by Dr. Ken Canfield
If you have grandchildren who are in school (or even preschool), I hope you realize the monumental importance of the educational process.
They will mature and be shaped in incredible ways each school year, whether it’s something they learn in class, friendships they make, skills they develop doing a sport or hobby, or some other way they grow.
As grandparents, many of us won’t be intimately involved in our grandkids’ education every day like their parents, but we should think of ourselves as team players with their parents and others. There are numerous people involved in shaping each child, and we should consider ourselves important members of that team.
Here are some ways we are in a great position to contribute:
Your grandkids’ parents are probably trying to convince them that education is important, and that message is only amplified when it’s also coming from you. Ask them regularly about what they’re learning and what challenges they have. Send them positive texts about their schoolwork and other involvements. Pray for their day at school—and let them know you’re praying for them. Also, it often sends a powerful positive message when you show up at their school-related events, when you’re able.
Be ready to help.
School-age kids often have busy schedules, which means their parents may be even busier … and can be stressed out. Maybe you can take offer to drive them to school one morning a week or handle some other ongoing responsibility. Or maybe your help will be financial; you could cover an expense for needed tutors, calculators or computers, or other fees that inevitably come along. And you can get involved directly by volunteering in some way, assuming the school is open to volunteers.
Some of you are also specially equipped to help with a certain school subject, like the granddad who’s a retired high school math teacher, and now he has weekly Facetime sessions with his grandson to help him work out fractions and equations. Or like the grandmother who teaches her grandson piano during their time together. What’s your educational background, and how can you use it to be a homework buddy for your grandkids?
Remember that all of life is an educational pursuit, and you are a teacher.
Ideally, with your help, your grandkids will learn that education is a way of life, and it extends far beyond the classroom. This can include life skills like baking cookies, changing oil in a car, and hundreds of other everyday tasks that you do. When you embrace the idea that you are a teacher, you can take advantage of many different opportunities simply by including a grandchild in what you’re doing.
Of course all grandparents can be teachers about the past—whether we’re talking about historic events that we lived through or telling stories that make up the family heritage and legacy that we’re passing on to our grands.
Grandparents, we can and should make special and unique contributions to our grandkids’ education.
We can be a key part of setting them up for success in the coming months and into the future.
What would you add? How are you involved in your grandkids’ education? Contribute your ideas and join the discussion on our Facebook page.