift of Self-Worth

They like to feel important and to have evidence that what has been done or said is of value:

  1. Display drawings on the refrigerator door or kitchen wall.
  2. Compliment them in the presence of others.
  3. Hire them to wash your car and then lavish with praise for their efforts.
  4. Provide opportunities to succeed in a variety of tasks and activities.
  5. Write your grandchild a letter on their birthday and list all the special qualities they have for which you admire.
  6. Share useful skills such as sewing and building, cooking, etc.

Give the Gift of Heritage

Everyone wants to know who they are and who they belong to.  Grandparents are children's bridges to the past:

  1. Write letters (or prepare a taped message if they live in a distant city).  Tell them what you did as a child when you were their age.
  2. Write your life story.  Give copies to your married children with instructions to share your story with their children.
  3. Share your old photo album with a grandchild--tell about the people in the pictures and encourage him/her to start keeping a picture album.
  4. Help your young teen-aged grandchildren to prepare their Books of Remembrance.  Be sure you are also preparing yours so that you can be an example to them.
  5. Take them with you to do research--help them to find themselves and their parents on church personal history website (or
  6. Write the histories of your own mother and father (their great-grandparents); then hold a Family Home Evening with your married children, at which time you can read the history you have compiled.
  7. Take your grandchildren with you to decorate the graves of their relatives and ancestors.  A short meeting at the gravesite can be used to explain the relationship of each person buried there.

Give the Gift of Teaching

Most grandparents have a little more discretionary time than the parents of their grandchildren, so:

  1. Teach a child to tell time.
  2. Teach a child to tie his shoe.
  3. Teach a child to count his money and figure up the tithing owed the Lord.
  4. Teach a child to spell new words.
  5. Teach a child to pound nails into a block of wood.
  6. Teach a child to plant a garden.
  7. Teach a child how to cook his favorite food.
  8. Teach a child a new art or craft.
  9. Teach a teenage grandchild how to shop wisely in the supermarket.  Compare brands, prices, quality, and sizes.
  10. Teach a child a new song.
  11. Teach a child to recite a poem, a nursery rhyme, or to repeat a special story.
  12. Teach a child that Heavenly Father loves him.

Give the Gift of Creativity

Creativity begins with the stimulation of the brain at a very early age in children.  Giving even a small baby a variety of interesting things to look at, listen to, touch, feel, and manipulate helps him to store many different images and ideas in his mind which he can draw on in later life.  It's worth the time, mess and expense to have creative memories with grandchildren.

  1. Many creative experiences cost little or nothing.  Many art museums are free to the public.  Look for activity books in the local library and choose activities that use many of the items found in a kitchen.
  2. Discuss how things look, feel, sound, and smell by stressing details and differences in color, shape, texture, and size, and by giving simple explanations of how things work.  Encourage discovery and curiosity.  Children need lots of different experiences to expand creative potential.

More Good Grandparenting Tips

Here are few more not found in this article from Creative Homemaking for Happy Living:

  • Let children's ideas be expressed in a non-threatening atmosphere.
  • Help children to accept change and be flexible.
  • Help children learn that some problems have no easy answers.  Be willing to say, "I don't know."
  • Teach children how to solve problems and look for more than one solution--to brain storm ideas.
  • Reward children for being creative, however, they must learn that good work is sometimes its own reward.
  • Help children find joy through their creative efforts and problem solving--It is fun!
  • Allow children to be "an original."  This makes them authentic.  It's okay to have your own style, ideas, opinions.  We are more interesting when we are allowed to be unique.
  • Appreciate children who stick with a project when everyone else has moved on.  Find ways to encourage this behavior and identify it in the student's work.

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