This week we have a guest writer, Denise Long from Grandmothering. She is an incredible resource for grandparents raising grandchildren and a wealth of knowledge on the challenges families face when grandparents are primary caregivers. If you're looking for fun things to do with your grandchildren or ways to give them some of the happy memories you had with your own grandparents, Denise has your answer! She had this to say about grandparents and their grandkids:
The role grandparents play in children’s lives can be enormous. There have been studies that
show just how influential those roles can be. And when the grandchildren come to visit, it’s
always nice to find fun and safe activities to do with them while creating lasting memories.
We all have memories of the playground. Whether in our own backyards or the school yard,
most of us spent a lot of time there. And putting one up in your backyard for your grandchildren could serve to give them some of those same great memories. But aside from that, there are some other great benefits to using a swing set.
● Safety -- It is much easier to keep an eye on your grandchildren in your own backyard
than in the city park. In your own yard, they will be free to play for hours in an enclosed
and controlled space.
● Exercise -- A swing set is said to be a good way to strengthen muscles, joints and
tendons. It’s especially great for the pelvic muscles.
● Social Interaction -- Even if the only people they are interacting with are you and each
other, it is still a great tool to get them away from technology and out of the house.
Fun science experiments can be a way to stimulate their imaginations and help them to
learn at the same time. You can find all kinds of great ideas online. Children can make things like edible glass and elephant toothpaste. They’ll be talking about these visits with you for years!
Many of us learned to cook from our grandmothers, which is a tradition that should never go
away. And according to Next Avenue, there are many benefits from this experience including
learning math, where food comes from and enrichment. Start them off with easy recipes they
can participate in and teach them a new one each time. Be sure to make the kitchen kid-friendly by establishing rules, storing dangerous objects out of reach, and teaching your grandchildren about basic cooking/kitchen safety.
Playing with other children is a vital part of a child’s development. It helps them to develop their “physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills.” Set up playdates for your grandkids while
they’re visiting with trusted neighbor children or your friends’ grandchildren. Invite them over for a tea party or to play on the new swing set.
Children are usually fascinated with gardening, but they can grow bored quickly with repetitive
tasks. So create something fun with them in the process. For example, build a fairy garden with
them in a secret place in the garden. Let them use their imaginations and add something new to it each time you are gardening. They will look forward to helping you make their fairy
Getting out of the house is good for you both, so why not check the movie theater during their
visit to see what kid-friendly movies are showing. Kids and seniors both typically get discounts
on tickets, so the trip will also be affordable. Treat them to some popcorn and enjoy!
Keeping your grandkids entertained isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of things you can do
together to create lasting memories. Also, keep in mind that younger children just want to be a
part of your world, so even taking them with you to the coffee shop where you usually meet up with friends will be a great experience for them. As your grandchildren grow older, you will
become a trusted confidant more than a playmate, so cultivate your relationship early by
allowing them to talk freely and enjoy your company. The lasting joy of the time you spend
together will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
For more information about raising grandchildren around technology, the financial aspects of being the primary caregiver and self-care tips for grandparents, check out Denise's other work at www.grandmothering.info