For those of us who were fortunate enough to know and spend time with our grandparents, there are usually specific events, habits or routines that stayed with us in our memories.

“When I think about spending time with Grandma, we’re in the kitchen peeling potatoes or snapping beans.”

“I remember time with Papa on the farm, sitting outside by the house with a bag of peanuts, shelling and eating them together.”

What was unique about your relationship with your grandparents?

There are probably memories and images, maybe even sounds and smells that come to mind.

The bigger point here is that there’s probably something like that with your grandchildren, too. We call it the “secret sauce.”

As grandparents, we all have our own unique tricks and strategies with our grandkids. Maybe they’re things that are special about you, and often they are distinctive to each grandchild. Maybe it’s long evening walks together, or board games, or cooking, or fishing excursions, or one-on-one lunch dates. They are activities and traditions that help build your legacy and create memories.

They’re specific activities that you’d probably never see in a research study or a list of grandparenting principles, but …

They work with you and your grandchildren, and they’re magic.

We have asked several dozen grandparents about their expressions of the “secret sauce,” and here are some of the answers:

  • Snail mail, texting, ping pong and board games.
  • Taking them out one at a time.
  • A special recipe I invented that I only make for them.
  • Praying for them every day.
  • Playing cards and other games and going on car trips with them.
  • Studying each grandchild’s special gifts, personalities, and abilities.
  • Skiing with them.
  • Always having dessert.
  • I tell them the only way they can wake me up is with hugs and kisses.
  • Telling them they are special every time I see them.

Maybe yours is baking cookies, going to get ice cream, working in the garage, or walks around the neighborhood.

Whatever it might be for you, keep cultivating and repeating those activities with your grands. You’re making priceless investments.

So, what’s your “secret sauce”—the way you bond with your grandchildren that is unique to you and your relationship? Share your ideas—and learn from other grandparents—on our Facebook page.