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Building Bonds Between the Generations
The relationship between grandparent and grandchild is a special one. And I’ve heard many grandparents say having grandchildren is even more amazing than having their own kids - all the fun, less of the responsibility! If you’d like to nurture the bond between your children and their older relatives, here are our top tips:
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The easiest way to nurture relationships with children at any age: get on their level and play! Find games both grandparent and child will enjoy and can physically manage, based on their age. Indoor activities could include puzzles, imaginative play, drawing and crafting together, and just generally being silly. Grandparents can always get away with being extra silly!
Outdoor fun could include playground trips, races, and ball games - friendly competition between the generations is always an invitation for laughter and fun.
You don’t have to be spending time with older generations to help build bond for your children. Help them to get to know their grandparents by sharing stories and favourite memories. Talk through the things you used to do with your parents or things your child has done and places they’ve been with their grandparents which they might not remember. Look through family photos to encourage conversation and questions.
When they are together, encourage older and younger generations to sit and read stories together. It’s always a sweet moment to see a child nestled on their grandparent’s lap, listening intently. Storytime with aunts, uncles and family friends is a fab way to nurture those bonds too.
Embrace the hands-on fun of cooking together. Getting messy, getting sticky and licking the spoon! Grandparents love to share their favourite recipes and to see the joy of their grandkids tasting the food they used to serve up to their own children. They may even be able to get your fussy eaters to taste something new!
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Take a mindfulness walk
If your older relatives can’t manage active play, a mindfulness walk is a lovely way to build family bonds. Wander outdoors together - this could be in the garden, around town, along the beach or through the countryside - and really pay attention to what you see and hear. Look out for birds and bugs, pay attention to the different textures all around, the colours, the sounds, the way the breeze feels. Ask each other questions about what they see and play spotting games.
When your Little Hotdogs are not with their grandparents and older relatives, build bonds by encouraging respect. Try not to talk negatively about other generations and explain why differences in opinions and ways of live are important. Encourage your kids to ask their grandparents for advice and model doing it yourself.
Pic credit: @nannahotdog
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Become a community befriender
Mother Pukka recently shared a wonderful initiative available through Age Concern – community befrienders. Being a community befriender gives those without grandparents a chance to build bonds with older generations and can be a life saver to lonely elderly. When you sign-up you’ll be matched with someone in your area would benefit from company and conversation on regular basis. Find out more here.
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Get creative to close long distance gaps
When long distance relationships make nurturing intergenerational relationships hard there are a few things you can do. First of all, make the most of technology - video call lots. This way children get used to seeing the faces of their relatives and those grandparents, aunts and uncles don’t miss out as much as they grow.
Writing letter is also a wonderful way to build relationships; it’s always fun to receive a handwritten letter in the post, so why not start becoming family pen-friends.
Of course, there’s nothing better than being able to visit and spend time together face-to-face. The benefit of long distance relationships is the time you do spend together is extra special. You can treat every visit like a holiday for making special memories. If you’re able, book the next family adventure now. Grandparents love having a date in the diary to look forward to!If you liked this blog you may like: How to Strengthen Sibling Bonds with Fun Outdoors.
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