( A guest post by Brigitte Evans )
When you think back to your childhood, your favourite memories are most likely the quality time you spent with your family. And in case didn’t have the chance to experience these moments – you know exactly how much you miss them.
But parenting and grandparenting isn’t easy and after a long day, it’s easy to say “we’ll do family time tomorrow”. But one too many tomorrows, and your kids will be all grown up, so use the time you have and make sure to spend time together whenever you can. Here are some ideas, and feel free to come up with your own!
This one is especially great for all the grandparents out there who are struggling to connect with the youngsters. Bust out the family albums and show them what your life was like well before they were even born. Show them that their parents were also kids once upon a time and tell them about the mischiefs you’ve done when you were young.
If you have any pictures from your childhood, share them with the kids. They will love listening to the stories – but make sure it’s something they can connect with. Tell them which ones of their ancestors they look and act most like and tell them stories of their own lives that they might not remember.
If you have some valuable skills that you want to pass on to the next generation, it is the perfect way to spend time together, by them helping you when you are doing that activity. Then, if they take interest in it, you can teach them, without forcing it upon them.
A perfect example of this is gardening. Have them join you in the garden and help you when you are tending to the plants. Or if you are knitting, they can unwrap the yarn and prepare it for you. Or, if you like to bake sweet treats for the family, let them help you weigh and mix ingredients, choose the flavours and decorate the finished product.
Keep up with the times
Whether we like it or not, the future is digital, and our kids are picking up on that faster than anyone else. But using computers, phones and the internet is not just an interest anymore – it’s a necessity. And one way kids love to explore that is video games – which completely falsely get a bad rap. Knowing what games your child is playing is not only completely necessary, but a great way to connect with their interests.
And games are not only fun – they can be educational too! Playing turtle games helps your kids learn spelling and different puzzle games help them develop problem solving skills. Video games can also help your kids learn new languages, practice teamwork and help them understand some difficult life concepts.
Do good together
Helping out and doing good deeds simply feels good and can be an amazing, positive experience. Take your kid to volunteer with you in a community kitchen, a shelter or simply go to your favourite local beach and pick up some thrash to make it clean again. You can also teach compassion with the small things: walk the neighbour’s dog together, help someone with their groceries or clean the street around your building.
Take a walk
We are always rushing to get to sports practice, school, doctors’ appointments and play dates, most often taking the car. And when you are driving, you have to be focused and you can’t spend too much time with your children. So simply planning out your time a bit better and leaving home earlier will allow you to walk to the places you need to be, giving you plenty of time to talk about anything you want. We are also more relaxed while we are walking, so it might be easier for your child to open up to you and tell you something that’s been on their mind.
Spending time together is crucial for any tight-knit family. It strengthens the family bonds and develops trust, making it much more likely to stay close as the kids grow up. Make sure you include all of the family members and that everyone is willingly participating. Respect your kid’s time alone and they will be much more likely to participate in family time.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.