Most weekends, Shyam waits by the window bursting with excitement and hopeful anticipation. He has finished his homework and the little boy has asked his parents the question numerous times: “Why haven’t they reached yet?” This is a ritual that repeats itself almost every week when the four-year-old’s grandparents are supposed to visit. And when they finally arrive, Shyam’s joy knows no bounds. He tells grandmother what he did in school the whole week, while he pesters his grandfather to accompany him to the nearest park.
He is not the only one. Grandchildren have an incomparable bond with their grandparents and this relationship, nurtured with love and care, is like no other. In many cultures around the world, grandparents play an important role in ensuring a happy child, while in others, they are around to give sound advice while bringing up the baby.
Research has proven that a grandparent makes a significant contribution to the grandchild’s well-being. A study done by the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at Oxford University, reveals that children are generally happier if grandparents are involved in their upbringing.
If your grandchild loves being around you and looks forward to doing something special, here are some interesting activities that will get them going:
1.Go on a nature walk/to the beach -- A majority of older people have immense knowledge about their natural surroundings and would be happy to share it with young children. If you live in the city or the suburbs, find a green place that you can take the child for a little nature walk. A garden or children’s park with adequate greenery around should be good enough. Talk to the child about the bugs and beetles there and answer their queries. If you live close to the sea, take them to the beach and have fun collecting sea shells and building sand castles.
2.Teach the child to ride a bicycle -- It is a memory that she will cherish forever -- the fact that grandfather taught her how to ride a bicycle. Apart from the important task of learning cycling, this activity will also strengthen the bond between grandpa and grandchild and also teach her to do things on her own.
3.Go to the library -- There is something about going to an old library and taking in the smell of books. When is the last time your grandchild visited a local library? In these days of smartphones and tablets, our children have almost forgotten the joy of reading, especially the joy of enrolling into a library and choosing the book they want. Grandmother can accompany her school-going grandchildren to the nearby library and help them choose books. Reading together, the books that you borrow, will also enhance the child’s experience.
4.Take a tour of the museum -- Every city has its share of history, art and science museums. Most people visit museums and historic places while holidaying, but rarely go to the ones in their city. Parents are often caught up taking the children to the mall or the cinema, and that is how children miss out on the rich experience they can have, when they visit a museum. This is where grandparents come into the picture. If the grandchildren are visiting in the holidays, its is a good idea to take them to the museum based on their interests. Some of these places have interactive activities for children that will keep them occupied.
5.Bake a cake together -- Kitchen and children, a disaster waiting to happen? Not necessarily. Grandparents generally have a calming effect on children and are also more patient with the little ones, so cooking up some interesting in the kitchen is a great way for grandparents and grandchildren to bond. Children generally love cakes and muffins, and it is an activity where they can help in mixing and pouring.
6.Do some gardening -- Gardening is an activity that is not just good for the well-being of elders but also a healthy actvity for children. It gives them a chance to be outdoors, soak up the sun and connect with nature. Grandparents can teach a lot of interesting things about flora and fauna while they are together, tending the garden -- how to plant a sapling, how a seed grows into a plant, why composting is important and many other things.
7.Play a game of chess -- This can be really enjoyable for the child, especially if the grandparent is highly competitive and makes it a lot of fun. Children will not just learn how to play better but can also get tips and tricks about the game, which will make them more proficient. It is also a great way of bonding with the elders in the house.
Grandparents are an epitome of wisdom and knowledge and grandchildren can really benefit from their wise ways. These activities are also beneficial to bring out a closer bond between the young generation and the old.
Also read this article, which pays tribute to the contribution of grandparents in bringing up grandchildren: