From baking a batch of chocolate cookies, to building a cubby house or embarking on a camping and fishing adventure, passing on passions and skills is one of the most rewarding parts of being a grandparent. Grandparents are essentially made-to-order mentors and have a very special responsibility to share wisdom, pass on knowledge and enrich the lives of little ones.
Sharing passions can be an incredibly rewarding way to bond with your grandkids and pass down your personal skills and interests. If you love birdwatching why not treat your budding birdwatcher to a pair of binoculars and plan monthly visits to your local sanctuary? If you love cooking or baking, encourage your little ones to join you in the kitchen and do everything you can to nurture their inner sous chef. Try not to be too disappointed if your hobby doesn’t spark the same passion in your grandkids as it does for you. Every person is different and if a particular hobby doesn’t spark interest simply move on to another.
Values and ethics
While personal passions and hobbies are fantastic things to pass on to your grandchildren, intangible skills like generosity, compassion and a sense of community are invaluable. If you want to help your grandkids grow into model citizens, why not try immersing them in meaningful activities that will help shape them as people? Spend an afternoon door knocking for a charity of their choice, organise a weekend beach clean-up or simply teach them about the importance of saying please and thank you, practising generosity and learning to respect others.
The importance of quality time
Often, simply spending quality time together and grandparent and grandchild can be more powerful than proactive mentoring. Whether it’s watching your favourite movies on a Friday night, an after-school trip to the museum or an extravagant weekend camping trip, spending time together can be a great way to share your interests and learn about theirs.
Lead by example
Leading by example is often one of the most effective ways to teach your grandkids valuable life skills and lessons. This can be as simple as making an effort to say hello to the supermarket cashier, make eye contact and ask how their day is going, or as complex as inviting them along to a charity event and teaching them the value of giving back.
Get tech savvy
Want to leave an impression on your grandkids but finding it hard due to geographical hurdles? Get tech savvy and try grandkid-friendly mediums like FaceTime, WhatsApp, iMessage and Skype.
Mentoring grandchildren is a journey and will inevitably come with highs and lows. Remember, engaging grandkids and building relationships is always a process so take things slow, don’t put on too much pressure and always try to approach mentoring with a genuine passion.