Spend the Day With Grandma and Grandpa

By Pam Molnar

It is no surprise to hear that families today are busier than the generations before them. After work and school, soccer and dance class, we don’t have very much free time. Even our time to visit with Grandma and Grandpa is limited these days. As a result, our children are missing out on the family stories and traditions of the generations before them.

I often tell my kids to live in the moment. Life is full of moments and opportunities to make new memories, but at our current pace, we often miss them. It is the moments in our lives that help us to make connections and strengthen our relationships. Don’t wait for another moment to pass. Cancel your plans, gather your kids and head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Make the effort to restore the lost the art of just spending time together.

Pass down a tradition
Ask Grandma to share something from her childhood with your children. Whether it is a game, recipe or song, sharing with the next generation rekindles Grandma’s memories and creates new ones for your kids today. When my grandmother was a child her family made homemade raviolis every year before the holidays. Sharing that tradition with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren has allowed us to bond as we rolled, filled and had the occasional flour fight.

Get to know each other better
Make a list of questions that you may not know about each other and write it down in a journal. Try asking each person to share a memory from a common time in their lives. Start with the age of the youngest child in the house and move up to the next age until the only one sharing is Grandpa. For example, if the youngest is 6, start with a memory from the age of 6. If the next youngest is 10, then have everyone 10 and older share a memory from that time in their life. Don’t forget to bring the video camera to capture this wonderful moment.

Shake up your family tree
Ask Grandpa to tell you the names of his parents, grandparents and siblings. You may discover family names that have been passed down for generations. Find out what part of the world your family comes from and when they arrived in this part of the country. If Grandpa speaks another language, ask him to teach you a few words. Does your family have any traditional clothes or music that has been hiding in the attic? Pull them out and tell their story.

Your family in pictures
Let Grandma be the tour guide down memory lane. Pop some popcorn and pull out the family movies. Dig to the back of the closet and dust off the photo albums. Your kids will love to see the house you grew up in and your childhood pets. Let them laugh at the crazy clothes you wore and the hairstyles of the day. Don’t forget to take out the baby pictures of each child and show them how much they have changed in just a few years.

Bring Grandma into this century
Ok, kids, it’s your turn. Bring Grandma a Tiger Beat magazine and gush with her over One Direction. Introduce her to Instagram. Show her how to play Just Dance on the Wii or Minecraft on Xbox. Explain what emojis are and send her a few via text. The technology of today, while part of our kids’ every day, is mind blowing to our parents and grandparents.

Take silly pictures
End the day on a high note. Set up a back drop with a sheet and decorative lights. Print out photo booth prop templates like eyeglasses, hats and mustaches or use some items from a box of dress up clothes. Take multiple pictures of your family being silly for the day. Preserve today’s memories by framing those pictures and displaying them in a special spot in your home. Every time you pass you will be reminded that fun can be shared by family of all ages if we just take the time.


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