Grandparents have a special role in the lives of their grandchildren. Parents of school-age children often rely on grandparents to help care for and support the youngest members of the family. The back-to-school routine is no different — grandparents can play an important role in preparing grandkids for school.
With the special connection you share with your grandkids, you can be a friend and support person as they transition back into the routine of going to school. After all, who better to help with the “before school” jitters than a beloved grandparent? Read on to learn more about how you can be a supportive grandparent and help ease your grandkids back into the school-year routine.
Go shopping for school supplies
Offer to help buy school supplies or take your grandchildren shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies. If your grandchildren live a long distance away, you can send gift cards to their favorite stories, or send care packages full of supplies (and maybe the occasional surprise gift!) in the mail.
Write notes or draw pictures for their lunch box
A positive, encouraging note in a child’s lunch box is a sure-fire way to brighten their day. Draw a silly picture or write a note of encouragement to slip into their lunch box (or ask their parents to) so your grandchild knows you’re thinking about them. Mail lunch-box letters ahead of time if your grandchildren live far away, or send cards and letters in the mail for them to receive. Every child loves getting mail!
How present you’re able to be is affected by how close you live to your grandkids, but even if you are miles apart, there are things you can do to be present in your grandchildren’s lives. When possible, attend events and concerts at school, volunteer at the school, and have the occasional lunch with your grandchild at school. If you live a distance away from your grandkids, you can still be present in their lives. FaceTime and Zoom give us the opportunity to connect virtually to ask how their school day was and even help out with homework.
Help with transport
Whether you drive your grandkids to school one day a week or offer to take them to their extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, dance). This is an excellent way to get quality time with your grandkids while also supporting them in their hobbies. Take the time to ask about how they’re feeling, what worries they may have about school, and let them know you’re always there for them when they need an ear. Having the emotional support of a grandparent can make a tremendously positive impact on a child’s life.
Play with your grandkids
After a long, tiring day (or week) leading up to and after school, most kids need some downtime to play and decompress. Offer to play a board game with your grandkids, do a puzzle, or get down on the floor with them to play with their favorite toys. This gives you an excellent opportunity to talk to them and listen to any worries they have about school with you, a non-judgemental, loving support person. As a grandparent, you have a lot of wisdom and understanding to offer, as well as warm hugs when they need it.
Whether you do one or all of these to help your grandkids go back to school, your relationship with your grandkids is important in helping them achieve success in school. Whether you share a home with your grandkids or they live many miles away, your participation in their education and ongoing support will have a long-lasting impact on your grandchild’s education journey.