Jane with her two daughters and two grandchildren
Actress Jane Seymour—a former Bond girl and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman—is a grandparent who truly does it all. She is a mother of six, grandmother of three, has her ultra-successful Open Hearts jewelry collection, a fashion collection, and more. At 62, she is as incredble as ever. Grandparents.com spoke to Jane about being a grandma, the importance of creativity in children's lives, and her new American Girl movie, Saige, that airs on NBC July 13.
Q: How many grandchildren do you have?
Jane Seymour: "I have three—Dylan, who's a little over a year old, Rowan who's under a year, and Willa, four-months. Lots of little ones!"
Q: You love spending time with your grandchildren. Do you think the role of grandparents has changed in the past 10 to 15 years?
Jane Seymour: "Absolutely. A lot of grandparents today have to take financial responsibility for their grandchildren, and care for them. Many grandparents are more hands-on today. Parents now all have to work, and a lot of families can't afford babysitting, so they turn to grandparents. The fantastic part is that aside from the child's parents, no one loves a child more than the grandparents. And the more a child is exposed to family and unconditional love, the better."
Q: What is the best part of being a grandmother?
Jane Seymour: "The wonder of these small children makes you feel alive and needed. Spending time with them is all about unconditional love. Children make grandparents feel like we matter, and in return we have the time to pay attention to them and make them the center, sometimes in a way that a parent might not be able to, because parents are so busy with so much to do."
Q: Do you find any part of grandparenting challenging?
Jane Seymour: "There is so much more information available today, which can be good and bad. The other night I had my daughter and Willa over, and cooked sea bass for dinner. My daughter went on the Internet to research it, and had a meltdown. Turns out sea bass has one of the highest levels of mercury, and my daughter is breast feeding. She thought she was going to hurt the child, because her breast milk had traces of mercury in it."
Q: How do you navigate the relationship with your adult kids?
Jane Seymour: "As grandparents, we've been down the road before, and we can see potential issues and problems when it comes to the grandchildren. We have to know when to step in or not. I think the most important thing grandparents can do when it comes to our adult children is listen to them and hear what they are saying. We might not agree, but every person wants to be listenend to. Hear what they have to say, then give it a break. Go to the bathroom or make a cup of coffee, then come back and say, 'I was thinking about what you said and I might...' then give your advice."
Q: What is the one thing you hope to teach your grandchildren as they grow up?
Jane Seymour: "How to handle change. Everything changes and children need to learn resilience. It can be difficult and scary, but it's part of life. And you can learn for both the highs and lows."
Q: In the new American Girl movie Saige, you play a grandmother helping your 'tween granddaughter face friendship issues. How would you help your granddaughter navigate through that?
Jane Seymour: "Friendship can be complicated for girls of this age. I would ask my granddaughter how the situation felt to her. I'd listen and explain to her that people can't make you feel a certain way, you choose to allow them to have that control. You need to do what you can do to make the situation feel better—maybe befriend someone else who also felt excluded or move on to friends who value her."
Q: In the movie, Saige loves art, and your character is a painter. How important is creativity for children?
Jane Seymour: "In the movie, Saige's school is cutting their art program, which is happening all over at schools. I help Saige to realize that she and the other students can use their voices and protest in a productive way and raise money to fund the art program. Creativity is the single most important things for kids. Boys and girls need to process their emotions and feelings, and they are able to do this especially though art. Art is a way to express who they are and what they are going through."
Q: What do you hope people will take away from the Saige movie?
Jane Seymour: "I hope this movie opens up conversations between grandparents and their grandchildren about finding solutions to challenges, and that you really can overcome your biggest fears, if you have the courage."
Learn more about American Girl, with our piece American Girl Dolls: A Grandparents' Guide.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.