In a study titled, ‘Grandparents investing in grandchildren,’ conducted by MetLife (2012), it was found that the majority of grandparents surveyed felt that teaching their grandchildren about personal and family values was very important to them. The time spent with grandparents has a very great impact on the life of children. So, here are five tips for grandparents of four-year-olds to enjoy their time with their little ones.
- Have fun and games: For most children, spending time with their grandparents means nothing but fun. So, go ahead and enjoy. Hide-and-seek, treasure hunts, picnics in the park, watching cartoons and nature shows on television – feel free to try out one activity each day. Four-year-olds are a bundle of energy. So, keep them engaged. While playing games, let them learn to respect the rules of the game. Also, help them accept both winning and losing in the same vein. If they learn these lessons early in life, they will become good team players later. For, these are the first steps in attaining their emotional milestones.
- Read stories: From listening to stories, preschoolers now graduate to reading stories. Provide them with rich visual stimulus as you read aloud with an illustrated book propped on your lap. Let the child listen to the sounds of the words you read and look at the pictures and relate to them. You can also encourage them to read along. Choose books pertaining to their level of reading and comprehension.
- Go on shopping trips: Short trips to neighbourhood shops will serve as good physical exercise for the energetic young children. Also, they will get to observe people and places. They will also begin to understand the concept of paying for things we buy. You can also encourage them to interact with those at the bill counter. Whenever there is an opportunity, teach them to say those three magic words – ‘Please’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank You’. These will be their early lessons on manners.
- Impart values: This is where the role of grandparents becomes important. Whether it is play or other regular activities, find opportunities to impart values such as honesty, kindness, sharing and selflessness to your little ones. Integrate the teaching of values into the daily routine. Story time can also be sessions for inculcating values in children. Choose moral stories that children can relate to easily.
- Inculcate discipline: “When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window,” said Ogden Nash. This is quite true. Grandparents tend to be lax when it comes to disciplining their grandchildren. So, be cautious. Correct the tiny tots when they err. Of course, do it gently. And, most importantly, remember not to intervene when parents correct their children. Taking sides will not help.
Go on and enjoy spending time with your little darlings!
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