The holidays can be a magical time of year, but they’re even more so when the grandkids are involved! Whether you get to spend every holiday with your grandchildren or wait your turn among family obligations, you want to make sure that every moment you spend with your grandkids this season is special.
Michael Rambarose, President and CEO of Whitney Center, a Life Care Community in Hamden, CT, says, “Grandparents play a special role in the lives of children. They get the special privilege of not being their parents! This means they can form unique relationships that center on friendship, fun and mentorship. The holidays are a perfect time to emphasize the special relationship you share with your grandkids by passing on family traditions, and even creating some new ones!”
If you’ll be spending the holidays with your grandchildren, learn how you can plan ahead to make sure your time together is stress-free and special for everyone involved.
Tips for Celebrating with Grandkids
We understand that every family is different and not everyone experiences the holiday season without stress or tension. Your kids may have to work hard to please both their own family and their in-laws. Especially when travel is involved, holiday gatherings can quickly turn into coveted events. And, if you don’t see your grandchildren often, you may worry about how to keep them entertained or what their current interests are. Whatever your situation, the following tips can help you prepare to spend precious time with your family in ways that eliminate tension and focus on making memories.
- Get in the Loop – Whether your children live down the street or across the country, it’s important to get on the same page when it comes to holiday planning. Even if you have traditions that you think are set in stone, your children might have different ideas. Get in touch with them early on to ask what their holiday plans are and figure out when you fit into them. By communicating early, both you and your kids can share your expectations and work on a compromise if those expectations don’t exactly match.In addition to getting in the loop on planning, it’s also important to check in with your kids about other holiday topics, such as gift giving or planning activities. Ask if they have any off-limit gifts for their kids this year, or request some feedback on activities you have in mind to do with the grandkids.
- Emphasize the Experience – You’ve surely heard it before, but we think it’s worth repeating: focus on doing rather than getting when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Giving gifts is fine, but keep in mind that your grandkids will likely forget or grow out of any material gifts you give. Instead, keep your holiday celebrations focused on quality time spent together doing memorable activities. This is an opportune time to share treasured family traditions with your grandkids, make memories baking cookies or decorating the tree or do something special together that they won’t forget. By emphasizing the experiences you share, you’re not only creating lasting bonds with your grandkids, but you’re also helping them learn more about the things you value.
- Make New Traditions – While it’s fun to share long-held traditions with your grandkids, it’s also special to make some new ones of your own! Think of what you can do together that’s just for you (a good place to start would be something they don’t do at home with their parents). This new tradition will give you a special place in your grandkids’ holiday celebrations – something they look forward to every year. Or, you can plan to do something different each year, with the tradition being planning a fun holiday excursion for your grandkids.
- Get the Grandkids Involved – If your grandchildren are old enough, let them be involved in planning how you’ll celebrate together. This can help to ensure that they’ll be excited about and interested in what you’ll be doing. Young children and even teenagers’ interests can change from year to year, so including them in the planning can help you keep up with what they like. Maybe your granddaughter wants to go ice skating after watching the latest Winter Olympics, or your grandson just started playing an instrument and would like to attend a local band concert. Your grandkids will appreciate knowing how much you value your time together by planning things they particularly enjoy.
- Be Flexible – Remember, when multiple sets of grandparents are involved, you may not get to spend your ideal holiday time with your grandkids. Try to remind yourself that your kids are doing the best they can to please everyone, and help them (and you) out by being flexible. It’s okay if you celebrate with your grandkids on the weekend before or after Christmas instead of Christmas Day. Allowing yourself to be flexible around holiday planning helps everyone reduce the stress that planning might cause, allowing the time that you do get with your grandkids to be fun and carefree.
Helping You Live Your Best Senior Life
At Whitney Center, we believe that every senior deserves to live a lifestyle they love. Whether that means being a central figure in your grandkids’ lives or pursuing whatever fills you fill joy, it’s our mission to help you experience your best senior life.
If you would like more advice on tackling holiday planning or lifestyle tips in general, reach out to a Whitney Center team member or explore our blog for more ideas on how to design your best senior lifestyle.
Discover Excellence in Senior Living.
At Whitney Center, you’ll find a distinguished senior living community where residents do what they love. Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Whitney Center combines all the cultural, educational and historical charms of the Greater New Haven area with the intricate details of daily life for active seniors. Whitney Center is a Life Care Community, offering not just an unparalleled Independent Living lifestyle, but a full continuum of care services as well, including Assisted Living, Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing Care and Memory Care. Whitney Center even offers a home-based long-term care program, Thrive at Home, which connects seniors to the services they need to live well in their own home.
Choice. Freedom. Opportunity.
We believe that remaining engaged and striving for excellence builds a more meaningful life. That’s why residents experience a host of services and amenities, events and cultural opportunities and wellness programs designed to foster endless growth and personalized living. Backed by our first-rate hospitality and philosophy of continuous improvement, our residents are free to travel, learn, volunteer, set new goals and create the life they want to live.
Come Here to Thrive.
At Whitney Center, residents live in the midst of cultural arts and education and dignified connections to the greater community. Seniors thrive in pursuit of what brings them joy, with unlimited opportunities to create and contribute. And, with the confidence in quality care services available on site if health needs ever change, Whitney Center makes it possible for seniors to continue enjoying the freedom to embrace life at its fullest.