Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
In a previous article, we explored ‘5 Tips On What to Do When You Have Mom Fatigue’. One of the tips was to never be afraid to ask for help. And, that should include from your own parents! It’s very common to see different generations as being somehow different or incompatible beyond basic visits or the occasional phone call. When it comes to the relationship between a child and their grandparents though, it can be surprising how easy it is for them to find activities they both enjoy.
Getting together and playing with their grandparents offers a great opportunity for your little ones to form important family bonds. It also gives single mom a break, whether for an hour or for the better part of a whole day! So in this article we want to look at some great activities for your kids and your grandparents to enjoy together.
Free Play Between Grandparents and Kids
When we think about children playing, we tend to picture little kids running full speed around the garden, or shooting nerf guns at each other. However, sometimes spending time with a kid just requires sitting in a comfortable place. Or it means freely playing with any toys the child chooses to focus on.
The rules of free play are very simple. Just let the kid decide whether to bring a Barbie doll or a race car, and let them determine what each character or piece in their game is doing. Grandparents only need to pick a toy and try to follow the story. These activities allow the child to express him- or herself without judgment. And, sometimes form bonds in a special way that simply wouldn’t occur through a more structured activity.
Grandparents can Build Something with Their Grandchildren
With time, adults develop the ability to take their time and follow instructions. This is something that most kids have very few opportunities to learn. However, through common toys like LEGO sets, you can teach your children how to be creative, follow directions, and practice patience all at once. Fatherly notes that you can also use this sort of activity to pose specific challenges. These include finishing an aspect of a set on a timer. Really, it’s an ideal creative activity. Moreover, though lots of parents enjoy LEGO time it’s a good option for grandparents as well. et’s be honest, we like playing with these sets too)
Sitting next to their grandkid, offering to organize some of the pieces, and helping to put sets together is just a very rewarding exercise. And while at the beginning some kids might let the grandparent(s) do all the work, this sort of activity tends to lead pretty inevitably to joyous collaboration.
Learning Card Games
Playing cards may seem somewhat old-fashioned. But there’s actually some data to suggest it remains a popular activity for kids and grandparents to enjoy together. In fact, Gala Bingo did a survey on this specific topic, and found that only “talking about the past” was favored by more respondents than playing cards. It’s a bit of a surprise! But, it speaks to the fact that even today, kids can get swept up in fun card games with their grandparents. From “Go Fish!” or “War” for the little ones, to “Hearts” or “Bridge” later on.
Plus, this activity has some benefits. Teaching a kid how to play a game of cards requires that the child pay attention, memorize rules, and even apply fine motor skills. If the game is a hit, it gives the child a skill to work on. It also sets up a lasting hobby he or she can enjoy with the grandparents. Plus, any given game can eat up a few hours’ time –– giving mom a much-needed chance to recharge.
Playing Video Games
Older family members might have some trouble grabbing a controller or understanding what’s happening on the screen, but younger grandparents’ media literacy is much wider. They’ve had multiple chances to play with older consoles, and may even have one or two casual games on their phones or tablets, meaning it’s way easier for them to learn how to use new technologies and understand game mechanics.
Today’s children, meanwhile, don’t just play games –– they follow complex storylines and even socialize through them, all in an almost spookily natural way. Furthermore, lots of children will feel immensely grateful when adults in their lives listen to their expert advice on, say, how to gather resources in the creative building game Minecraft, or how to score in the wildly popular Rocket League. Games like these give kids chances to share interests with grandparents, and even teach them a few things. It can actually be fascinating to watch.
Whatever the specific activity, spending time with their grandparents can be an enormously beneficial activity for children. It allows them to feel safe and understood, even as they develop different skills and strengthen bonds. It’s important to remember though that the child is the center of attention, and that in order to truly capture their attention, the type and theme of the activity must be something they would find intrinsically engaging.
Nail that balance and you can have a break while the kids and grandparents are at play!