Sunday, September 9th is National Grandparents Day, a special holiday to celebrate the important role we play in the lives of our children’s kids. There is a special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, a connection that is full of immense love and all-around support. Whether we are being an emotional rock, a wise friend, or a playful elder, we are enriching their lives with our contributions.
The role we play in our grandkids’ lives is now more important than ever. Today’s demands and everyday stressors are chipping away at the available hours parents have to spend with their children. Due to their busy schedules, it’s not unusual to hear parents say, “There just isn’t enough hours in the day.” As a result, many children are longing for additional attention. Unfortunately, now, kids are turning to social media, video games, TV and cell phones to occupy their free time.
Studies have reported that the overuse of electronic devices by children may cause impairment in the development of a child’s social skills. This includes the ability to make friends in-person, take responsibility for their actions, display good manners, use polite language, control emotions and temper, follow verbal directions, and develop empathy for others. Through their special bond, grandparents have a unique opportunity to connect with their grandkids and help them to learn these valuable social skills. Today, I am reminded of how important it is, now more than ever, to find ways for grandparents to bond with their grandkids through fun and engaging activities.
As an author, this has been one of my primary missions. Let me share with you the ways that I have used books to connect with my grandchildren. It’s my hope that these books can help you strengthen that bond too.
The Keira & Papa Detective Agency books facilitate a strong connection between grandparents and their grandkids through an interactive story. “The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels” is the first book in this five-part series, co-authored by me and my granddaughter, Keira. The story is both entertaining and educational, and appeals to middle-grade readers and adults who enjoy mysteries and adventures. As readers solve the fictional crime together, they practice their logic and problem-solving skills. Plus, adults gain an engaging platform to discuss some of life’s greatest mysteries. Uniquely, a grandparent and grandchild star in The Keira & Papa Detective Agency books as the main characters, making it an excellent gift or read-together series.
Mystery fans will also enjoy free “Solve This” short stories by Robert Martin. These intriguing three- to five-page brainteasers are designed for adults and children to read and solve together. The stories give grownups the opportunity to connect with children, touch on real-life challenges, and share their experience and values. Sign up to receive “Solve This” stories for free at https://robertmartinauthor.com/category/solve-this-mystery/.
In addition to solving mysteries, grandparents can also teach kids about empathy, or help them cope with illnesses such as ADHD. There are an estimated 17.1 million children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, and grandparents can play a big role in the lives of the kids who often struggle with self-esteem and are frequently misunderstood by their classmates. The Amazing Ninja Brothers series addresses these issues. The first book in the series, “Entering the Deep Unknown,” focuses on Tommy, a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Approximately 11 percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, so those who don’t have ADHD most certainly have friends who do, making it a highly relevant topic for all children today. “Entering the Deep Unknown” is a fast-paced story that connects with kid’s love for super heroes while generating thought and discussion about ADHD. It successfully balances action, humor and fantasy to provide readers with a “page-turner” story. Next month, the book will be available in hardcover, paperback, e-book and audiobook.
One of the most challenging diagnosis a family can face is cancer. The National Cancer Center estimates that 15,270 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year. When that happens, the entire family is in desperate need of support as they cope with the realities of a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Now there’s a picture book for young readers facing this challenge, based on my first-hand experience with my own granddaughter. Children with cancer will find comfort and courage in “Super Clara: A Young Girl’s Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage” and their siblings and friends will learn valuable lessons in empathy and how to support others at a young age.
Today, remember that you are a special member of your family, and offer not only fun and friendship but contribute a great deal of wisdom, support and positivity to your grandkids lives. Celebrate your contributions and continue to make lasting memories with your grandchildren.