4 Life Lessons Every Grandparent Should Teach Their Grandkids

These core values give kids a great foundation for living a successful life

By Jennifer Kelly Geddess

Setting a good example for your grandchildren may seem like a no-brainer, but grandparents are uniquely positioned to teach some real life skills.

“Often grandparents can spend more quiet time with grandkids than parents, so this is a great opportunity to pass along a little wisdom,” suggests Karen Wrolson, M.S., a life coach and founder of Excite Ed!, an educational and motivational consultancy. Sitting, talking and really listening to your grandchildren as you share life lessons can make a big difference in how they live their lives—and often they’ll listen to you when they won’t listen to their parents. Four lessons you should teach…>>

Lesson #1: Life isn’t always easy

What it teaches: Empathy. Tuning in to another person’s perspective is at the heart of empathy—and when taught correctly it might prevent future bullying.

How to begin: Doing a good turn for others is a classic way to explain empathy and also make a difference in your community. “Set up a regular volunteer activity so your grandchild can learn about people in need and see that he has the ability to change someone’s life for the better,” says Wrolson. Raking a neighbor’s leaves every week, helping to build a wheelchair ramp at a church or packing care bags for women and kids in a homeless shelter are just a few ways to start. As you work, share a time when you were in need of help or understanding. Your hard-earned experience on the receiving end of empathy makes the lesson real to your grandkids.

Lesson #2: Be thankful for everything

What it teaches: Gratitude. It’s more than just saying ‘thanks’ when someone hands you something. Strive to teach kids to appreciate all they have.

How to begin: “Have your grandchild thank people fully, going beyond a simple ‘thanks’, and express why they like the gift or how they’ll use it,” says Wrolson. Make a greater impact by reviving the ancient art of the thank-you note—still an important skill in the digital age—and help her to pen one. You could also make a point of expressing gratitude when you’re together, even for the smallest pleasures (green lights on the road, beautiful sunshine, a smile at the grocery store).

Lesson #3: Treat others as you would want to be treated

What it teaches: Respect. It’s admiration and kindness rolled into one, and a little bit goes a long way. It’s also a cool song (play it and dance together!).

How to begin: Talk about respecting everyone, including teachers, cashiers, store clerks, and then model it for your grandchild, insists Wrolson.

Respect means listening carefully when someone speaks, looking that person in the eye and extending common courtesy (holding the door, offering a seat). It also covers personal property, so remind your grandchild to pick up toys so others won’t trip and fall and to put the sweatshirt she borrowed from her brother in his dresser, rather than leave it on the floor. This behavior can sometimes be forgotten from generation to generation so bring it back when you’re together.

Because you’ve spent a longer life learning how to deal with people, you can demonstrate the advantages that come with showing respect. And whatever you do, curb your own comments and generalizations (‘cops are never where you need them’ or ‘kids today don’t understand anything’). These remarks label groups unfairly.

Lesson #4: Lying won’t get you anywhere

What it teaches: Honesty. Telling the truth, even when it’s unpopular, is the hardest lesson of all.

How to begin: Everyone’s lied and regretted it so bring up a misgiving or two from your past and explain how you would have done things differently if you’d known better. Of course it’s tempting to fib here and there, but even the littlest of kids can detect an untruth. Avoiding a scary topic or whitewashing for safety reasons is bound to happen, though much of the time honesty can and should rule the roost.

Teach truthfulness by sticking to your word. Kids will remember if you don’t do what you promised (i.e., take them to the park after nap time) and might view you as dishonest. Also explain why honesty is important and what can happen to trust if a child gets caught in a lie. The other side of this lesson is to praise your grandkid when he admits to doing something he shouldn’t have. Covering up a mistake or bad behavior is a natural tendency, so be sure to let him know how proud you are that he came to you with the truth.

 

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How to Raise Happy, Self-Confident Children

The world can be a stressful place, but it doesn’t have to affect you and your family. Here are some of the best ways to raise happy children who will be ready to take on the world with a smile on their face If you want to be a successful parent, you need to take time to fully understand what your children need in order to be self-confident, happy, and healthy. Here some tips that can help you be that successful parent ~

Make Your Child a Priority

Some parents show their children how much they love and value them by working hard and providing for their families. This is a wonderful thing to do, but children don’t always realize that it is for them. The most precious item that you can ever give your kids is your time. That includes reading books aloud with them, or in the case of younger children, having them read their favorite stories to you. It also includes sharing your stories and adventures with them. You can talk to them about what mommy and daddy were like when you first met, or what you did when when you were a child. Stepping away from work every night and having dinner with your family shows how much you value them. Simply showing up for a school play, every once in a while, is also great. When your child gets older, they will value the experiences they had with you more than the memory of the latest and greatest toy they had. Be physical with your children. Hold your children, touch them, kiss them. When your children know that they are loved by you, then they will learn to love themselves. That includes learning to feel good about themselves, to feel attractive, and to lived confident happy lives.

