Kids say and do the darndest things – especially in the eyes of their grandparents. But seniors can learn a lot from today’s children. Whether your grandkids are 2 or 22, here are some suggestions for things you can talk about and bond over.
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1. Current events
Sometimes, seniors don’t get out into the world as much as they used to and time passes by. Keep yourself in the know by asking your grandchildren what’s happening in their lives, what music they’re listening to, what the last film they saw was. Being informed is always a positive thing, and learning from your grandchildren is even better, because it means learning from those you love.
Young kids always want to do everything themselves because they believe they can. Use this dedication and determination as an example. You might be surprised what you’re able to do when you put your mind to it – whether it’s picking up a new hobby, learning a new language or listening to new types of music.
3. Innocent observation
Often children will embarrass adult family members by saying the first thing that pops into their heads. Kids may notice things others may not, simply because their world is new and different each day.
Try to look at the world through the eyes of your grandchild and you’ll be surprised at how wondrous (and humorous!) it can be.
4. Current family stories
As a grandparent, you may know everything that went on in the family 40 years ago, but you may not know the hilarious thing your grandson did last week while he was playing outside. Encouraging kids to tell you little family tales keeps them happy and brings everyone closer. Sometimes little memories are the ones you cherish most.
5. Carefree fun
Grandchildren are always on the move and always looking for entertainment. Don’t let retirement turn into the golden years of worrying. Take a page from your grandchild’s book and learn to let loose and do something silly. You’ll feel years younger as you’re playing and being carefree with your grandchildren, and they’ll enjoy it just as much as you will.
6. Grandparent patience
When you’re used to being asked for advice all the time, it’s hard to switch over to listening to your grandchild talk a mile a minute. Parents always seem to be learning patience, but by the time you’ve become a grandparent, the toddler and school-age years are long gone. A grandchild brings grandparents back with jarring reality. Letting a child babble on is great fun and will give you the chance to become a patient listener – a great skill to have at any age.
7. Unconditional love
Young children are full of unconditional love. Even when you might feel like you don’t deserve it or don’t need it, let them in and give them the chance to say “I love you!” Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
8. Life is short
Having only a few years of life experience under their belts, children don’t always realize that “later” is an option. Many grandparents, who have decades worth of memories, forget that life isn’t infinite because they have seen their share of both sadness and joy. Take advantage of the youthful excitement of your grandchildren.
9. Communication and technology
Grandchildren are growing up in the digital age. They probably play with an iPhone in one hand and a sippy cup in another. And they can be a valuable resource for learning the ins and outs of email, Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging and other popular innovations of the past 10 years. If you don’t understand the latest gadgets, what better way to learn from than your grandkids – who use these things every day? Take advantage of these technologies and use them to communicate with your loved ones.
Because card games were the norm when you were growing up doesn’t mean it’s too late to learn how to play new games. Touchscreens and motion-sensing technology have created a new genre of games that are easy to learn and fun.
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