How do you make each of your grandchildren feel they are special? If you’ve got nine grandchildren, like Emily Morgan, you do it very intentionally.
Emily was the guest speaker at our January 2021 GaGa Sisterhood Zoom meeting. She talked about navigating the obstacles and embracing the abundance of multiple grandchildren.
Emily’s four children produced her nine grandchildren soon to be ten. She’s had ten grandchildren in ten years. She’s also been hosting The Grand Life podcast for three years. Her husband produces this informative and entertaining podcast that has covered every aspect of grandparenting you can imagine.
Emily is a deep thinker and excellent writer whose mission is to “explore ways to grow as grandparents and connect to those who are in the thick of it with us.”
One way she makes each grandchild feel special is to help them develop a sense of where they belong in “the grand scheme” and feel a sense of connection to the whole family. She does this by talking about their birth order. For example, Emily and her granddaughter, Waverly are both the sixth grandchild in their own generation. Emily talks about what that was like for her and then asks Waverly what her experience has been. This conversation helps each grandchild to learn about the older generation as well as getting them to think about where they fit with their cousins.
Connect the Cousins
Emily is also a connector for the cousins. She hosts a Zoom call for all nine of her grandchildren and creates an activity for them. She showed them a jar filled with jelly beans and asked them to guess how many were in the jar. The winner got to keep the jar of candy. She’s also given them cooking lessons and woven in some family history while sharing the recipe.
Emily has a moleskin notebook for each grandchild which she fills with memories of something that grandchild said or did. She calls each grandchild every month on the day of their birthday—for example, if a child’s birthday falls on the tenth, she calls that child every month on the tenth. Her calendar is color-coded with each grandchild’s day to remind her when to call that grandchild.
She has pet nicknames for each grandchild and uses their “love language” to create an activity for that child when they’re together.
All these activities help the child feel important and seen. Her goal is to instill in them the belief that they’re capable and can make a difference in the world with their own unique personal power.
If you have a grandchild who constantly compares herself to another or doesn’t feel as loved as another, it’s important to help the child get in touch with those feelings. Emily suggests you tell that child all the unique things you love about her.
GaGas Share Ideas to Make Grandchildren Feel Special
After Emily spoke to our GaGas, we moved into small breakout groups and shared some ways we make our own grandchildren feel special. Here are some examples:
- Abby made notebooks for both her granddaughters and for every birthday she creates a new page with photos, words, and artwork.
- Barbara has taken her older two grandchildren on trips by themselves when they turned 13. She took her granddaughter to Paris and her grandson on a train trip to visit California landmarks. She gave them each a journal to write down their memories which have become keepsakes.
- Cheri has been sending her two grandsons who live across the country “birthday in a box” since they were born. The box includes a cake, presents, party favors, and a banner. As they’ve gotten older, she asks them what kind of cake they want.
- Dante recently moved to be near her grandchildren. She set up a wardrobe box from the mover so her grandson could build a fort.
- Dee shares family photos and music with her two grandchildren. She’s writing her autobiography and exchanges stories and art with her granddaughter.
- Diane’s 15-year-old grandson lives within walking distance of her house and since COVID-19 has been spending time at her home. Diane has been sharing her interest in genealogy with her grandson. He enjoys looking at their family albums and has become more involved and interested in family history.
- Judy’s 4-year-old loves spending time with her grandmother. On their walks, they bring treats to the neighbor’s cat and carry a bag to collect nature treasures. Judy displays her artwork on the refrigerator.
- Lori made each of her seven grandchildren a scrapbook photo album covering their first year of life. They love looking at their book together because it’s all about them. She also takes each one for a hike to give them individual attention away from their family and siblings.
- Mary Eileen has seven granddaughters and one brand new grandson. She takes each granddaughter to tea on her birthday. On their first birthday, she gives them a tote bag with their name and the animal they collect (her grandchildren each collect an animal.) She puts 12 books in the tote bag with a personalized item and the animal they collect. She makes St. Nicholas ornaments with their name or birth order on the ornament.
I wrote a song for each of my granddaughters about the day they were born and sing it to them on their birthdays. I collect articles with my granddaughters’ interests and send them in the mail or text them a link. My oldest granddaughter loves to answer Isaac Asimov’s Super Quiz. During our phone calls, I quiz her on the topics she’s interested in – animals, literature, science, and art. On our FaceTime calls, I tell my 6-year old granddaughter she’s my art teacher and she gives me drawing lessons. We always end our calls by singing the same good-bye song that we made up to the tune of “Good Night Ladies.”
There is a wealth of creativity in every one of us grandmas just waiting to be revealed by our grandchild. That’s what grandchildren do – they inspire us to create something special just for them.
How do you make your grandchild feel special? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.