Several years ago I began Granny Camp. Yes, that means I’m a grandmother (even though I’m the cool one that rides a Harley). I haven’t completely lost my mind… There is a purpose.
Granny Camp is a way to have quality time with grandkids without their parents around; and to give cousins opportunities to make lifetime memories with one another. Last but not least, to invest in my daughters/son’s marriages by giving them a much needed break from parenting, so they can invest in those often-ignored relationships.
My adult children appreciate it and the grandkids look forward to it every year. I get them all to myself—to love and adore! It’s a win-win for all. I promise that it is the biggest return on any investment that you will ever make!
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL GRANNY CAMP:
- Invite two to four grandkids (preferably cousins).
- Pick a theme—teach life lessons on such things as courage, honesty, love, kindness, friendship, bullying, peer pressure.
- Pick a date and get it on everyone’s calendar. Two day minimum and 7 day maximum. Have it every year without fail (let Granny Camp be a tradition like Christmas & Thanksgiving).
- Pick a place and mix it up each year. Road trips, renting a cabin on the lake, swimming, camping, fishing, a trip to the city, your house—as long as you focus on them and not your everyday activities. It’s all about what they love.
- Have them memorize a quote or story relating to the theme. Create hand gestures to help younger ones remember. Year after year, they remember these valuable life lessons.
- Choose a craft related to your theme. Mold their hands in the shape of a butterfly in clay. On each finger have them write a quality of a good friend (ie: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). Five years later, the ceramic butterfly is still hanging on their wall.
- Goody bags are a must! The first thing they see when arriving at Granny Camp is a colorful bag with assorted goodies (Christmas stockings in July). Include a few sweets (respect parent’s rules) fruit, their favorite chips, as well as simple games we play at camp. I taught them how to play marbles (What’s marbles? A little piece of my childhood) paper dolls and jump rope. Be creative. Back packs are always a hit as well as anything monogrammed.
- No TV, unless it’s a movie at the end of a long day. Pop popcorn and snuggle in to watch with them.
- Hike in the woods; talk and listen.
- Take the pre-teens to the mall for a school shopping spree, having them model clothes they want for the new school year. Take pictures and send them to Mom. It really helps them out and I enjoy the show immensely. Have a sales clerk hold an outfit or two for later school shopping, saving Mom time and effort.
- Designate a time of the day for reading and rest time, especially for younger kids. This gives you a much-needed break to re-energize.
- Plan your menus and projects ahead. Keep meals simple and make food they love ahead of time (Granny’s special soup, spaghetti and signature dishes you want to pass along). Pretty soon your daughter/son will be calling you for the recipe you made when they were kids. Keep the traditions in the family.
- Pass along sweet memories from their parent’s childhood (funny things they said and did as kids).
- Build up your daughters/sons…. Never say anything negative about their parents, even if your grandchildren do. Just listen, and don’t rat them out. They need a safe place to vent, if needed. Your job is to encourage respect and love unconditionally.
- Prepare to be tired, but know it is the best you can do to love your adult children and your precious grandchildren.
- When all is said and done; treat yourself to a massage, manicure and pedicure. You earned it!
Oops, I forgot to mention, Grandpas are very helpful and a valuable part of it, but they get no credit… ha! Thus it is called, GRANNY Camp.