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15 Tips for New Grandparents

Linda Gilden

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Published Jan 23, 2024
15 Tips for New Grandparents

One of the most significant milestones in your life is becoming a grandparent. A new generation has been added to your family, and you have entered a season of life that is so wonderful you could never imagine it. That new grandchild will change your life and give you glimpses of God in every smile.

One of the most significant milestones in your life is becoming a grandparent. A new generation has been added to your family, and you have entered a season of life that is so wonderful you could never imagine it. That new grandchild will change your life and give you glimpses of God in every smile.

1. Pray. If you are a believing grandparent, you have no doubt been praying for this baby and the parents much longer than you have known him or her. When the baby finally comes, you hold that answer to your prayers in your arms and marvel at God's handiwork. You felt somewhat the same way when the doctor put your own babies in your arms, but something about the tiny little extension of your family to the next generation brings tremendous emotion.

Your prayers don't stop now that the baby is here. In fact, the older your grandchild gets, the more they need our prayers to cover them constantly. The world they are growing up in gets a little more difficult every year. We want our grandchildren to grow up in the world but not experience all the things of the world.

2. Play. Adult children love to see their parents enjoying their children. "I love to see you get down on the floor to play with the kids," one of my adult children said. 

You may think an infant is not ready to play yet. But you can sing to them; let them see the joy of the Lord in you. Play hand games where you can hold their hands in yours. Read books to them. Even when they are very young, they can enjoy just sitting in your lap. When they lay on a blanket for "tummy time," join them and let them look into your eyes while you are together on the blanket.

Toddlers enjoy playing ball, building with blocks, and learning to color – all things you can do with them. This is a good time to teach them to put away what they pull out to play. If you start early, the cleaning up just becomes part of the play session.

Since my grandchildren were young, we have had a running card game, so they are always ready to play when they come to my house. The sad thing is that as I have taught them, they have become much better players than me and can quickly beat me in a game of "Spit," "War," "Crazy Eights," and more. They also like board games now that they are older, which is fun and educational!

3. Support your grandchild. As your grandchildren grow, they need your support in everything they do. As they grow, there will be kindergarten graduations, soccer games, many sports events, music recitals, and so much more. Attend everything you can so the child feels your support and love. If you are not able to attend, ask for videos.

4. Support the new parents. New parents have many questions. When they ask a question, give them the best answer you can. It's best not to offer advice but to wait until it is requested. It will be received better.

Offer to babysit so they can have a "date night" or go to a Bible study. If they don't feel comfortable going out, bring them a gift card for dinner to be delivered and a rental movie so they can have time together. When the baby is older, they will become more comfortable leaving them with you for longer periods.

5. If you have a few hours, stop by your new parents' home and offer to watch the baby while Mom takes a nap or goes out for coffee with a friend. If you feel like you can, offer to babysit for short periods of time while Mom does errands. Most of the time, the new moms in our family opt for the nap!

6. Continually rejoice with the new parents over the precious gift from God they have been given. Compliment their efforts to be good parents. Brag on your grandchild to the parents and congratulate them for doing such a good job.

7. As the children get older, invite them to go out to supper with you or get ice cream. This will give parents a short break to regroup or get a chore done they have been wanting to accomplish.

8. Always keep their favorite snacks on hand (or the ingredients to make them). Two of our granddaughters always came through our door, and the first words they spoke were, "Can I have a "gilled" cheese?" I have actually taken foil-wrapped grilled cheese sandwiches to swim meets and other sporting events!

If You Don't Live Close By

senior woman happily watching video on laptop computer

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock-Studio

When grandchildren live across the country or the ocean, grandparents can find it challenging to grow their relationships. Thanks to technology, it's easier than ever to get to know your grandchildren no matter where you live.

9. If you have a computer, you probably have access to Zoom, which is a great way not only to hear their voices but to see them on the screen, and they can see you as well. They can tell you their news, and you can hear the growing maturity in their voices. Also, they can listen to you tell family stories of your family's history and be proud of the family God has given them.

10. When you call your grandchildren, you can also use Facetime on your phone or computer and have the same result as Zoom. Some families set up a weekly time to talk with their grandchildren. This is especially effective if your grandchildren are infants or toddlers.

Nana and Pop Pop are the grandparents of four boys. They have a standing Sunday night dinner "date" with their grandchildren. They watch them eat and sometimes eat their dinner at the same time. This practice allows them to see what their grandchildren like to eat and to participate in dinner table conversation. Once they get to preschool, they have lots to tell you and show you but often have a limit to the amount of time they want to sit and chat! It is also important for the new grandchild to see your face, especially when you live far away. That way, when you are together, they immediately recognize you.

11. These days, almost everyone has a computer. Computer games are plentiful; you can keep a running computer game with your grandchild, bringing you together and establishing a relationship. Plan an old-fashioned game of computer bingo. Grandpa can be the caller. Send everyone a bingo card by email. Offer prizes.

12. While your grandchild is young, you can hold up flashcards of family, objects, and food items and cheer loudly when they get them right.            

13. Have a fashion show. Let folks know in plenty of time what the theme will be. (Around elections, it can be patriotic, near a holiday, make that the theme, if it is someone's birthday, dress in something they would like.)

14. Send some things the old-fashioned way – in the mail. It is a real thrill for the grandchildren to go to the mailbox and find a package or letter with their name on it. Holidays are an especially good time to do this. Learn what their favorite snacks are and include a few of them.

15. Set up a photo-sharing program with your family. Children can easily share pictures of the grandchildren

Whether you live next door or thousands of miles away from your grandchildren, being a grandparent will quickly change your perspective on life. You will feel it is more fun to skip bridge club and babysit rather than the other way around. You'd rather go to the children's museum with the grandchildren than out to lunch with your cronies. But most of all, you will see glimpses of our Heavenly Father every time you are with grandchildren. You may hear words from God, feel His presence through a hug or touch, or see the reflection of the Father's love in a smile or big blue eyes.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Stock footage Soundstripe.com & Photo Canva.com

Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of writing and learn to use their writing to make a difference. Linda recently released Articles, Articles, Articles! and is the author of over a thousand magazine articles and 19 books including the new Quick Guides for Personalities. She loves every opportunity to share her testimony, especially through her writing. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!