We’re all about being realistic and frugal. In this article we’re looking for practical ways that grandparents can positively Influence their grandchildren – some of these ideas are amazing!
We asked our Facebook friends how they’ve seen Grandparents influence Grandchildren in a positive way. Our goal was to build a brainstormed list of ideas to encourage grandparents to be active participants in their grandchild’s life.
If your child’s grandparents (your in-laws or parents) could help your family with their financial and relational resources, what would you wish for?
This list is full of positive and fantastic ideas. If you have an idea that isn’t listed, please send it through our contact form. We’ve love to include it.
1. Influence with Fun Activities
Grandparents who live near their grandchildren have an easier time growing a relationship with them. And while this is not true for all families, being in a close physical proximity sure helps.
FaceTime, Skype, or other video platforms can help to stay in touch. Social media platforms can certainly help with teenagers. If you live far away, do your best to visit at least once a year, even if you have to stay at an Airbnb or a hotel. And make sure you all enjoy experiences together like the zoo or an aquarium.
Elizabeth Kamm said: Lessons! Lessons are so enriching in a child’s life like learning piano, dance, or art. Also, swim classes help save lives! What a great gift for grandma & grandpa to pay for this and invest in their grandchildren!
Stephanie Hargrove Price said: I wish grandparents could help with our children’s activities and their cost! One in soccer and one in gymnastics PLUS hauling them to these things kills us! Oh, and also band and chorus, the “school” related things that still suck the money and life right out of me!
Natalie Pipkin Sanders said: Homeschooling activities – doing those with the grandchildren, transportation to and from activities, and anything in between!
Jennifer Jeldness Kimball says, “All the lessons, clubs and enrichment activities.” Those “extras” add up when you have multiple kids at the right ages for those things. Even something simple and inexpensive as scouts get to be too much when you’d like them to have the full uniform, the books, and the extras.
2. Influence by Babysitting
Grandparents who have or can make the time for more frequent contact with their grandchildren, in most cases, will have a closer relationship with them.
When divorce enters a family, contact with grandchildren can be affected. Just stay close to both of your grandchildren’s parents, and this could be minimized if it happens.
Amy Jordan said that “keeping the kids a few days a week would save us a great deal of $ on daycare.”
Selina McNelley said, “my parents fulfill a lot of things I need help with.” My mom is the babysitter most of the time and since she works for my dad she can take the kids to the office with her. It’s great since we have a newborn and most daycares here don’t take a child under 6 months. They also help with clothes and any other bigger purchases I need for the kids.
Candace Morris Van Horn said, “I wish the grandparents would be involved with my children. I wish they would attend any activity to show their support. I also wish they would spend time with the children.”
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3. Helping with Education
Rochelle North says, “Grandparents can help w/ private school tuition.”
Cheryl Solt-Jones said, “Grandparents can help with college expenses and create grandparent scholarships.”
Julie Mead said: Trust funds for college. Great for helping with student loans and school expenses.
Kelly Gilluly Weyd said: Nana has a college fund for each of my kids, and instead of buying all toys on birthdays and Christmas, she puts some money in the college funds.
4. The Power of Spending Time Together
Beth Nace Nothing tangible. Just support in teaching my children how to live on a budget. Everything else I want the satisfaction of doing and paying for myself….devoid of Mommy and Daddy’s help!
Linda Sweet said: It would be great if they could attend the kids’ activities. Also recipes and good financial advice.
Carla Parazine said: When I was a young parent (long ago) it would have been nothing monetary, (cause looking at some of these posts I think you all are doing way too much for and not spending enough time with) but just as my parents did, time, love, attention, wisdom, memories, moral direction were what my heart desired…and they came through perfectly. Thanks, mom and dad.
Melodee Campbell said: I am blessed with lovingly involved parents, mother-in-law, and grandmother. For 14+ years, one or another of them has offered to: take the (4) kids overnight at least once a month (not always at the same time!), help cover the costs of activities, take the kids back-to-school shopping, provide a loving presence at activities when my husband or I cannot be there, stayed with younger siblings so that we can spend focused time with the older kids. We have SO appreciated this support and the extra hands. Our kids would not be able to be involved in the many activities they have enjoyed without this family! This IS what I would wish for! 🙂
Rhonda Casa de Gatos said: my mom is very involved with our kids. Wish in-laws would be more involved with their grandchildren and support our decision to homeschool, or at the very least stop asking my son if he wants to go back to school almost every single time they come to our house.
