Grandparents and their grandchildren have a special bond. That connection can begin before the grandchild is even born. Go on YouTube and you can find thousands of videos of people weeping with joy over finding out about their impending grandparenthood.
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If you’re one of these prospective grandparents, you may already be bursting with things you want to share with your future grandchild. You don’t have to wait until they’re old enough to begin talking to them, though.
You can begin crafting letters to them while they’re still in utero. These letters can become a kind of family heirloom to be passed down and preserved over the generations. Here are some tips on how to get started writing letters to your impending bundle of joy.
7 Steps for Writing a Keepsake Letter to Your Grandchildren
You may find you’re overflowing with ideas about what to share with your future grandchildren. Where do you begin? First, remember that you don’t have to put everything in one letter. You can break your stories down into a series of letters.
Follow these steps for inspiration on how to begin crafting letters to your future grandchildren.
Step 1: Talk about who you are
One of the most important things to convey in your letters is who you are as a person. You want your grandchild to know you.
While they will hopefully know you as a person as they grow throughout life, it will give them valuable insight to know who you are now. They’ll be interested to hear about your life in the months and years before you were born.
Step 2: Tell them how excited you are to meet them
Kids want to know that they have a place in the world. They want to know they are loved and wanted. Unfortunately, as kids age, they may clash with their parents. This is a natural part of growing up. Teens test boundaries, and that can put them at odds with their parents.
In these difficult times, it’s helpful for them to have proof they’ve been loved since before they were born. When they reread your letters, they’ll have evidence that you and their parents were so excited for them to be born.
You can then reinforce that emotion by telling them you’re so happy they’re in your life.
Step 3: Talk about your child (your grandchild’s parent)
Kids often have a hard time listening to their parents. Parents often have a hard time talking to their kids, too. Kids and teens don’t always understand that their parents have lived through the same experiences their kids are dealing with. And parents sometimes don’t want to be transparent about all the mistakes they made in their own lives.
You’re in a unique position to share stories about your grandchildren’s parents as children. You don’t have to spill the beans on things your kids wouldn’t want to be shared. But you can share certain fun stories that humanize your kid to your grandchildren.
Write a letter to be shared when your grandchild is having relationship troubles. Share the story of the time their mom met a cute guy—only it was at a family reunion, and it turned out he was her cousin. Awkward!
Step 4: Share memories from your parenting relationship
If your grandkids are having a tough time with their parents, they may be interested in conflicts you had with your kids.
A lot of times family members can unwittingly repeat patterns from their childhood. Be transparent about your relationship with your grandchild’s parents, the good and the bad. They may find the keys there to unlock a solution to their own parental disputes.
Step 5: Share your hopes and dreams for their future
You don’t want to put too much pressure on your grandkids. Don’t put too much emphasis on what you hope they’ll look like, or how smart you think they’ll be. But you can share your general hopes and dreams for them.
You can hope that they find a creative outlet that fulfills them. You can hope that they are a kind person. You can wish that they’ll have access to more things than you weren’t able to provide for your own child. It will make them feel good that you were excited about their birth, and that you wished positive things for their life in general.
Step 6: Talk about other family members they may not know
It’s important to share stories about yourself with your grandchildren. But you can also share stories about other family members they never got to meet.
Talk about your own parents and grandparents. Discuss what it was like growing up with your siblings in a wildly different era. Delve into your family’s heritage. This will help paint a much richer picture of your grandkids’ lives as well as your own.
Step 7: Invite them to talk to you and ask questions about anything and everything
As kids get older and become interested in their family history, they may have a list of questions to ask their grandparents. Make sure you let them know they can always ask.
If they need help with a school project or they’re simply curious, be on hand to answer their queries. Not only will they appreciate it, but it will also likely strengthen your relationship.
Sample Letters to Your Grandchildren
Now that we’ve broken down the steps to writing letters to your grandchildren, you should be ready to begin! Still unsure how to start? Check out these example letters for inspiration:
Dear Future Grandchild,
Today your mom—my daughter—told me that she is going to be a mom as well. I know you haven’t even been born yet, but I’ve been thinking about you all day. I wonder who you’ll turn out to be? Will you be a boy or a girl?
Will you inherit your dad’s love for academics or your mother’s affinity for sports? Will you share my love for singing? If so, I hope you have a better singing voice than I do! No matter what skills or talents or interests you possess, I know you will be an incredibly special human being. After all, you come from a long line of interesting weirdos.
I can’t wait to see how you end up leaving your mark on the world.
Your Future Grandma
You still haven’t been born yet, but you already have a name! I’ll admit, I teared up a little when I heard what it would be. You see my late husband—your grandfather—was named Robert. He was an amazing father to my kids, and I know he would have been the best grandfather on the planet. Sadly, he passed away two years ago.
But even though he’s no longer with us, I know he’ll be your guardian angel. He’ll always look after you, his first grandchild. And though you won’t get to meet him here on Earth, I will make sure you know all about the kind of man he was.
I can’t believe you’re already turning 16! How the time flies by. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was taking your mom to get her driver’s license. Don’t tell her I said this, but you are already a much better driver than she is now. She has always been very easily distracted. You have a lot of focus and you take things seriously. I know sometimes that makes things challenging for you, but they are important qualities to have.
I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I will say this: please, please, be careful when you drive. I know you’re a responsible young man, but not everyone out there will be as diligent as you are. You have to be extra careful to compensate for the carelessness of other drivers. Don’t worry about the radio station. Keep your eyes on the road. You’re a very special human, like I always knew you would be. Take care of yourself, for me.
I hope this letter finds you well. I know today is one of the happiest of your life. I just wish I was there to see it. I’ve been so fortunate to get to watch you grow up. I was there when you learned how to walk. I was there when you fell off your bike and broke your collarbone. I was there when you got your first tattoo. I was there when you graduated from college. I wish I was there with you today to watch you get married to the person of your dreams. Unfortunately, I know I don’t have much longer.
I just want to tell you that I have loved you since before you were born. And I will continue loving you long after I take my last breath. Love isn’t the kind of thing that can be contained by these shells we call bodies. The love I have for you will always endure. And I will always be so, so proud that I got to be your grandma.
How to Share Letters to Your Grandchildren
What do you do once you've written these letters to your future grandchildren? How do you ensure they actually read them? Here are a few ideas:
- Will: One option is to include these letters in your will. You can create a quick and easy will online in minutes with Trust & Will, or you can work with a traditional attorney.
- Trusted loved one: You can also give your letters to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping. Task them with sharing these with your future grandchildren.
- Save yourself: If you feel confident saving your letters yourself somewhere safe, this is also an option.
- Funeral: It's also common to gift these letters at your funeral. Of course, you'd need to give them to someone you trust or include them in your will. These are perfect for sharing at a virtual funeral with GatheringUs or at an in-person memorial.
Why Write Letters to Your Future Grandchildren?
As much as we want to think we’ll always be there for our children and grandchildren, sometimes that’s not the case. If you worry you won’t be there for all the milestones in your grandchild’s life, you can still make your presence known. Leaving letters for them can be a way of staying in their lives no matter what.
Even if you are still around, our memories can start to fade over the years. Commit memories you want to share to paper now while they are fresh in your mind. This will keep family stories from being lost over the years. Your letters can serve as a kind of memory jar.
No matter your reason, taking the time to write letters to your future grandchildren is an incredible way to preserve your special and unique family history.