Five Important Things Grandparents Can Teach Grandchildren
Grandparents Nurture and Teach
Grandparent Role as Teacher
Grandparents play many roles when it comes to their grandchildren: babysitters, nurses, caregivers, playmates, friends and even substitute parents and teachers are just a few hats they wear. Their unique position of trust allows them to help nurture and shape their grandchildren’s lives.
One of the most important things that grandparents do for their grandchildren is to spend time with them. During their time with grandparents, children learn important lessons that will remain with them all their lives. While grandparents love to shower their grandchildren with gifts and goodies, the greatest gift they give is their time– time that offers a wonderful opportunity to pass on core values, beliefs and skills to their grandchildren.
One important role that grandparents assume is that of teacher. Here are 5 important things that grandparents can teach grandkids during the special times they spend together.
Choosing Books to Read Aloud to Children
Five Important Things Grandparents Can Teach Their Grandchildren
1. Teach Kids to Love Reading
One of the most rewarding things grandparents can do with their grandchildren is read to them. Reading to young children improves their cognitive and language skills and improves their reading comprehension. Even before the kids learn to talk, they enjoy sitting in grandma’s lap to look at picture books. Use this special time to teach words, colors, letters and objects and tell stories about the pictures. All are ways to teach children to love books and to love reading.
Giving children books that are interesting and fun to read is also a way to encourage them. Grandparents can take the kids to the library for story time or help them choose their own books, something that busy working parents might not have time to do.
Teach kids How to Knit
2. Teach Kids a Skill.
Do you knit, crochet, garden, bird watch, do woodworking? Grandchildren will love doing these activities with you as you share something you love with them. My grandmother shared her love of gardening by taking me on walks through her extensive flower gardens, explaining how each flower liked shade or sun, how to propagate from cuttings or seeds.
She made beautiful crochet doilies and tablecloths, and could reproduce any design just from looking at a photograph. She taught me to value things that we create with our own hands, and passed on her love of crocheting to me. One of the things I taught my granddaughter was how to crochet – it was fun for both of us, and we enjoyed some wonderful talks as we worked.
If you are good at crafts, you might enjoy holding a craft day for your grandchildren. My grandchildren especially enjoyed working with polymer clay to make figurines and magnets. We also had a grand time making collages one year as this is something that you can do with several children at a time. Even the youngest will enjoy pasting pictures onto a cardboard.
Grandfathers can share their knowledge of woodworking, mechanics and sports by teaching the basics to their grandsons and granddaughters. Grandsons who make their first birdhouse or granddaughters who learn to change the oil in their first car will always remember where they learned how to do it.
Teaching Grandchilden About Family Traditions - Making Pirogies
3. Teach Kids About Family
Grandparents are a treasure store of family history. Grandchildren will love to hear stories about their parents as young children or about their grandparent’s lives in the “olden days”. Even very young children enjoy looking at old family photo albums, and this is a great time to tell them some family history.
My own grandchildren always loved looking at old photo albums, and still do. As they got older, they wanted to know more about the family history, and especially liked stories about their parents’ escapades.
4. Teach Kids Good Manners
While parents are the first ones to teach children manners, grandparents can reinforce the basics, and share some of the finer points of etiquette with their grandchildren through fun activities. Grandparents can help kids write thank you notes, teach them to share, teach them that it’s good manners to put the cell phone away when at the dinner table. When grandchildren spend the night at grandma’s house, it’s a good opportunity to teach them how to be a good houseguest, respect other people’s property and clean up after themselves. Somehow, kids find clearing the table or making their beds less painless when Grandmother asks them to help out than they do at home.
5. Teach Kids Good Values
Grandparents often spend blocks of quality time with their grandchildren, and can have a deep influence on their grandchild’s values. They can help teach their grandchildren respect for each other and for other people by listening and responding to them respectfully. They can teach their grandchildren to tell the truth and to act honorably, to be kind to other people and to animals. By their words and actions, grandparents teach their grandchildren tolerance and empathy for people who are different from themselves.
Time Flies... Teach Your Grandchildren Something Today
My mother-in-law was a terrific grandmother, and often reminded us that we should enjoy our children while they were young because the time went by so quickly. I never fully appreciated it until I was a grandmother, and I saw how quickly my grandchildren went from infants to college graduates.
As a grandmother I came to understand that there is a narrow window of time to do certain things. The years that we enjoy with grandchildren while they are young are precious and fleeting, and we can make the most of this precious time by teaching our grandkids about the things we love, the things we love to do, about our values and our families. Why not teach your grandchild something special the next time you spend time together?
Copyright ©2012 Stephanie Henkel
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
What should I do with grandchildren who want to stay in their room because that's the way they are at home?
Some kids are so used to entertaining themselves with their personal electronics that it's hard to get them to break away from them. Try enticing them with some activities that they will enjoy. Would they like baking cookies, playing a game with you, painting or doing a craft? Even my techie grandchildren can be bribed with an offer to go to the beach or to play miniature golf. Think outside the box for ideas that will appeal to them.Helpful 10
What are the things that may or do cause unpleasantness in grandparent/grandchild relationships?
Grandparents often walk a fine line when they have to abide by the child's parents' rules. Unpleasantness can crop up when parents and grandparents disagree on what is best for the child or how to discipline the child. Children are sensitive to any strain between adults, and disagreements between the adults closest to the child might put the child in a position of taking sides or playing one adult against another. As in any relationship, excessive criticism lack of interest in their lives, or being too demanding can damage the way children relate to their grandparents.Helpful 3