More Ways Grandparents Give Time
Gloria Jeanette Sloane Glass said: I would love to have family be more involved, help teach grandkids life lessons, to be a good moral person, to have character and become a respectable person, My husband and I have 11 children and no family around. The Grandparents that were involved and helped (mine) have passed away and hubby’s family is not involved with any of our family.
Becky Hurt King, We love my grandchildren and we give them all the love we can. But we don’t have much else, just love and experiences, that is ALL a grandparent should ever do. Just hug and kiss on your grandkids until they giggle. We don’t buy them gifts either. I give them trips to the beach for clamming or tickets to a high school play. They have so much stuff, they never appreciate all the toys. So I give them “ME.” Someday they will figure out the differences between their Nanas and Papas.
Grandparents have a wonderful opportunity to play games with their grandchildren. They can have fun together and teach healthy sportsmanship as well.
5. Influencing with Financial Assistance
Lisa Collins Irvine said: Well, my mom already helps pay for music lessons and when we have had to repair something with the house. As far as relational, she is always there for all of us!
Marlene Mahon-Duncan said: humm…all the money that my in-laws spends on “Stuff” for the kids, Easter baskets, Halloween junk etc. Take and put in a fund for something BIG like a weekend in a nearby city, or a FAMILY trip to Disney. Then the memories with the grandkids will be bigger and better vs trips to the dollar store.
Bo Fleisch said: My grandparents always started a savings account in each grandchild’s name with a little money in it.
Nicole Manning Asmus said, “In a great message by Tim Kimmel – family author, he talked about being a hand up not a handout.” The wisdom that we have been blessed by our family as the economy has hit us hard. Unfortunately, we are in the housing industry.
6. Giving Emotional Help and Support
Grandparents often have the time to invest in their grandchildren’s lives. As grandparents age, their friends and close relatives die, leaving them with more emotional energy for their grandchildren. Many times a youngster will share things with a grandparent that they would never share with a parent. Don’t take this information lightly, it is precious indeed.
Pam Carswell said: My best friend’s parents offered to pay the filing fee on her divorce if she and her husband would attend 8 sessions of marital counseling before calling it quits. I am happy to say the couple reconciled and payment was unneeded. What wisdom and help.
7. Influence with Wisdom
Grandparents have a wonderful opportunity to teach values to their grandchildren. It is easier to have a closer relationship when values are the same. But as long as your grown kids don’t mind you emphasizing things like honesty, work ethic, kindness and such with your grandkids, you should be fine in this area.
When a family has a concept of normalcy, which means that several generations are involved in a family, then close relationships are possible. Not only are they possible, but they are expected. Caregiving for the young and the elderly, are not seen as obligations, but as privileges.
Becky Klinesmith Armstrong said: They’ve been good examples of what NOT to do, as they hear of bad decisions and we talk to them about it – in generalities – we don’t tear down the person, but discuss the decision.
Selina McNelley said: my parents, my dad mostly, is encouraging and supportive of my wanting to open up college savings accounts for my kids. I’m an adult now (obviously) but remember my grandparents helping me get my first job. Besides getting paid to help them in the garden at the farm, grams helped me get a waitressing job in town when I was 15. Gramps educated me on the importance of college, financial stability, and what I should do when I have my own family.
Heather Brodie Morgan said that the only thing we ask for is their wisdom. The experiences they have been through is enough to share with our daughter. We don’t wish for them to help us in any monetary way. I am a firm believer that it is our responsibility to provide for our child. My parents did their job when they raised us. It is their money to enjoy and spend as they wish on themselves.
8. Additional Ways That Grandparents Influence Grandchildren
Genealogy & Family History
What is the story of how your family came to America? Are you first, second, third generation immigrant or more? Draw a family tree together, and identify all the aunts, uncles, cousins and of course, grandparents. Make a photo album of distant relatives, and label the old black and white family photos.
Our 2 daughters learned how to machine sew by Annette’s mom. Nana also taught them baking and cooking. Steve’s mom taught piano to the grandchildren that lived nearby.
Annette’s dad taught handyman skills such as drywall, building things, painting and electrical to Steve and to our oldest so John. Steve’s dad encouraged John’s rock collecting by buying him an adult rock tumbler.
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World History & U.S. History
Many Grandparents and great grandparents have lived through The Great Depression or World War II. Annette lost an Uncle on both sides of her family, and one Uncle even fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
You might have a family member that took part in some Martin Luther King Rallies, been part of Japanese Internment Camps during WWII or were involved in Korea, Viet Nam or Desert Storm.
The history of this country is rich and vast, Grandparents have experienced so much of it. Grandparents love to tell stories, so childhood memories are just fascinating to listen to.