Admit it. You had a favorite grandparent. Your children had their favorite, too. So it’s not unreasonable to assume your children’s children will also have a favorite grandparent. And wouldn’t it be irresponsible to leave their choice to whim or fate?If you want to come out on top in the cut-throat competition for your grandchild’s affections... Click To TweetIf you want to come out on top in the cut-throat competition for your grandchild’s affections, you can kill the field of candidates (Naturally, I’m speaking figuratively. Sort of.) by following these five simple, but foolproof, methods.
Let’s face it, familiarity also breeds comfort. So, as much as possible, be in their lives. Whether you live near or far apart, do the best you can to have a physical presence. Have a virtual presence if distance constrains you and learn to Skype. Make sure your face is in the pictures of special events throughout their lives. The biggest part of leaving a legacy as a grandparent is simply showing up. However, if you feel you are at a disadvantage to the competition in proximity, don’t give up! There are more steps.
Engage In Conversation
There’s a short list of people in your grandchild’s life who are truly interested in listening to what they have to say. Put yourself at the top of that list. Hear their concerns and address them seriously. Listen to their wishes and plans. Become a student of who they are as a person, not by interrogating them, but through natural conversation. This forges deep attachment.
New grandparents may try buying their way into a grandchild’s affections. Rookie mistake. Kids break or wear out stuff with lightning speed. The things you buy them today will likely be forgotten next week. What stays with a child all their life? The things you teach them – especially skills. You probably have memories of things your grandparents taught you – to fish, or knit, or play a particular card game. Give your grandchild the lasting gift of a skill and memory made with you.
It’s possible to do the previous steps and still be a grump. Children are grump averse. So look for opportunities to sincerely praise your grandchild and spare them criticism. Keep your temper and tongue in check. If the child is in your care, make sure any necessary correction is gracious and instructive. Let your own grown child be the primary disciplinarian. You did your time as a corrections officer.
Be Legacy Minded
You want to be an easy-going grandparent, but you also want to be intentional. Think now of how you want to be remembered later. Legacies build over time, so begin now. If you want to be remembered as a strong, godly, and cheerful grandparent, then demonstrate with consistency the value you place on those qualities. Make it obvious to your grandchild through your conversation and behavior. Because, good or bad, everyone leaves a legacy to the generations that follow. Don’t be careless about yours.
Becoming the favorite grandparent isn’t the goal (again, sort of) as much making sure grandparents invest in the life of each grandchild. Because every child should know the love of a present, engaged, instructional, kind, and legacy-minded grandparent.