By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
Technology is one of the best ways grandparents can stay connected to their grandchildren. Whether FaceTiming from a distance or texting across town, the truth is that technology can benefit the grandparent/grandchild relationship.
Having said that, many of us feel like we are competing with technology. It’s become a battle for time, attention, and memories we want to make with our grandkids. And more often than not, it seems like technology is winning.
If you’re a grandparent wondering how you can win with technology, here are three ways to do just that.
1. Make Old-Fashioned Fun New Again
I’ll bet your grandkids don’t even know what a 3-legged race is or how to play Cat’s Cradle with a piece of yarn. However, the things we used to do as kids, now considered old-fashioned, might be just the activities we need to win with technology. With a bit of forethought and preparation, you can introduce your grandkids to the old-fashioned fun you used to have.
Here are several ideas to consider:
Arts and crafts: This can include homemade play dough, finger paints, cross-stitch, balsa-wood gliders, or model cars. Whatever you used to enjoy, pass it on to them! Most kids love hands-on activities and will jump at the chance to create something new.
Retro toys/games: Remember playing jacks, marbles, and checkers? Why not introduce your grandkids to this timeless fun? And don’t forget the retro toys that have made a comeback. The View-Master, Wooly Willy, Lite-Brite, and Sit-n-Spin are just a few toys from the past that are on the market today.
Outdoor fun: Take your grandkids outside and have gunny sack races, play duck-duck-goose, or teach them hopscotch. Bounce on pogo sticks or set up an inexpensive slip-n-slide. Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine is one of the best ways to win at technology!
Fortunately, we live in a day and age where the sky is the limit, so why not make plans for plenty of screen-free activities and show your grandkids the fun, old-fashioned things you used to do? Oh, the memories you’ll make without a second of it being spent on technology!
Check out these posts for more ideas:
2. Breathe Life into Books
One of the most unfortunate things about the rise of technology is that books have been put on the back shelf - literally. Summer reading programs have dwindled, tablets have replaced evening reading time, and books have lost much of their charm.
As grandparents, we have the opportunity to breathe life into books again! With a little creativity, we can instill a love for books (and the Bible) into the hearts of our grandchildren. Try a few of these ideas and watch your grandkids become avid readers.
-Create a cozy reading corner in your home with a plethora of books at your fingertips.
-Do a library scavenger hunt for books on a particular topic or by a certain author.
-Take a trip to the local bookstore and let them pick out a book to take home.
-Have mini-reading challenges with sticker charts or other small prizes.
-Read aloud to them at bedtime and each time they visit.
-Share stories from the Bible about David, Daniel, Elijah, and Jesus. Remind your grandchildren they’re not just stories but real-life events.
Become the grandparent who is an advocate for reading and watch your grandchildren grow in their love for books. Truly, this is a lasting way to win the battle with technology and, hopefully, nurture a love for reading that will last the rest of their lives.
Another resource to consider:
3. Get Up to Speed
At the end of the day, technology is here to stay. So why not get up to speed? Being able to relate to our grandkids is one of our top priorities, and learning about some of the latest technologies might help.
While you don’t need to get involved in every type of media, consider a few basic ways you can interest yourself in what your grandchildren enjoy and try to connect with them on a new level. Here are a few things to consider:
-Invest in a gaming system and games you enjoy, such as Tetris, Pac-man, etc.
-Find a creative computer program for online drawing, painting, and photo editing.
-Ask about the technology in their lives and find out what they like and don’t like.
-Invite them to be your friend on social media.
-Allow scheduled times for your grandchildren to be on their tablets or phones, but when it’s time to turn them off, hold your ground.
No matter how you feel about technology, it’s likely here to stay. If we want to connect with our grandkids by showing interest in what they’re interested in, getting up to speed is an excellent way to do that.
However, the most important thing is that we nurture our relationship with our grandchildren in hopes that they will be drawn closer to God and eventually make a decision for Christ. Every opportunity we have with them is a chance to pour into them and leave a legacy of faith—even if it includes technology.
A prayer for our grandchildren: Lord, You know how prevalent technology is in the world today, and it has drawn our grandchildren in—hook, line, and sinker. Please, God, give us wisdom as grandparents to know what boundaries to set and how to uphold them. We ask for creative ways to divert their attention and have fun making memories with them. Most of all, we ask for opportunities to share Your Word and Your Son with our grandkids, that they might come to know You unto salvation. This is our heart’s cry, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.