Slobbery-kisses-and-squeezy-hugs-nana

Slobbery kisses and squeezy hugs – why I love being a Nana

I attended a workshop on children’s brain development recently and was thrilled to discover that grandparents actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren is a huge factor on the resilience scale for children. It was nice to learn there is science that backs up the beautiful relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents. But I know personally as a Nana of five littlies, that it’s delicious, fabulous and fun to be involved in their world of wonder and excitement – not to mention the delicious slobbery kisses and tight squeezy hugs around the neck!

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I have a very different relationship with my grandchildren to the one I had with my own grandparents. They were old – probably not much older than I am now, but they seemed old! My grandparents did a lot of sitting. I even remember having to be very quiet and lie very still next to my grandma in the sunroom as they both had an afternoon nap. It was torturous.

My husband and I are very hands-on grandparents who love having fun and going on adventures with our littlies. Hardly a week passes where there isn’t a sleepover, a school pick-up or a play date between us. Weekly adventures with Nana to cafes and Jumping Beans gym classes are a highlight and it gives their respective mums a break! We also take them them crab hunting, to Jumping Beans gym classes, Mainly Music classes, the park, zoo, gardening and one of their favourite hobbies – jumping in muddy puddles! They also love it when the cake mixer comes out and we bake cookies or cupcakes to take home to their parents.

I think the grandchildren also love that Nana and Opa have the time to watch that butterfly flutter with them, to pick those violets, and to smell the roses in the garden. Honestly, I sometimes feel we are more skilled at looking after our grandchildren than we were at looking after our own children – and it’s more fun! I guess the older I get the more I value those special moments shared through children’s lenses.

For the past 15 months we have had our daughter, son-in-law and two littlies living with us while they negotiate the stressful job of building a house. Our lives have been enriched and filled with a two year old and a 15 month old sharing our home.

Those morning knocks as the door opens to a little Miss, book in one hand and Silvie Bunny in the other for a morning snuggle and read are very precious. I’ve also had flashbacks to my own four children being little when I have the little ones turning my shower time into a spectator sport once again. (Anyone else relate?!) I’ve also found it super helpful having in-house littlies to try out some of the parenting techniques I share in my Family Coaching role. I can tell them “This works! I’ve tried it at home!”

I have come to realise that there is a deep, amazing love connection between grandparents and their grandchildren, something parents can’t even match. My husband and I are grateful to be blessed with good health and energy and feel we still have such a lot to offer with our experience. Better still we get to have lots of fun without the ultimate responsibility!


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About Author

Joy Sluiters

Joy had an education background before joining The Parenting Place in 2010. She is a Family Coach working with families of children aged 0-12 years and a regular presenter of Hot Tips workshops at The Parenting Place and at Hot Tips community events in Auckland and further afield. Joy has four adult children and five grandchildren and leads a busy life as a hands on nana, Family Coach, and restorative justice facilitator for Waitakere Courts.

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