It may not have all the chocolate advertising of Mother’s Day or the socks of Father’s Day, but this Sunday marks Grandparents Day, a time to honour another key member of a child’s family.
Some grandparents are heavily involved in their grandchildren’s day-to-day life, looking after them when they are little, or perhaps picking them up from school when they are older. Others work or live further afield and see their grandchildren less often than that, but shower them with cuddles and affection when they do get together.
Whatever the case, grandparents are an important figure for children and not just because they are often more likely to let them have treats or break with routines than their parents.
Grandparents can often talk to their grandchildren in a way that the child’s parents can’t, because they’re not as emotionally invested in the issue as the primary caregiver. They have a wealth of knowledge gained through their lifetime and can share with it children as they grow. There’s even been research to suggest that people who spend time with their grandchildren are less prone to some diseases.
That said, young children are also a ball of energy and sometimes it can feel challenging to keep up them. If you are a grandparent, here are some great activities you can enjoy with your grandchildren.
Pack a Picnic
An outing gets expensive once you start buying food, but kids love getting involved, so harness that enthusiasm to create a special picnic for your day out. Baking cookies or muffins, making sandwiches, juicing fruit or making lemonade, not to mention helping to clean up afterwards is a fun activity that will give them ownership of their food and make it more appealing.
Dance with Them
Preschoolers love dancing, so put on your favourite music (bonus if you still have a record player because they’ll be fascinated by the old technology) and show them your best moves.
Revive a Forgotten Craft
If there’s an activity you used to love when you were a child, why not have a go at teaching it to them. From flower-pressing to stamp collecting, you may just discover a new convert.
Share Your Passion
Whether it’s gardening, fishing, crosswords or riding a unicycle while juggling, show your grandchildren what you love doing and get them involved. You can give them the benefit of your skills developed over the years, and it may turn out to be a way to maintain the relationship once they get older and start spending more time doing activities outside the family.
Look through your Photograph Album
If you have pictures of their mum or dad, or even yourself, at the same age as your grandchild, they will be fascinated to see what they looked like and how they dressed. Use it as illustrations to talk about what life was like back then.
Put your best clothes and expensive clothes in hiding and play dress ups with your grandkids. Let them pick outfits for themselves and you. If you are feeling particularly brave, you can even let them “help” you put on make-up!
Write a Story
A project that you can do together with minimal resources is making a book. Grab some paper and crayons and start crafting a tale. If they’re young, they can dictate the words to you as you write them down, and then they can create the pictures to match.
Dig Out Those Old Toys
If you have hung on to yours or your children’s old toys and they are not too fragile, there’s still plenty of play left in them. Just be mindful of the fact that safety standards have changed a lot since then, and supervise their play. Beware of potential choking hazards. Lead-based paint was once commonly used on toys, so it’s probably best to keep old toy cars or painted wooden toys out of reach.
Write a Letter
Help your grandchildren write a letter to someone, show them how to address the envelope, buy and stick on a stamp and walk it to the post box.
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is an important one, so on Sunday, make sure you have a great grandparents day.
We love to involve all familiy members at our centres. Contact us to see how we can be your child’s home away from home.