August is here, and with it, a new school year is fast approaching. While summer vacation is nearly over for many kids, it goes without saying that the joys of a grandparent never end.
Here are some great ways to stay involved with your star students as they gear up for life in a new grade. We’ve also included a checklist so you can print this off at home and keep track of your efforts.
Schedule Times to Visit in Advance
Whether you can visit your grandchildren in person or over Zoom, take advantage of their free time during the last days of summer break. Ask to schedule quality visits and plan safe activities to do together outside like teaching them a new game, sharing a snack, or making crafts. Be sure to also schedule a special time or series of dates to connect with grandkids regularly during the early months of the school year before their schedule begins to fill up.
- ☐ My visit with grandkids is on ___/___/___ at __:___
- ☐ I created a Zoom account and have it installed on my computer/phone.
- ☐ Some activities we can do together are ________________________________
- ☐ We will have a follow-up call, after school has started, on ___/___/___ at __:___
Another great way to spend time with grandkids is by planning a special day to go shopping for items on their school supply list. Helping them pick out a special item for daily use like a backpack or lunch box is a great way to connect and remind them of you each time they use it. Consider also writing a few handwritten notes in advance for parents to include in your grandkids’ lunches for the first day and other special occasions.
- ☐ Our date for back-to-school shopping is on ___/___/___ at __:___
- ☐ We will shop at ________________________________________
- ☐ Shopping list: _________________________________________
- ☐ Budget: $____
Help With School Work
Once kids get into the thick of school it can be hard to find time to connect with grandparents during their busy schedules. Consider offering to help with schoolwork in subjects that you are comfortable with and ask how you can contribute to bigger projects coming up. Reading homework is a great way to ensure regularly scheduled times for zoom calls to help them practice important skills of reading aloud.
- ☐ Subjects I am able to help with are ___________________
- ☐ Projects I am able to help with are ____________________
- ☐ The due date is on ___/___/___
- ☐ Our reading time is on ___/___/___ at __:___
Donate to Their School
There are lots of ways to support your grandkids through their school year. Donating to their library with a collection of some of your favorite books, music, and movies is a great way to connect with the next generation and generations to come. Signing up to chaperone a field trip is another great way to spend time with your grandkids and see them socializing with friends while participating in active learning.
- ☐ Items I can donate are ________________________________
- ☐ I am chaperoning a trip to ____________ on ___/___/___ at __:___
Ask for Photocopies of Their Artwork
Even if you don’t have access to your grandkids’ original artwork, you should still save some room on the refrigerator for their latest masterpieces. Many libraries and computer labs have high-quality scanners for students and faculty to use. Encourage your grandkids and their parents to send you color scans of their artwork for you to enjoy and track their progress.
- ☐ I have created an image folder on my computer.
- ☐ I have saved digital copies to my photo folders.
Keep Up to Date With School News
School schedules are a great way to keep your calendar filled with your grandkid’s testing schedules, vacation breaks, concerts, sporting events, and more. Even if you aren’t close in proximity to grandchildren it’s a great idea to keep up to date with their events throughout the school year.
Request a copy of the school calendar and their schedule of extracurricular events. If the school has a newsletter, request to be added to their email list and follow their school and school district on social media channels. This is a great way to keep involved with the community and informed about highlights that grandkids may forget to share with you. Who knows, you might even catch a blurb about your own star student!
- ☐ My grandkids’ school calendars are downloaded and printed.
- ☐ I have added important dates to my personal calendar.
- ☐ I am signed up to receive school email newsletters.
- ☐ I am following the school and school district on social media.
- ☐ I am following their sports teams on social media channels.