Life Advice



Giving Grandkids the Gift of Quality Time

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: When my nephew was a toddler and his family visited, my mom (his grandmother) got big furniture boxes discarded from stores and made forts and tunnels in our large family room. She got down on the floor and played whatever character he chose her to be in this turf maze. She didn't care if she played a dinosaur or the Lone Ranger.

You could hear them giggling and laughing and enjoying play time that lasted for hours. She wasn't concerned about her appearance or how others might see her as weird. She knew the impression she left on her grandchild and knew she had contributed to his balanced well-being. Our family was not rich in money but rich in love-sharing.

When the phone rang at his home, and someone said, "Johnny, it's Grandma for you," he knew which grandma it was. It was NOT the grandmother who just sent money, who didn't take time to play with him or only asked his mom how he was instead of speaking directly with him. His face lit up, and he literally ran to the phone to have personal time with her. My father was just as much a loving influence as well.

Taking time with a child is the most valuable thing you can give them. They don't have any concept of time unless someone is spending time with them. To this day, "Johnny" remembers his loving, caring grandma in a loving and caring way. He hardly has any fond memories of his other grandma.

Grandmothers everywhere should figure this out and not just throw money at the child. Take the time to show how to relate and how to encourage loving memories that will last a lifetime.

One of the most beautiful sounds in the world is the laughter of a child. You can almost hear their brain enjoying life.


Thank you for your wise advice. -- Devoted Reader

Dear Devoted Reader: Thank you for your wonderful letter. You highlight the importance of having experiences with your grandkids rather than buying them material items and how that has a large impact on your relationship with them. Choosing experiences instead of material things is always a good idea. But try to not be too hard on the other set of grandparents. They are doing the best they can. If they knew better, they would probably do better.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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