Tips for Intergenerational Learning
“Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.”
(“Thanksgiving Day” by Lydia Maria Child)
Spending time with grandparents is an important part of a child’s life. The grandparent-grandchild bond is generally very strong and can often provide opportunities for learning to occur. Here are some tips for encouraging intergenerational learning.
Create opportunities for your kids to talk with their grandparents. Our lives are often busy and despite our best intentions, we can often forget to make time for extended family. Scheduling visits to “grandmother’s house,” gathering together for holidays, and getting together to celebrate birthdays are just a few of the many ways to create opportunities for your kids to interact with their grandparents. For families that live in close enough proximity, asking your parents to babysit your kids can be another great opportunity to grow that bond.
Ask for their advice and have your kids ask them for advice as well. We as parents can learn from the advice, wisdom, and insight of our own parents who often have much more experience parenting than we ourselves do. In addition, this wisdom and experience can also benefit our kids. And during the teenage years when teens may not be as open or accepting advice from their parents, they are often more receptive of advice given by their grandparents. Bear in mind that how we treat our parents will influence how our children treat us when they become adults. If we respect, honor, and cherish our parents, our kids will be more likely to respect, honor, and cherish us.
Have your kids teach their grandparents how to use technology. Most kids growing up today are quite adept at using technology. Whether it’s the latest smartphone, tablet, or iPod, our kids know how to operate all those fancy gadgets. The great thing about asking kids to help teach their grandparents how to use technology is that it makes them feel like technology ‘experts’ and validates their knowledge and skillfulness. Many grandparents would welcome helpful instruction especially if it meant having the chance to spend some quality with their grandkids.
One of the best gifts we can give our children is the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents. Strengthening the bonds of family is rewarding for everyone and creating memories with loved ones is an opportunity to bring joy and happiness into our lives and the lives of our children.
Part four of a four part series on generational learning.
Part 1 – Why Generational Learning Is Important
Part 2 – Williamsburg with My Grandmother
Part 3 – Intergenerational Learning: Insight from Research Studies
Part 4 – Tips for Intergenerational Learning