Children’s books and media
Common Sense Media, an independent non-profit, reviews books, TV shows, movies, and apps for kids ages 2 to 18.
The New York Public Library recently compiled this list of 100 great children’s books from the last 100 years. The list includes both picture books and novels. Some of the books—such as The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich; Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say; and The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis—explore the ties between children and their grandparents.
If you want to know about the best children’s literature being published today, you might follow this blog at The Horn Book.
There are still some great print magazines for kids. You might consider Kazoo, a new magazine for girls ages 5 to 12; Cricket, which specializes in fiction and art for girls and boys ages 9 to 14; Muse, a Cricket spinoff that focuses on science; and Ranger Rick, which publishes three magazines about wildlife, one for babies and toddlers, one for early readers, and one for older kids up to age 12.
Nell Minow, a mother in Washington, D.C., has been reviewing films as The Movie Mom since 1995.
The website Healthy Children, created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides up-to-date, scientifically accurate tips on keeping kids healthy and safe. For example, here are some childproofing tips for expectant grandparents and here’s the latest on carseats.
The Grandparent Autism Network, founded by Bonnie Gillman, a grandmother in Orange County, California, offers information and support for grandparents of kids on the autism spectrum.
Many chapters of the National Audubon Society offer week-long summer day camps for school-aged kids.
Road Scholar, founded in 1975 as Elderhostel, offers guided adventures all over the world for kids and their grandparents. Even if you don’t intend to sign up for a tour, you might check out the company’s website for inspiration.
Fidelity Investments has produced this primer on the various ways grandparents can help finance their grandchildren’s college educations. If you’re thinking of setting up some 529 savings plans for this purpose, you’ll find a bonanza of information here, courtesy of Savingforcollege.com.
Journalist Jane Bryant Quinn offers some general advice on helping your kids and grandkids make ends meet here.
Grandparents raising grandkids
There’s not enough help for the three million Americans who are raising at least one of their grandkids, but here are a few good resources I’ve come across.
Family strife and estrangement
You may be able to find a family therapist in your community through the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s locator tool.
If you’ve lost access to your grandchildren, you might check out this advice on reconciling with their parents from Grandparents Plus, a British non-profit. (The legal advice doesn’t apply to Americans, but the other tips do.) In the United States, your legal options vary by situation and by state but are likely extremely limited. You can learn more in this recent article from the American Bar Association.
This “opportunity finder” from Encore.org, a non-profit, pairs adults over 50 with volunteer positions in their areas; most positions involve working with children. Senior Corps, a federal program, matches older adults with volunteer positions that serve children, homebound elders, immigrants, survivors of natural disasters, and others.
The Peace Corps sends Americans of all ages around the world.