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Summer Fun with the Grandparents: Teachable Moments Included

Summer Fun with the Grandparents: Teachable Moments Included

Over the last year, many of us were unable to spend time in person with extended family members – especially grandparents. So our gatherings this summer will be particularly special. And, parents, we can make this time even more meaningful between our kids and their grandparents by encouraging intentional teachable moments in a variety of ways.

Relationships

Let’s make sure our kids know the significance of the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. It can truly be a treasured relationship, and we don’t want our children to take it for granted. We can help cultivate the relationship by sharing stories of our own growing up and the memories we have of our parents (their grandparents). We can share funny or surprising stories and then encourage our kids to ask their grandparents to relay the same stories as they remember them. (This can be fun…and possibly awkward.) These conversations can lead to teachable moments with our kids as we identify with them about once being kids ourselves and living under our parents’ authority. We can even compare the rules we had to follow as kids compared to what we require of our kids today. Our kids might get a kick out of picturing us getting in trouble with Grandma and Grandpa!

Mostly, though, we want our kids to understand the importance of this relationship and connection they have with their ancestors, their history, their story. Kids aren’t always naturally curious about their family history; as parents, let’s not neglect to teach them anyway.

Communication

As we plan our family’s time with the grandparents, let’s encourage intentional conversations. We can help our kids brainstorm questions to ask Grandma and Grandpa–things like what they enjoyed doing when they were kids, how much things cost when they were teenagers, what kind of music they liked, how they met each other, some of their favorite places they’ve traveled to, and, of course, some embarrassing stories about raising their kids. (The grandkids and grandparents can bond over giggles about their parents’/kids’ mess-ups and misfortunes.) And if they’re having trouble thinking of tales to tell, pull out the family photo albums, and the stories will surely abound.

Children can learn so much just by listening to their grandparents tell stories. Let’s urge our kids to really pay attention when their grandparents are talking and encourage them to ask questions. We need to take advantage of the teachable moments, both for our children and for ourselves, of having people who have lived through many decades and have observed changes in our history and our world and can give us first-hand accounts. There is much wisdom to be gleaned, if we only pay attention.

Quality Time

Let’s do our best to ensure that our family’s time with the grandparents is of good quality. The past year has been a strong reminder to us that we are not at all guaranteed to have together-time with those we love, so we don’t need to take it for granted. Let’s seize these teachable moments with our kids by not letting them get distracted by screens or anything else when they are with their grandparents. Let’s teach them to be both present and engaged through having conversations, playing games, going for walks, swapping stories, or working on projects together. A particularly special time together can involve the grandparent teaching something to the grandchild, whether it’s cooking a favorite family dish, working in the garden, building something, playing music together, or any number of other skills. The memories made in the learning process are the real gifts. 

More than ever before, we should all realize how precious and valuable face-to-face time is with each other. Let’s be sure to point out these significant teachable moments in our lives by inspiring deeper relationships between our kids and their grandparents. And if the phones or other screens do make an appearance during the visit together, let’s at least encourage our kids to take pictures of and with their grandparents! The sillier, the better. Let’s make memories of making memories.

Carrie Bevell Partridge and her husband Kevin are on the lookout for teachable moments with their five kids in Ridgeland, MS. Read more from Carrie at carriebevellpartridge.com, where she writes words of encouragement and support for marriage and family. Carrie is also in the process of writing a book on practical ways to seize teachable moments with your kids.

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