Empower Your Child

Allow your child some freedom; let them try things on their own. For instance, small children may love sorting socks, children in elementary school may like picking out new fruits and vegetables at the store, and older children may want to try their hand at cooking. Keep your child safe, but also allow them to try new things with your support. It will help them enhance their self-esteem, feel a little freedom, and learn how to take care of their own problems. This will help both you and your child in the future.

Help Your Child Learn

Children spend a large amount of time at school, and doing homework. If they are fall behind, it means that time spent in the classroom will likely be stressful. Help them out by sitting with them as they do their homework, and answering questions. If they are behind, try not to make them more stressed about the situation. Since many subjects build on previous knowledge, they may just need a refresher on a previously covered topic. They can easily bounce back with your help.  Your kids learn by example, so if you want your children to be healthy, fit, attractive, and kind – then you need to live that way yourself. You want to show your kids that the two most important people in their lives, mommy and daddy, share a happy and healthy life, eat well, and loving communication. Children want to feel proud of their parents – and it’s part of your job to make them feel proud.

Teach Your Child Balance

Get involved in activities that your kids are interested in. Whatever age your children are, start to enthusiastically play with them during these activities. Whether it’s spending a few moments hand-painting with them, or throwing around the ball each afternoon. If you have teenagers then spend time talking about their interests. It’s easy to keep putting this off – so don’t procrastinate, start today! If your child shows interest in an activity, help them pursue this activity. Karate lessons, playing the piano, soccer games, they are a great way to get your child involved in a new activity. It also lets them meet other children, and follow their passion. But be careful not to let your child (or yourself) get overwhelmed. Following passions is great, but your child will also need to relax once in a while. Teaching your child how to unwind can be just as valuable as driving them to yet another lesson. Planning a family movie night or a fun outing can show your child that they can work hard, and then play hard too.

Limit How Often Your Child Sits in Front of the TV…Or Computer

Children cannot always process the graphic images they see on TV or the computer. They may be watching a perfectly innocent show, but the commercials in between may contain graphic images. You may be watching the weather when the next story is about a murder. These images are difficult to avoid completely. However by limiting your child’s exposure, you can limit what they see. Try spending more time interacting with your child. As a bonus, interacting with your child is a lot better for their development than any educational game, video, or device. In a simple conversation over dinner, your child picks up new vocabulary, learns how to form sentences, and absorbs more about life (and their parents) in general.

Set a Good Example

If you have a case of road rage in the car while on the way to school, the other drivers will likely not hear what you say, but your child in the backseat is definitely listening. Having an overall positive attitude will set a good example for your child. Children often emulate their parents when they grow up and start their own families. If you want your child to have successful relationships, show them how to do so by treating your husband or wife with love and respect. Also, bring them along as you gather coats for the homeless, or simply let them see you dance around the living room. Being a day-to-day role model for your children will help them lead a happy life. It’s critically important to be honest with your kids, at all times. When you show them that you have integrity and are respectful with honesty, they will want to emulate that aspect of you. Start listening more attentively to your children. You want them to have absolutely no doubt that you are genuinely interested in them, their feelings, and their lives.

Be open and friendly to your child’s friends, and encourage them to hang out at your house. Many parents are uptight, and have too many rules that will make your child’s friends feel unwelcome, and in turn will damage your own child’s self-esteem. But, if you show your child that their friends are welcome and that you accept their choice of friends in the home, then that sends a message of acceptance and trust of about their decisions. When you believe in your children then they will learn to believe in themselves.

20 Ways to “Reset” When the Kids Are Having a Hard Day

by LISA on FEBRUARY 22, 2012
Deep Breath
I call out, “Deep breath!” Then everyone stands up and we all take long, slow breaths while we raise our hands over our heads. Then we let the air out slowly while we lower our arms. The whole movement is very slow and purposeful. We might do that a few times, then go back to our regular day.

Jumping Jacks
We all stop what we are doing and do 20 jumping jacks. This is especially good when they seem to have extra energy and need to use it. It’s hilarious to see the littler ones trying to coordinate their arms and legs

The Color Game
If its not raining I take a stack of construction paper (each piece a different color), some tape and some tacks (I used to leave these in a drawer by the front door) and take it all outside. I tack or tape a whole piece of the paper to trees, the car, a bush, the front door….making sure they are spread out but I can see all of the colors from my chair (that I have set in the middle of it all). Then I sit in the chair and gather all of the kids around me and I say, “Ready……RED!” Then they have to find the red paper and run to it. Once they are all there I call out another color and we keep doing it until they are exhausted. Sometimes I modify the game by calling a kid’s name with a color. You can let the older ones go faster with this version.

Play Stations in the Kitchen
Fill the sink half full with water & utensils, fill a 9×13 pan with rice, another with straws, a plastic bowl with beans. Set it all on the kitchen counter (table, whatever) and set the timer for 5 minutes. They play at each station for only 5 minutes then they switch. You stay in the kitchen
with them the whole time giving attention to their made up games. In 20 minutes it’s over.

Emergency Toys
I keep toys tucked high up in a closet for just such an occasion. Pull them out of the closet and set the timer for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off….the toys get put away for at least a month. That’s the only way they will work the next time.

Play a Game
We’ll all sit and play something unbelievably dull, like Go Fish or a simple board game. Sometimes all they need is for you to stop and give them your full attention for 15 minutes.

