The 2nd Sunday of September honors grandparents with their own ‘Grandparents Day.’ I’ve always thought being grandparent means you’ve reached the pinnacle of life!
A handful of generations ago it wasn’t uncommon for grandparents to being living under the same roof with their grandchildren, but that isn’t the typical American family unit now. Make no mistake though, the grandparent-grandchild relationship is very important.
GRANDPARENTS ARE IMPORTANT
1. Share family and cultural traditions with the younger generation;
2. They bring a sense of stability in times of uncertainty or stress to both children and parents; and 3. They can assist with or provide daycare for working parents
A common characteristic of children’s lives nowadays is the over-scheduled day. When grandparents come over to visit it could be the perfect time to dial things back. This could also be the perfect excuse for Mom and Dad to go out for a date!
CONNECTION TO THE PAST
Children LOVE to hear about their parents when they were young.
“You mean my Daddy was your little boy?”
Children will be entranced cuddling on the couch looking over old pictures. Fascinated, listening to you sharing stories of when their parents were kids. They may even be shocked to learn what it was like when grandma or grandpa were kids! The times certainly have changed a lot since we’ve entered the Digital Age!
BEING & DOING, MAKING MEMORIES
Grandparents don’t have to spend a lot of money to entertain their young grandchildren. Many activities are free or very economical. Below are several activities that grandparents and grandchildren can do together, that also, over time, will transform into a cherished memory.
When grandparents and grandkids are together, the adults need to take cues from their grandkids. Keeping in mind, whatever you’re doing, you’re there to enjoy your time with your grandchildren! As Rudy Giuliani said: “What children need most are the essentials grandparents provide in abundance: They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”
1. Bake—so many things to learn in the kitchen: weights, volumes, measurements; solids, liquids, gases; counting, sequencing, time; plus the cultural aspects to food and meals. So whether it’s your best zucchini bread, chocolate chip cookies or, if you’re roots reach back, like mine to Norway, maybe you’ve got one of your grandmother’s krumkake recipes !
2. Card games—are another activity that’re not only fun, but offer a lot of educational benefits such as: number recognition, counting, sequencing, taking turns, strategy, shape recognition, sorting, and classifying. Check here for rules for a variety of card games like the classics Old Maid, Crazy 8’s and Slap Jack.
3. Sing—the great Ella Fitzgerald said “The only thing better than singing is more singing.” Singing has many benefits—for mind, body and spirit. The more you know about the many benefits from singing the more you’ll want to sing! If your grandkids are in preschool or elementary school they may know some songs they can teach you. If not, this extensive list of songs with links to YouTube will give you lots of song choices.
4. Parks—take advantage of your local parks! Dressed appropriately, kidlets and Nature are a good thing! Create your own scavenger hunt by listing items to look for on a piece of paper. Try this!
On Our Nature Scavenger Hunt
Look for a:
Search for something to touch that’s:
Scout out the color:
animal sounds–what kind of animal was it?
- (check off if you spot items, collect them OR take a picture of them with your phone to document).
5. Puzzles & Games—have your grandkids bring out some of their puzzles or games to play. Traditional, non-electronic devices are best as they’re usually more conducive to social interaction and language development especially for young children.
Developing inter-generational relationships serves both grandparents and grandchildren. Arrange a time for them to get together…and then go out and enjoy some down time yourself!
Yours in Play!