By Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
The grandparent/grandchild relationship is like nothing else, and Grandparents Day celebrates that special bond.
And while it's simple to have a barbecue or stop in to call on grandparents who are close by, it's a little harder to stay connected when grandparents and grandkids live far away from each other.
If your family stretches across the miles, there are some fun projects both generations can do to mark such an important day and to help build a strong relationship. Sharing photos is always a good bet, and you can kick it all up a notch to celebrate Grandparents Day by gifting a meaningful photo book.
Create a Photo Book
When grandparents live far away, they miss out on the day-to-day details of what makes a child's life so very much their own. They probably hear about the bigger milestones—the lost teeth, the championship game, the great report card—but they might not know their grandchild's favorite cereal, special bedtime routine, or what their best friends look like.
Making a photo book of the daily happenings in a child's life is a fun way to tell about those little details and brings grandparents and grandkids closer together. Showing grandparents the common routines, familiar faces, and specific locations where your kids spend time helps launch meaningful conversations. And a photo book makes a great Grandparents Day gift.
Even if the grandkids are babies, parents can get involved and take pictures of a typical day's activities. If the grandparents don't have babies around them, it might be harder to remember how babies' days are filled with napping, eating, playing, and walking or crawling.
What kinds of things should you include in a Grandparents Day photo book? It's really up to you, but the small details are going to make a complete picture of the grandkids' day. Take pictures throughout the day and then help the kids decide what is most important to them.
Kids can take pictures of themselves when they just get up and are in their jammies. Eating a favorite breakfast and a picture of them dressed and ready for school with all their gear is another descriptive picture. If the school allows, an adult can take a snapshot of morning circle time, the grandchild eating lunch, or playing ball at recess. Take pictures of what they do when they get home or at their after-school program. The nightly routine, with playing outside, homework, dinner, bedtime, are all photo ops.
The books can be as serious or as funny as you choose. Some kids will take pictures of virtually everything—the cat eating dinner, the teary aftermath of a sibling argument, the favorite stick they have in the yard, or of a messy bedroom and include long captions, too.
Don't Stress If You're Not a Photo Pro
All those seemingly goofy snapshots show a kids' viewpoint of a real day. If they want to show grandparents those things, then it's worthwhile to include something so meaningful to them. During a later phone call, grandparents might thrill their grandkids by telling them how messy Mom or Dad's room was when they were kids.
If grandparents are motivated to make a similar photo book in return, the connection becomes that much stronger. If the grandkids are old enough, they might be fascinated to know Grandpa leads a yoga class at the local park or that Nana volunteers at a food pantry. They could ask about the friends their grandparents meet for lunch every week or favorite television shows.
Photo books don't have to cost a lot of money and are simple to assemble, making them an easy and affordable Grandparents Day gift. You can upload the photos to online sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish, but you can just as easily visit your local CVS or Walgreens if you need a little extra help making a book. Or you can just print your photos and put them in a photo album as well. If you have no idea how to make your book unique, visit Pinterest for some ideas.
And while these books are a gift that provide an immediate snapshot of daily life, they also become a treasured family heirloom. If photo books turn into a yearly tradition, you'll have an irreplaceable photo history as both generations grow older.
Interested in more ways to document the family, for generations young and old? Read our post on Capturing a Legacy.
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