We helped our children with homework, kept them from eating too much junk, taught them manners, screened their friends and enforced curfew. Those were long days, and I don’t remember being very popular. We had a lot of responsibility.
As grandparents, we may still do some of those things, but now we see it through experienced eyes. As we grow older, we look back and see the mistakes we made – the times we made a big deal over something that really wasn’t. Overreacting or saying something all wrong only made things worse. With our grandchildren, we get a chance to react differently. We can be a little more patient. Plus, now we know it’s okay to have ice cream for dinner sometimes. Being a grandparent is a fantastic thing.
Nurturing the grandparent-grandchild relationship has benefits for both. Loneliness is a way of life for many seniors. Knowing you’re not forgotten improves mood and mental health, which in turn promotes your health overall. Staying active with grandchildren keeps the mind stimulated and has been proven to ward off natural memory loss.
The grandchildren get the benefit of one-on-one attention. Most people tell stories about their grandparents that are of love and nurturing. They talk about the food you shared and the cookies you snuck them when their parents weren’t looking. They are stories of personality and appreciation.
One way for people to bond is over shared experiences. Someone who is active in your life is impossible to forget because they are in most of your memories. Vacations are a time to get away from it all and relax. Taking family vacations together reinforces the concept of unity and family. Make sure you choose a destination that can accommodate any special needs beforehand, to make the trip stress-free.
Everyone has a busy life, but it’s imperative to slow down enough for grandchildren and grandparents to spend some quality time together. It can be a weekly trip to the library, a few games of Go-Fish or doing a craft together. Spending time talking and sharing everyday things is important.
“To a child love is spelled T-I-M-E.” ~ Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker
It’s inevitable: Every time the family gets together, someone will tell the story about a particular day. Maybe someone retells the story of a birth or a baptism. Perhaps someone will bring up their first car that needed a push start to get going, or that time Uncle Joe got locked out of the house in his underwear. Grandparents should tell stories of what has happened in the past. To remember it and re-tell it is to allow another generation the opportunity to add another layer to their limited knowledge of family history.
Teaching a Skill
Grandparents and grandchildren can get closer by sharing a common goal. It could be that it’s time to go out on the first fishing trip or to teach someone how to make the secret family recipe. What do you like doing? Do you have a vegetable garden? Can you play an instrument? Are you pretty good at fixing things? Pass it on to your grandchildren, and enjoy your hobby together.
Learn About Each Other’s Interests
Knowing what someone does or doesn’t like is a critical factor in a close relationship. Grandparents and grandchildren need to pay attention to each other’s interests. What shows do they like? What’s their favorite character? How come they don’t like peas? Knowing someone understands you help nurture the relationship.
Maintaining a nurturing relationship with distance between you is becoming easier with new technology and video calls. Also, sending surprise homemade gifts or cards to each other through the mail promotes a sense of inclusion and lets the other know you care.
Helping You Stay Connected
At Bridge to Better Living, we understand the importance of family connections. Our communities are proud of the activity programs designed for our senior residents. We promote socialization both within the community and out.
One of the reasons some people hesitate to consider a senior living community is because they are afraid of missing out on time with friends and family. That’s not a worry anyone has here. You are encouraged to have guests and visit often. Your family can join you in community activities, so you don’t have to pick and choose who you spend time with.
Schedule an appointment with our consultants to see if Bridge for Better Living can help you find the perfect place. We do all of the research for you. All you have to do is tell us what you need. We have a custom matching practice to connect you to the community that suits you socially, mentally, financially and medically. Call 402-802-3301 if you have questions. We’re happy to help.