When summer arrives, families with school-age children receive a much-needed break from the structured chaos of the school year. For you, that means there is no better time to take advantage of getting involved with and staying connected to your grandchildren during the downtime of summer.
No one welcomes and enjoys the lazy days of summer more than parents and children alike because it means no more school, homework, and most of all—schedules. It’s a well-deserved break from all that is associated with the frenzied status of the school year, from rising up early to all of the after-school activities that accompany it, such as sports practices, games, dance classes, clubs, music lessons, and any other activities squeezed into the week.
More importantly, though it creates an opportunity to take advantage of that free time to spend more of it with your grandchildren, because as they grow older more of “life” will consume their days and attention. You can use this time for creating special moments together through traditional and not so traditional options no matter their age and whether they live near or far.
If you’re lucky enough to live in the same city, you can arrange to take your grandchildren on daytime outings. Visits to museums, the zoo, bowling, miniature golf, or even something simple such as lunch and a movie can be a fun way to connect with them at ages as young as four all the way up to those in their early teen years.
Many of these places also may offer special programs or discounts on specific days for ways to save when attending these activities. A weekly schedule can even be set up where you could arrange to pick them up on a particular day for your grandparent/grandchild date. And San Antonio’s proximity to nearby spots just outside of the city could allow for small day trips as well. With places such as Boerne, Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, and Austin which offer plenty to see and do, you’re sure to fill up a day’s worth of fun activities.
For the active grandchild in your life, and if you enjoy sports and physical activity as well, maybe attending a sporting event or playing a round of golf could be added to your summer plans. Right now is the perfect time to catch a San Antonio Missions game as their season is well underway or you could see the city’s professional soccer team, the San Antonio FC, while they are in the middle of their season during these summer months. If you’d also rather be in on the sporting action, there are many golf courses around town to visit for a full round of 18 holes or even a par 3. The entertainment venue, Topgolf also allows a chance to just practice your golf swing in a fun, laid back setting with its twist on the traditional driving range and dine out experience.
When you happen to live away from your grandchildren and can’t get to them, you can definitely work out a way to bring them to you. Inviting them to come visit for an extended stay at “Camp Grandma and Grandpa’s” for a few days is an easy way to get in time with them. During their stay, you can then set up some of the daily activities mentioned above or take them to the well-known sites of your area. You could even get fun with it and possibly have shirts made or other little gifts as souvenirs to commemorate their trip with you.
Most of the options described so far cater to children younger in age and can also work with those in their middle school years. The sporting activities might have more appeal to those who are older, say high school or college, but there are other methods to stay in touch with those older grandchildren especially since they may be busy with summer jobs, friends, and other parts of their active lifestyles. Today’s technology and social media provide plenty of opportunities to stay in touch with many options to choose from to fit your liking and needs.
The easiest, fastest, and probably most convenient method to communicate with your grandchildren of the millennial generation is through text messaging. You can easily send a few lines of greetings to check in and learn all that is occurring on their end. The beauty of technology can also let you “see” your recipient via FaceTime on the iPhone or through the video chat app, Skype. WhatsApp is another free messaging app which gives you the option to stay in touch through messaging and calling and also works anywhere in the world. The social media app Facebook is also available, and this one can really give you a glimpse into their world with its real-time photo and location sharing. When first downloading and using these apps, you may need help to get started, and that can initiate yet another outlet to get in touch with your loved one.
Whether you are arranging daytime visits, day trips, or extended stays, it not only benefits you and your grandchildren, but it will also give your adult children (the parents) some time to themselves to complete errands, appointments, or they may even feel compelled to plan a trip to get away during those overnight stays. One thing they will all appreciate and recognize is your efforts to stay connected to create lasting memories.
By Jennifer O’Neill