Grandparents love being grandparents – 72% think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life. In fact, 63% say they can do a better job caring for grandchildren than they did with their own kids.
Robert Martin has taken grandparenting to a new level. This former corporate executive has written two books with his 10-year-old granddaughter Keira Ely: “The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels,” and “SuperClara – a Young Girl’s Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage” — an Amazon #1 bestseller they wrote in honor of his younger granddaughter, Clara, who passed away Oct. 8, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Robert is on a mission to help grandparents play a larger role in the lives of their grandkids. Here are three of his tips for how grandparents can strengthen their relationships with their grandkids:
1. Listen nonjudgmentally, rather than correcting or challenging their ideas. Sometimes grandparents feel the need to be disciplinarians, and in some cases that might be appropriate. But when sharing ideas, just listen, reflect, ask questions and build off their ideas. The result is often something they can’t wait to share with their parents.
2. Share compassionately. Kids are naturally reluctant to be open about what is bothering them. If you ask them how they are doing, the response will almost always be “fine.” Before they will be open with you, you will need to earn their trust. One way to do that is to be open about your own vulnerabilities. Kids often worry about loneliness, fear, and failure. Sharing a story about how you went through something similar when you were growing up is a good place to start.
3. Find ways to celebrate things they do well. Encourage them to express their own creativity. Putting on skits is a great way to do that. Be sure to be specific on the creative aspects that you thought they did well. Encourage your grandkids to share with you whatever it is they love to do.
“We grandparents can be an emotional rock, a wise friend and a playful elder — the ‘go-to person’ when parents aren’t available,” he says.
Robert’s website, www.RobertMartinAuthor.com, is designed to help grandparents and their grandkids build closer bonds with tools, activities and resources. Visitors can share experiences, solve mysteries, get advice and even adopt a grandchild if they don’t have one.