We use goals to deepen our relationship with our grandkids. We are long-distant grandparents. Our grandkids live in three different states. Currently, we spend three to four months living in our camper in the states where our grandkids live. When we are with our grandkids, we want to be fun to be with during the time we are nearby. We go to sports events, school activities, or other local community events. We celebrate whatever holidays or birthdays are happening during the months we are in the area. Sometimes we just hang out. During the first year, we were on the road, we focused on the grandkids we were with. Then we ignored them once we left the state.
All of our older grandkids are busy with school, sports, and friends. We aren’t spending every waking moment with them, even when we park nearby. Time moves quickly. We know we will be leaving in just a few months for the next stop in our annual migration. The time we spend together needs to count.
We need to be intentional when we are nearby. But we also need to be intentional when we are not in the area. By focusing on setting goals together, we have a structure and purpose for connecting with them whether we are nearby or several states away. Setting goals with our grandkids has been a useful tool to take our relationships to a deeper level.
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As we travel from Michigan in the summer to warmer states in the winter, we found that we needed a strategy for focusing our time. We also found that we needed a strategy for focusing our attention on our grandkids when we are far away. Setting goals with our grandkids has been the key to having a system that works both when we are nearby as well as when we are in another state. We use goals to deepen our relationship with all of our grandkids.
Setting goals help you learn your grandchild’s interests
Setting goals with your grandchild helps you know what interests your grandchild. During a brainstorming lunch with one of our younger grandsons, he mentioned that he wanted to play tennis. I asked him if he had every played before. “No. Just on the Wii game,” he replied. We decided to explore this interest and ended up buying tennis racquets. Then we went to a local tennis court to practice hitting balls over the net.
My granddaughter mentioned that she wanted to learn to sew. She and I ended up making a quilt together the last time we were in her area. We sewed every Friday after school and finished the quilt the week I left Georgia.
As we have sat down with each of our older grandkids, we have discovered interests in baseball, reading, sewing, baking, getting A’s in school, getting along with siblings, learning to type, learning Spanish, and one of our grandsons was working on learning Morse Code.
Pro Tip: Seven seems to be an appropriate age to begin setting goals together.
Knowing what your grandchild is interested helps you make the most of your time with him. Now you can plan activities together that will support them in accomplishing their goals. You have topics for conversations that are geared to their interest. You also have gift ideas for what you can get them for Christmas or Birthdays that will provide the equipment and tools they need to move forward with their goals.
Working on goals help you prepare your grandchild for life’s responsibilities
Life’s responsibilities have a way of sneaking up on people, whether they are prepared for them or not. Help your grandchild identify areas that they might want to improve in. This will prepare your grandchild for adult responsibilities in several ways.
First, through setting goals, you can encourage your grandchild to learn the skills that he will need later in life. Skills like shopping for food and meal preparation, budgeting skills, driving and basic car maintenance routines, and basic use of tools. Supporting your grandchild in their athletic goals helps him understand lifelong fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. As your grandchild sets academic goals, he will be learning the basics skills of reading, writing and computation. These are skills that he will use throughout his life.
Second, setting goals will help your grandchild learn the attitudes he will need to work for things that won’t always come easily. Your grandchild may fail at accomplishing a goal. That is not a bad thing. Life is full of failures for all of us, but the measure of success is often in how you handle the failure. Do you quit? Or do you figure out a new way to attack the goal.
Life is not about perfection and avoiding mistakes. Life is about not giving up on dreams. It is about the discipline of learning to continue to move forward, and the faith to know that there will be a reward at the end. Failure is not the end of the world! Sometimes recovering from life’s failures strengthens us to find an opportunity we might have missed otherwise.
Accomplishing goals lets you celebrate with your grandchild
When you challenge your grandchild to reach for a harder goal, you are communicating your belief that he is a capable person. You are also encouraging him to try new things that may be out of his comfort zone. When he makes progress toward the goal, you are there to congratulate him and appreciate the work he did. Even if a goal is not achieved in a specific time frame, you can encourage your grandchild to take a step back and try again. Building tenacity is a valuable skill. With either outcome–success or not–you are building a lifelong relationship that both of you will cherish. Working together on goals becomes the tool to deepen your relationship.
Learning to set goals is a skill. Getting goals beyond a wish list and into practical steps to accomplish them needs to be learned and practiced. Your grandchild wasn’t born knowing how to set specific, measurable, ambitious, relevant, time bound, evaluated and rewarded goals. But you have had some experience in your life setting goals and working to make things happen. Now is your chance to give your grandchild a step up with this valuable skill. As you use goals to help your grandchild mature, you will also be deepening your relationship with him.
Working with your grandchild to set goals will benefit both of you. You will get to know your grandchild in new ways and become a more integral part of his life. Your grandchild will learn from you how to brainstorm goals and how to make them SMART goals. He will also learn how to hang in there when the goal seems elusive. It is worth the work to learn to use goals to deepen your relationship with your grandchild.
- Learn what your grandchild is interested in
- Prepare them for life’s responsibilities
- Become their support and cheering section
Goal setting with your grandchild will open many new doors. The structure of goals will give you gift ideas, conversation starters, and a way to check in with your grandchild. Goals are especially useful for building a deeper relationship with your grandchild, especially if you are a long-distance grandparent.