New Year’s Resolutions to be The Best Grandparent You Can Be
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. The turn of the calendar on December 31st brings with it the hope of change. We see this time of year as a time to embrace the best, make self-improvements, and perhaps even change our life course. What starts out so hopeful often ends up in disappointment several weeks down the road when we realize we’ve dropped our resolutions and reverted to the comfortable routines of the past year.
After doing this many times myself, I’ve taken a different approach in the last few years. Instead of making that long list of resolutions and ending up disappointed with myself, I’ve begun to look for one or two things I’d really like to change. It might be a habit, it might be something relationship-oriented, or it might be home or work-related. While the different approach is subtle, it has worked for me. I pursue a shortlist of much more specific goals.
I’m doing that analysis this year with specific attention to grandparenting.
As grandparents, we can use the coming of the New Year to take stock of where we are in building strong multigenerational bonds with our children and grandchildren. 2020 was a rough year for families. Too much separation created as many difficulties as too much togetherness in some cases. How can we each use the experiences of this past year to enhance our grandparenting in 2021?
My New Year’s Goals
For me, I feel the need to have more direct communication with each grandchild. Not easily accomplished with multiple grandchildren and some who live far away. But I really want each one to know I love them and what I feel is special about them as individuals. Here’s one idea I have for starting that process.
My husband and I are gifting a framed picture of ourselves to each grandchild, an idea shared earlier at Grandparenting A to Z. Along with that photo, we are going to make an acrostic with their names. Using the letters of their names, we’re going to write personal statements about what we see that is unique and wonderful about them. From that point forward, our goal is to give some personal love notes to each child throughout 2021. More about that project in the New Year!
The ultimate goal of these activities? Building intimacy into these most important relationships starting at a very early age. We want to put praise, acceptance, and love into every written note or picture. We want our grandchildren to know we know them and see them as unique individuals. It will help them to know themselves as they grow up. It will help build confidence in their unique characteristics or skills.
As grandparents, we have the luxury of not being drowned in the day-to-day hectic life of a young family. We can stand back, observe, and take the extra time to give the encouragement that is often difficult to do when in the midst of laundry, meal prep, and homework. Remember those days? I do! I remember being so exhausted one day I fell asleep in my suit and slept right through till morning.
Take some time this week to think about your grandparenting goals in 2021. Can you find one or two projects to make deeper connections with your grandchildren? Are you setting any New Year’s Resolutions this year? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.