Greg's mother is staying with us this week and its turned our lives upside down... in a good way. Grandma can't climb stairs anymore, so our library (Luke and Emma's playroom) has been turned into Grandma's bedroom. My children couldn't imagine a better bedroom: one filled with toys. And they love to hear stories of what their Daddy was like when he was young.
As part of the "middle generation" many parents, like Greg and myself, are often responsible for the healthy, well-being and happiness of not only our children, but also, our parents. Now that Grandma is in her 80's and Nana (my mother) has hit 78, loud, energetic preschoolers can be a bit overwhelming for our parents. But there are easy ways to encourage bonds between young children and their grandparents.
As we've found, reading books aloud can captivate grandchildren as can telling stories from the past.
Grandparents can also teach a fun game or hobby (cards, baking, stamp collecting.) If your parents are young enough, encourage them to take their grandchildren on special outings (parks, museums.) If your children visit their grandparents' house, you can encourage your parents to create a special corner for your children, who can collaborate on this, bringing their own toys and books.
By having Grandma around this week, Luke and Emma have learned to be patient, since Grandma doesn't move very fast. They've also learned to be quiet at times, when Grandma is napping. And Grandma gets a chance to forget about her health concerns, sing and do a lot of laughing.
It's a bond that's worth encouraging.