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A lightning visit to grandparents can make their day

GRANDPARENTS
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These kids of visits are easy to schedule and foster family closeness.

Most grandparents yearn to see their grandchildren. They think about them and wonder, “What are they doing now?” If it rains, they say, “I hope they don’t go outside to play today in case they catch a cold.” In their kitchen, they always have little treats for their grandchildren’s visits: hot chocolate and other favorite beverages, cookies and breakfast cereals, and meals like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese. They seem to always be ready for surprise or planned visits.

For parents, however, bringing the children over to their grandparents’ for a visit can be challenging.

On weekdays, parents often barely have enough time to go work, pick up the children from school, take them home, prepare, serve, and eat dinner, take baths, and go to sleep. As children become more independent, they don’t need help bathing, and although they begin to get involved in extracurricular activities, and their afternoons may be more open, depending on sports an extracurricular activities.

As for weekends, a family’s busyness will depend much on their own customs and traditions. Schedules might be filled with traveling, out-of-town trips, shopping, household chores, sporting events — and going to church.

But it’s important for children to spend time with their grandparents — not just because a visit from the grandkids can help brighten their grandparents’ day, but because kids need to get to know their grandma and grandpa. Pope Francis has repeatedly emphasized the role that older generations in a family have in passing on wisdom to the youngest generations. He went so far as to say that “grandparents are like the wisdom of the family, they are the wisdom of a people. And a people that doesn’t listen to grandparents is one that dies!”

In this light, we should consider changing our family routines to incorporate the grandparents as much as possible: maybe they can pick up the little ones at school, bring them home and give them their afternoon snack, or perhaps take them to school in the morning instead. But as that isn’t always possible, we will need to resort to “lightning visits.”

“Lightning visits” are easy to organize, with just a quick phone call to be sure grandma and grandpa are home and available:

  • There’s no need to worry about bringing “impeccable” children. Grandparents love seeing them with dirty knees from playing on the floor or outdoors.
  • There’s no need to make the visit three hours long. Grandparents rather enjoy frequent short 10-minute visits full of hugs and kisses than having to wait for weeks before seeing their grandchildren again — and too long a visit can tire them out.
  • There’s no need to wait until everyone is available for a quick visit. If you know that grandpa won’t be home today because on Thursdays he meets with friends in the neighborhood, go anyway to say hello to grandma. On another day it might happen in reverse.

In this way …

  • You’ll be able to regularly pay them a quick visit that will brighten what perhaps might otherwise be a very monotonous day and week for grandpa and grandma.
  • Grandchildren will learn from their elders.
  • Grandparents will see their grandchildren grow up, and be able to share useful information and advice that will help them in their studies and behavior, enhancing their overall upbringing.
  • Each visit will be in itself a gift for young and old.
  • Your family will become more united by spending time together beyond the formal visits on essential dates.
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