Grandparents can be an emotional rock, a wise friend and a playful elder - the 'go-to person' when parents aren't available. Here are some tips for grandparents to build closer relationships with their grandkids:
Be in touch regularly.
That might mean Skyping or calling once a week, however you can connect with your grandkids. Don't just visit over the holidays.
Surprise them with outings.
Pick them up early in the day and take them on surprise outings; only the kids' parents know where they are going, such as to a baseball game, a kayak or fishing trip, or a visit to a kids' museum or animal shelter. It could be something they've never done before.
Use terms of endearment
. I call my granddaughter Keira 'Gumdrop' and I called my granddaughter Clara 'Cupcake.' My two young grandsons are 'Scooter' and 'Slugger.' When I say goodbye in person, in notes or on the phone, I always use the same phrase: 'I love you - big time!'
Encourage them to think outside the box.
I like to brainstorm ideas for solving problems like city traffic. There is a right answer that is safe, and there is a home run that has risks. I ask them, what is the home run? What does it look like?
Do things they wouldn't expect grandparents to do.
When I ran the New York City Marathon, my grandchildren couldn't stop talking to their friends about it.
Martin is a children's advocate and author who writes books with his granddaughter Keira Ely, including the bestsellers "The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels," and "SuperClara - A Young Girl's Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage."
He founded the nonprofit Bridge to a Cure Foundation to tear down the deadly barriers impeding the timely development of pediatric cancer treatments and cures.
Published with permission from RISMedia.