5 Tips to Be a Good Grandparent

A good grandparent seeks to share plans with their grandchildren, teach them lessons, and share experiences in a loving and complicit way.
5 Tips to Be a Good Grandparent
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 05 June, 2023

Undoubtedly, people who’ve had a good bond and have been able to enjoy their grandparents throughout their lives describe it as a wonderful experience. Grandfathers and grandmothers usually allow themselves to do with their grandchildren what they haven’t done with their children. Do you want to know some tips to be a good grandparent?

This relationship is lived in a different way, as there’s not a responsibility in the full sense of parenting, but rather an accompaniment and the freedom to explore the world hand in hand with grandchildren. Also, the arrival of grandchildren often finds grandparents in another stage of life–active but at a different pace, with other interests and other concerns.

If you want to be a good grandparent, here are some useful tips to cultivate the bond with your grandchildren.

How to be a good grandparent to my grandchildren?

Creating a connection with grandchildren is the dream of many grandparents, but not everyone knows how to do it. Especially in this digital age, where children prefer to spend more time in front of screens. Below, you can find some tips if you’re interested in knowing how to be a good grandparent.

1. Share anecdotes with your grandkids

Can you imagine what it’s like for your grandchildren when you tell them that in your day, you didn’t use cell phones to communicate? Or that to “save” a song you liked, you had to call the radio and ask them to play it on the air so you could record it on a tape player? Undoubtedly, many of the experiences you lived are interesting and attractive, as they reflect another era and may be surprising for your grandchildren.

Don’t deprive yourself of showing them another world. This not only enriches their view of life and helps them learn about other realities. Intergenerational exchange helps to keep traditions alive.

A grandfather and grandchild watching a movie together.

2. Make plans with them

To share with your grandchildren, you can generate your own moments of recreation and leisure, which don’t always imply the presence of your children. For example, you can take them to the park or to the movies, as a grandparent-grandchild plan. You can also ask them to help you prepare food or water the plants. Beyond the “what”, what matters is the quality of the time shared.

3. Have a “ritual” or a unique custom of your own with your grandchild

For example, “Pasta Thursdays” or “Movie Fridays.” This builds anticipation and expectation for that long-awaited day when you can share and have fun together. This is a great way to create a lasting connection that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

4. Show them your hobbies

Whether you’re interested in fishing or painting, you can share part of your world with your grandchildren. This way, you can also discover a new facet of that activity you love so much. Perhaps, thanks to you, they could be inspired in the future and follow your same hobbies.

5. Ask them about their interests and activities

If you’re wondering how to be a good grandparent, think about the basics: Get to know your grandchildren. Be a part of their lives, knowing what interests them, what they like, and dislike. Many times, grandchildren gain some trust and openness with grandparents rather than with parents.

This is because, sometimes, they fear the parents’ response. Therefore, as a grandparent, while you must take care of the trust your grandchild places in you, you can help them to understand their emotions, to think before acting, to reflect on their actions, and more.

It’s important that you respect their parents’ upbringing

It’s true that grandparents may have certain “allowances” or enable certain “whims” with their grandchildren. For example, when they have a sleepover, perhaps they’re quick to say yes to having chocolate before bedtime or a sweet soda. Therein lies the basis of this complicity, of this bond that’s so valued and life-changing for both of you.

However, as a grandparent, you must also be respectful of the type of upbringing your own children want to have with theirs. That is, it’s important that you know how to respect certain boundaries and avoid confronting or contradicting your child in front of your grandchild. You can teach them your values and you can transmit your knowledge, but always keep in mind that your children have a plan for your grandchildren.

A grandchild holding his grandfather's head in his hands.

A mutually beneficial relationship

The possibility of being grandparents or “grandparenting” with other children close to the family offers a bond with multiple benefits for both parties involved. The children develop in a loving environment, while the grandparents feel valued, loved, and also revitalized by this new experience of teaching from another place, one that’s a little more relaxed and with more enjoyment.

Those adults who can enjoy this closeness enjoy stronger health and find more meaning in continuing activities, and take better care of themselves. Therefore, this bond is also a great antidote to prevent depression and discouragement.

Also, children learn to handle themselves at a different pace–sometimes slower. According to the possibilities of grandparents, they learn to feel empathy and care. In other words, in this grandparent-grandchild relationship, children also have a great school for the development of emotional intelligence.

That’s why those who have the possibility of having this relationship, agree that, together with grandparents, memories are forged for life. With these tips, you can become the grandfather or grandmother that every grandchild would like to have!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.