Grandparents and grandchildren: It’s okay to play! Grandparents and grandchildren: It’s okay to play!

Nowadays, many grandparents take care of their grandchildren. Through play and recreational activities, they can spend time together and create tighter bonds.

Medical Advisor: Consuelo Vivas Perdomo, Clinical Psychologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

It is an endearing image: grandparents and grandchildren playing together amidst laughter, hugs and kisses. Grandparents turn into children again and enjoy the small things: the feeling of grass, playing on a swing, seeing life through the eyes of their loved ones who are just beginning their own lives.

Busy working full-time, parents often want to leave their children under the care of grandparents, who can provide their children with safety and love. While minor disagreements may arise about how to raise the child, there may be ways to compromise. As Consuelo Vivas Perdomo explains, compromising may be necessary in order for their relationships to have solid and healthy foundations.

“For example, I recommend that mothers and daughters make agreements with each other about what their values are, what childrearing techniques to use, and what their diets and schedules should be like. This can help families have a better understanding of each other and can improve communication so that children are not affected by any potential inconsistencies,” she states.

PLAY TO LEARN

Grandparents can resort to the knowledge that was helpful to them when their children were little and can play many traditional activities and games with their grandchildren. As Vivas states, grandparents also revive the skills they haven’t used in years, such as how to foster early childhood development, and they may want to learn some exercises to support the child’s development.

It is something special for grandparents to be able to transfer their wisdom to this new generation in the family; their more experienced way of dealing with children can make grandkids feel at ease. “First-time mothers may feel more anxious or nervous about any illness that may arise. This may make the child feel insecure and look to their grandmother. This is an opportunity for the grandmother to teach their daughter how to get over anxiety-inducing situations,” she states.

Their care and affection are so special that, even if the grandparent does not sing, they will give it a try so that the child can fall asleep or laugh. “No parent or grandparent knows exactly what is appropriate, but they’ll still put classical music on, sing them lullabies and or make up games.”

While some grandparents are active, go on walks, take classes and are and feel full of life, others may have fewer opportunities to be mobile; in which case, if they are caretakers, it is important they have the support of someone else that can engage in physical activity and prepare food.

While a wide variety of games are available on the market, a lot depends on the imaginations of parents and grandparents to take a moment to spend quality time together. What’s most important is the love they show when they do activities or play games together.

Focus

Games and activities to do indoors

Draw and paint. This helps kids to get to explore color and improve their coordination and fine motor skills. It is a time for discovery, is a very relaxing activity and it can be fun for all, both children and grandparents.

Follow a recipe together. One that lets them knead or mix something, that isn’t dangerous and that involves their five senses.

Plant a seed in a small flowerpot or reused household item. This teaches patience, observation and gets kids in touch with nature. If grandparents have a flower or vegetable garden, this activity is also good to do outdoors.

Board games and puzzles. As long as these are not too complex for the little ones, they can be a good way for children to practice their numbers, letters and shapes, and they can test their memories.

Make popcorn and watch a movie about something that brings back memories to grandparents and teaches children about traditional senses of humor. You can also watch recordings of the kids’ parents, which the grandchildren are sure to enjoy.

Do arts and crafts. Cut and glue paper, make collages or turn a sock into a puppet. Grandparents can get back in touch with their roots, and remember old skills and tricks, and teach their grandchildren those activities they also used to enjoy.

Dance. For grandparents that like to dance, putting on music and dancing around with the grandchildren is a wonderful experience. Grandparents can also teach kids about the different rhythms.

Riddles. Depending on the child’s age, you can make up riddles. Try thinking of an object, person, animal or place, and without saying its name, describe it until the other guesses what it is. You can also draw the clues instead.

Activities to do outside

Traditional games. Grandparents may have several games that they may remember from their own childhoods that may not demand too much of them, such as hide-and-go-seek. They can even modify the rules to fit the grandchild’s age as well as the state of the grandparent’s health.

“I spy” while going on a walk. While walking through the garden, neighborhood or on the way to the park, you can play “I spy” with colors, letters or objects.

Play with a ball. This is always an excellent activity. From playing soccer to tossing a ball back and forth, playing with a ball helps get children running and allows grandparents to be more stationary as a goalie or wait while the child returns with the ball.

Go fishing. While grandmothers are often the ones who take care of the kids, grandfathers can also teach the child to fish along with the art of being patient.

Be explorers. Sometimes, without even going very far or while going on long walks, you can pretend you are going on an expedition and use a magnifying glass to observe ants,  grass or anything hiding out in the house patio or neighborhood park.

Water the plants. There is no activity that is more simplistic, or more fun, than playing with water. If it is good whether out, and everyone is in a good mood and in good health, you can fill buckets with water or use a hose to not only water the plants or garden, but also to fill up balloons and have a water fight! (Of course, without wasting too much water!).

Visit a special place. If the child is old enough, they may be able to go to a museum or place of interest in the city to learn about and become familiar with different areas.

Make toys. Pick up recyclable items from throughout the house, patio or neighborhood, and sit outside and to put them together to make toys •


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