Once you've reached the age of being a grandparent, it's easy to be lax in the self-improvement area. Truth be told, though, there's always room—and reason—for improvement, regardless of one's age.

Even in the grandparenting department.

Here are 8 ways you can make little changes that lead to big improvements in yourself and in your relationship with your grandchildren:

1. Put down the camera (including the one on your smartphone) more often instead of experiencing many of the magical moments together from behind a lens.

2. Print and display more photos of the magical moments you do document instead of leaving them digitally filed away on your smartphone, computer, Facebook profile, or Internet photo-sharing services. Share some of those printed ones with the kids and their parents, too.

3. Be more active—for your sake as well as for your grandchildren. The more active you are, the healthier you'll be, and the longer you'll live to enjoy the kiddos as they grow.

4. Seek out opportunities, activities, experiences to encourage compassion, gratitude, grace. In front of and with the kids, as well as on your own. You're a top model in their lives, so model things you want the grandkids to be and do.

5. Stop expecting immediate feedback, thanks, and notification of receipt on the gifts and goodies you buy, send, share. On the other hand, be sure to give thanks and more when you receive gifts and goodies from them. (See No. 4 above: Model thanks and gratitude and the kids just may get the hint.)

6. Eliminate envy of the "other" grandma—or at least try to—when grandchildren spend time with her, talk on the phone to her, relate stories about her, love her, adore her. Grandparenting is not a competition.

7. Dedicate a fair share of time together to outdoor pursuits and activities to balance out the hours spent indoors reading, watching movies, playing games, cooking, and making crafts.

8. Stop lamenting the miles that separate you and your loved ones and make the most of—and continually seek out—opportunities to connect despite the distance.


Lisa is a Colorado-based freelance writer. She publishes the Grandma's Briefs website, where she shares bits on life's second act and strives to smash the outdated "grandma" stereotype. Lisa has been married to the same man forever; together they have three adult daughters, one son-in-law and three adorable grandsons — children of the middle daughter and her husband. Lisa is easy to find online as she's known as GrandmasBriefs wherever she goes: Twitter (@grandmasbriefs), Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.