Music
Music is a-MAZing for this kind of problem. If I don’t have the time to play games or make pans of rice in the kitchen, I will turn on some fun kid music and we’ll all dance around to one song. Mommy dances too (and Daddy if he’s home). One song can reset everyone’s attitude.

Tear Paper
Sometimes we all just need to do something wild and completely unexpected. So I will give each child 3 pieces of construction paper and we’ll stand in a circle and when I say, “GO!” we all start tearing up our paper and throwing it on the floor. We jump around and scream and laugh and giggle and fall down and throw the paper around for about 5 minutes. Then I say, “STOP!” and we have to clean it up as quickly and silly as we can.

Lie on the Grass
Often, when it’s not too wet, cold, hot….we go outside and lie on the grass. Everyone takes turns telling what they see in the clouds or, if there’s no cloud, I will ask them a question and we take turns answering. Sometimes we will do it on the trampoline instead of the grass.

Baths
These are not get-clean baths. These are play-baths. 15 minutes in the tub with a few toys and no washing hair. Just time to stop everything and play in the water.

Read a Book
If everyone is tired I will grab a book and read it aloud in an unusual way…with an accent, like a monster, while acting it out, hanging upside down off of the couch….something that makes it different.

Hold Hands
Sometimes everyone just needs Mom for a few minutes. So we’ll hold hands and walk around, outside if possible but inside works too. I’ll say something like, “Tell me what you liked about today,” and we’ll walk and talk and touch for a few minutes.

Quizzes
I’ll line them up in front of me and zing them with questions. They have to answer really quickly and if they take too long I say, “Zing!” and they have to fall down and get back up again. (If you’re not feeling creative, just think of a favorite book or movie and ask them questions about
that, “What’s the name of the character that_____,” “Who had the last line in the movie?” “What color was ____ wearing when she was running?”, etc.) This is especially good for nursing moms that need to sit for a few minutes and the older kids are needing attention.

Color Their Name
I write their name in really big, puffy letters and they get 3 Crayons to color it in. No sharing, no trading…just 3 colors…GO! If they like to write, they can draw your name and you color it.

Have a Snack

You sit with them and talk for just a few minutes. Don’t set them down and walk off. Just sit there for a few minutes and toast your glasses together and say, “To a better day!” and eat a little something.

The Whisper Game
I say, “Let’s plat the Whisper Game!” and set the timer for 5-10 minutes. That whole time you sit and talk but everyone has to whisper. Do what you can to make it silly and animated, like lean to their ears or tiptoe around the room while you’re whispering.

Animals
I sit on the couch and and gather them around, with an arm length between them. Then I call out animals and they have to act like that animal until I change the animal. I might switch it up by calling out a specific child’s name with an animal.

Slow Down
This one is good to do after any of the other activities. We all move and talk in slow motion. I will walk around and they follow me and do what I do….all in slow motion. Then I give them turns being the leader. This is fun, but it takes the energy back down and you’re ready to go back to normal

Drink Something Green
I put green food coloring in either lemonade or water. I gather everyone in the kitchen and give everyone a glass of “Green Goop” and we all drink it at the same time. We drink it as fast as we can and be silly. If it’s been a really rough day, burping is a must.

Crawling
I have everyone put shoes on their hands and crawl around until I say stop. Then they have to freeze like a statue until I say go. Sometimes I’ll call out pieces of furniture for them to crawl to. We’ll do this for about 15 minutes then stop and put the shoes away.

The Mystery Game
Fill a few “lidded” cups with 10 mystery items each (I use leftover yogurt containers). In the first cup put 10 beans, in another 10 toothpicks, in the third put 10 cotton balls, and so on. Cheerios, rocks, paper clips, macaroni, marshmallows, Cheetos, safety pins, etc. In a separate bowl put one of each item (a bean, a toothpick, a Cheerio, etc. all in the same bowl). Put lids on the cups and line them on the counter. The child has to figure out what is in the cup by shaking it and taking the matching item out of the bowl and setting it on the cup lid. Once they have figured it all out they can eat the little snacks in the cups. If you have more than one child doing it, they can take turns or you can make a set for each child.

Yarn Obstacle Course
Place several chairs together in a random pattern around the room. Using a ball of yarn, wind the yarn from chair to chair. The children must stand in one corner of the room and get to the opposite corner, touching every chair but not touching the yarn. Once everyone has made it all the way across, you cut all of the yarn into little pieces and they have to throw the pieces away as quickly as possible only carrying one piece of yarn at a time.

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©2012 The Anchor Group

Hello world!

A little bit about my credentials. I have successfully raised 3 children; 2 boys & 1 girl. They are almost 30 now and 2 have children of their own. I currently live with a 4 yr. old.

This blog is the result of not only living with a young child again, but is also from a recent conversation I’ve had. Yes indeed, I have little nuggets of wisdom to share.

Thank you for all who will join in the conversation of this blog. I am not here to preach AT you, but to share with you what I learned from raising kids, first as part of a couple, and later as a single parent. The core truths are the same no matter what the makeup of your families are.