Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren and when they get involved in their playtime that’s where the real benefits of unstructured fun are discovered.
“Playtime is not just a chance for families to bond, these interactions with positive role models can help children develop a range of important social, language and problem-solving skills,” says Dr. Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and an expert contributor to TheGeniusofPlay.org based in the US.
As one grows older, the free unstructured fun enjoyed in childhood is often replaced with structured activities like sports, card games and solving crosswords. Time spent with youngsters can keep elderly people active and give them a chance to live a carefree days.
Here are three reasons why intergenerational play is good for young children:
• Unstructured play tends to be collaborative, encouraging cooperation and honesty.
• Spending time with older adults helps children understand how ageing works, and later accept their own aeging.
• Grandparents are storytellers and their wisdom and experience can open children’s horizons further, as well as ignite imagination and creativity.
When it comes to older people, intergenerational play is beneficial in the following ways:
• Children bring innocence, joy and laughter to any situation, helping adults reduce stress.
• Active, busy play time can keep an older adult vital and healthy. Indeed, those who play with children burn more calories, experience fewer falls and become less reliant on walking aids, according to studies.
• Playtime is good for an ageing adult’s mental and emotional health. Games can help seniors maintain cognitive skills and retain memory, and the quality time with children can prevent feelings of loneliness and boost positivity.
These three tips can help grandparents make the most of the time together:
• Share your favourite games with your grandchildren. From hide-and-seek to hula-hoops, introducing them to the games you played years ago is a great way to connect and make new memories.
• Give children an opportunity to express themselves by letting them share their ideas for what they want to play with you. They’ll be more enthusiastic about participating if they get to call the shots sometimes.
In today’s tech-savvy world, grandchildren might want to play with a toy that uses augmented reality or teaches coding skills. This can be a great way to engage with them on their level and learn more about their favourite activities. Plus, you’ll be learning something new!
• Let your grandchildren win and lose the game sometimes. This is a great chance to boost self-esteem while learning about good sportsmanship.
There’s no doubt about it, intergenerational play is beneficial to everyone along for the fun. Be sure to carve out play time for your family, particularly when visiting with older relatives. — Statepoint