Grandparenting Tips–Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren
Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren
5th edition by Sue Johnson, Julie Carlson and Elizabeth Bower
5th edition of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren Just Released! ISBN 978-0-9675349-7-8 by Sue Johnson, Julie Carlson and Elizabeth Bower. Expanded to 320 pages it offers two new chapters, wonderful ideas for using the social media and latest technology to keep families connected, and a whole chapter of new books reviewed and recommended. Added to this edition are Quick Tips summaries at the end of the chapters to help busy grands find fast answers.
For additional information visit www.grandloving.com
About the Authors
Sue is a 1961 honors graduate of Wheaton College. With Julie, she has co-authored many pieces for grandparent publications, and independently Sue has authored numerous articles for quilting and craft magazines in the United States and Canada, including Quilt World, Threads, Crafts, The Fiberworks Sourcebook and The Crazy Quilt Handbook. In 1980, Sue founded Gramma’s Graphics, Inc., a mail-order business providing blueprint kits for sun printing photos on fabric. Her kits are marketed worldwide and have been wholesaled to Better Homes and Gardens and Book-of-the- Month Craft Clubs for over 20 years. A devoted mother of three and a long-distance grandmother, Sue uses ideas from her years as a kindergarten and preschool teacher to enliven communication with her grandchildren. Sue and her husband, Rick, have hosted eight foreign exchange students over the years-experiences that give them an unusually broad perspective and wonderfully diverse network of grandparent friends. When Sue’s initial Grandloving query to 150 of their friends snowballed into 350 enthusiastic responses, she knew she’d struck a chord with passionate grandparents.
Julie, Sue’s daughter-in-law, is a happily married mother of three young boys, working from her home in Philadelphia to stay close to Nick 13, Charlie 9, and Will 3 years. She is an honors graduate of Yale (1988) and an alumna of the Radcliffe Publishing Course (1988). An editor since 1989, Julie currently freelances for the university presses at Harvard and Yale. Julie’s writing for Yale has shaped many high-profile manuscripts, all of which have garnered praise from the New York Times and other review media. Among other projects, she rewrote from 900 pages of notes Battleground Berlin, the first-ever collaboration between CIA and KGB authors (Yale 1997, Book-of-the-Month Club). She ghostwrote The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn (Yale 1998), which is in its fourth printing. She developed from the initial writing stage Piano Roles (Yale 1999), which was the cornerstone of a Smithsonian exhibit in the year 2000, and A Nation Under Our Feet (Harvard 2005), which won a Pulitzer Prize for History
Elizabeth Bower, (Beth), Sue’s daughter, lives with her husband and two year old son in Nashville, Tennessee. She taught elementary grades for eleven years and progressed to mentoring student teachers at Northwestern University and teaching prospective teachers at Loyola University Chicago.
Passionate about teaching, Bower began her studies in education at Connecticut College. She spent a year at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and graduated with a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Elizabeth is experiencing long distance Grandloving first hand as their son has grandparents in Singapore and England. As the newest member of the team, she brings fresh insights to the group. Elizabeth too serves as a distinguished judge for the Mom’s Choice Award.
by Sue Johnson, Julie Carlson and Elizabeth Bower
co-authors of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren, 5th edition
You’ve just learned that you’re going to be a new grandparent! Whether this is your first grandchild or your 15th you are undoubtedly filled with a warm glow in your heart and an overwhelming sense of joy. All of your genes from the past as well as your hopes for the future are wrapped up in this new bundle of love, and your thoughts and emotions are running high and wide.
We’re going to have a new family member – will it be a boy or a girl, will it be healthy, how can I be a good grandparent and model to this new grandchild, what can I do now before the baby arrives?
If you are fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the new parents-to-be, count your blessings! If not, this is a wonderful time to improve that relationship. Many expectant moms and dads feel an urge to renew or strengthen the bonds with their own parents during the pregnancy. Behind the more frequent phone calls and notes from your grown child could be the hope that a new understanding will grow between the two of you. Responding with warmth and love will make the most of this unique opportunity for both generations.
There is a sea change in relationships among a family that happens the moment a first grandchild is born. Parents are now grandparents and parents; children are now parents and children. Everyone has different expectations about where to place the proper priorities in their new roles. One helpful bit of advice is that everyone should seek to become a better listener. There’s a fancy name for this skill – active listening – and it’s a trick that counselors use all the time. The most important part of being an active listener is to ask meaningful questions based on what you’re hearing the other person say, rather than to be absorbed in telling your own story. Slowing down and really listening to all the spoken and unspoken thoughts that someone is sharing with you takes practice. But give it a try – you’ll be excited by how others will warm to you, and you’ll learn more about your child’s feelings about the pregnancy than you ever thought possible.
Some of the best ideas for gifts and love messages cost very little and can help you connect with your grand-baby even before you can rock and cuddle. Use your imagination – the possibilities are endless!
For a first-time mom especially, encouraging words can be the perfect gift. As you might remember from your own expectant days, moms – and sometimes dads, too – have an insatiable appetite for absolutely everything, including books on prenatal and child care, breastfeeding (if this is an interest), and labor and delivery. Or send your own thoughts about these issues with a box of clippings you’ve saved from newspapers and magazines.
Moms-to-be will appreciate maternity clothes or body lotion. For the dad-to-be, you might send a tiny, battery-operated reading light so that he can read in bed without disturbing his wife’s sleep.
Yet another way to show your daughter or son how much you care during the pregnancy is to save communications from them during this period. Save the notes and emails they send – or even record their phone calls home with an answering machine. Then create a diary or journal from these notes highlighting the first 9 months of your grandchild’s life. It will become a priceless gift to the new family.
When sending baby things ask what’s needed or anticipate with gifts that have sentimental meaning. Wrap up that special baby blanket of your son’s for his firstborn to use, or start sifting through your collection of books for young children for an old favorite of your daughter’s. New clothing with a bit of embroidery added by you, an audio cassette of you humming or singing your favorite lullaby, or a purchased wooden toy car with a Grampa license plate brushed on with child-safe paints are just a few examples of how purchased gifts can take on new significance. The parents-to-be will sincerely appreciate your efforts, and you will have fulfilled your hopes of giving them something they’ll cherish.
You can also set about improving your own skills during this expectant time. Many hospitals now have courses for grandparents that teach infant and child CPR (lifesaving heart massage), give tours of the labor and delivery services, and provide remedial training in how to diaper. It’s not too early to take up yoga or an exercise program so you’ll be in shape to help when your grandchild arrives.
Whatever you do, respect your child’s role as parent-to-be. This generation of parents has a wealth of information on which to draw, and you’ll find they are more knowledgeable about pregnancy than we ever were. Your role is to offer advice only if asked, to provide love and support, and to share your enthusiasm about becoming a grandparent to this new child. Know that your unconditional love will be a positive influence for all – congratulations – before you know it, you’ll need a new pair of running shoes!
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