Watching, Entertaining, and Engaging Your Grandkids
For many seniors, the ability to spend time with their grandchildren is a gift. Grandparents can enjoy a just-enough dose of their grandkids without having to deal with all of the stress of raising them. Although the kids may go back home with their parents when their grandma and grandpa time is over, that doesn’t mean that you only play a minor role in childhood development. Through entertaining and engaging your grandchildren, you can make a positive impact on the child, and you may even experience a few benefits yourself.
Before You Watch the Grandkids, Prepare Your Home
If your grandchildren are going to spend time at your house, it’s a good idea to make sure your home is childproof. Childproofing requires considering the ages of the children and how much supervision they require, but also a critical eye at whatever potential hazards may be in your home. For example, one potential risk is large furniture. Bookcases look like large ladders to small children. They often have interesting things piled up in them, which make them attract little ones like magnets. If not properly secured, they can cause serious injury or even death.
Bookcases are easy to secure with minimal tools and supplies. Home supply stores carry woven and plastic straps for furniture anchoring. Attach one end of the strap to a screw in a wall stud and the other end to the back of the bookcase using a wood screw going through solid wood.
Flat screen televisions are other items that can tip over easily. While many newer TVs are featherweight, even the lightest models can cause serious injury to a child. If your TV is not anchored to the wall, use straps to secure it to its table base.
Other childproofing steps that may be necessary include putting outlets covers wherever little hands may explore and securing bathroom and kitchen cabinets that may contain dangerous cleaning chemicals and medication.
There’s more to preparation than just setting up your home. If you’re watching your grandchildren for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to have a babysitter lined up just in case. You can find babysitters in Baltimore, MD, by researching online for a sitter that fits your needs. Be sure to check availability, qualifications, and references.
Once Safe, Encourage Educational Play
There are many games that you can play with your grandchildren. Some focus on fun, and others impart important lessons. The best games do a little of both and allow grandparents to add their unique spin to a child’s life. Kids like sweet treats, and grandparents are known for doting on their little ones.
While kids can learn a lot through interactive play that incorporates science, music, and art, studies show that grandparents also receive a mental boost from playing with young ones. Engage in fun activities for both of you and exercise your brain while introducing them to new information and skills. Children can also get your body moving, providing necessary physical activity to you both.
Grandparents are also able to provide a unique perspective to their grandkids. Children are often curious about history and the old days. In school, they may be learning about the post-World War II era, the 60s, the Vietnam War, and other historical events that you may have experienced. You also may be the family elders, possessing rare information about other ancestors. You can also be a source of culture for your grandkids. As the generations pass, young children can be distanced from national origin and religion. Introduce old traditions through cooking, song, language, and other connections to ancestry.
Grandparents can provide much for their grandchildren through entertaining and engaging play. Activities can keep you and your grandkids physically and mentally fit while fostering a family closeness that will be appreciated for many years to come.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
By Sharon Wagner