Author Lois Wyse perhaps said it best: “Grandchildren are so much fun, I should have had them first.”
Many of us have relocated – “right-sized” our homes – to be closer to our adult children and and our grandchildren. But even these lights of our lives grow up, learn to drive, start dating, go to prom, and… graduate from high school then go off to college.
Those of us who are fortunate enough (or had the foresight) to live near our grandchildren have had the opportunity to attend sporting events and concerts, and listen to their triumphs and dry their tears as some of their biggest cheerleaders and most trusted confidants.
So, what are we to do, now that they are heading off to college?
According to experts, the best thing we can do is more of the same:
Call them on the phone – college students are often more likely to share their fears and frustrations with Nana or Grandpa than they are with Mom and Dad.
Learn (or improve on) texting skills, social media, and other “places” where they are likely to spend time.
Listen to their interests and experiences without offering advice – unless you’re asked for it.
Share stories about your college experience, first dates, internships, and other bridge-building topics, which will encourage them to answer your calls and reach out to you more frequently.
Write letters, send postcards or greeting cards – with or without a little gift inside. (Gift cards for coffee, gas, and groceries are always welcome, though).
Reinforce values without judgment.
The best thing about having grandchildren is the opportunity to influence the next generation without the responsibility you had when you were the parent. And, according to a sociology study by researchers at Boston College, intergenerational benefits include improved empathy, better understanding of history (from a practical, first-hand perspective), better relationships with peers, and fewer emotional and behavioral problems in grandchildren.
In addition to physical and emotional benefits, grandparents also benefit from having tech-savvy grandchildren to help navigate rapidly changing personal technology, as well as the opportunity to understand and appreciate the world through the eyes of the next generation.
Windsong homeowners find opportunities to bond with neighbors and friends who share similar life-stage experiences, and who can offer advice about how to stay close with grandchildren as they head off to college.
Welcome to Windsong – Where Life’s A Breeze!