Many people have fond memories of spending weekends with their grandparents as children. However, today’s fast-paced, mobile world can sometimes interfere with relationships between the generations.
Sharing the history of your family and stories of times otherwise only seen through the eyes of textbook writers is vital. It ensures the continuity of wisdom, but more importantly, it forms a strong love link between older and younger members. Here’s how you can encourage multigenerational family bonding.
1. Invite the Gang to Play
When was the last time grandma or grandpa took the littles to the playground? Doing so could have significant benefits for everyone’s health, young and old alike. Pursuing fun activities with others can help prevent brain aging, stave off stress and keep you feeling young and energetic. Outdoor exercise develops young muscles and bones while making naptime less of a battle royale.
Strength and sleep aren’t the only perks of multigenerational play for your youngest family members. Spending time with older relatives helps to increase their self-confidence. They’re able to get advice from someone besides their parents on how to cope with peer pressure and make the right decisions. They feel comforted, knowing that they always have someone they can turn to for guidance and support.
What if grandma and grandpa aren’t spry enough to run around the park? Even walking can provide needed exercise. However, if disabilities keep them housebound, your children can still enjoy playing with them. Nearly every household has board games that you can whip out on rainy or sick days. Plus, the older generation probably remembers some neat games you can play with only a deck of cards, perfect for budget-conscious families.
2. Pack a Bag for Grandma’s House
Could you and your significant other use some uninterrupted “me” time? If so, why not consider letting the children stay over at grandma and grandpa’s house. After all, they raised you to adulthood — hopefully with few adverse effects. As long as there are no abuse issues, you have a built-in babysitting system, assuming you live in close enough proximity.
However, just because your folks raised you doesn’t mean you see eye to eye on parenting techniques. You might prefer to do things differently, not to criticize them, but rather because your research led you to find other methods more effective.
Please openly share your expectations with your babysitting parent. It’s just as crucial to invite them to do the same. For example, some grandparents don’t take issue with last-minute requests to watch the littles. Others prefer that you give them a day or two worth of notice before showing up on their doorstep with toddlers in tow.
3. Making Holiday Memories
The most magical time of the year is almost here again. Please try to spend the holidays together as a family. If distance makes multiple gatherings problematic, look for ways to slash travel costs so that your children can enjoy sharing traditions with older relatives.
For example, always switch to the incognito mode when researching flights so that airlines don’t know you’re looking. You’ll often find the lowest price this way — returning to the same site once your cookies are saved can lead to price increases when you repeatedly search an identical route.
Also, look for the cheapest days and times to fly. Don’t be afraid to mix and match airlines to get a lower price. You can also consider driving if the trip isn’t too far — but whip out your calculator and do the math first, given the recent rise in gas prices.
4. Sharing Travels Together
If you live paycheck to paycheck, but your parents don’t, another way to encourage multigenerational family bonding is to let your little ones travel with grandma and grandpa. Many airlines allow children over eight to travel solo, and some let younger passengers under select circumstances. It’s an option if you can’t afford tickets for the entire family to take a trip.
If you have the means, taking older relatives on family vacations is also an ideal way to encourage multigenerational bonding. Many hotels feature adjoining rooms, letting the parents stay on one side and the littles on the other. If your children are too young to share a room unsupervised, having an older relative board with them lets you and your partner enjoy a little privacy on your getaway.
5. Exploring Cohabitation Arrangements
You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Such statements might never ring more true than today. The average cost of childcare rings in at $1,230 a month per little one. Even if you make triple the minimum wage at $21.75 an hour, daycare alone takes up one-third of your monthly income. Add in rent and other costs, and before you know it, you’re struggling to feed your family.
However, you could save a bundle if retired family members agree to shoulder some of your child care burdens. Doing so could enable you to save for a home — or your folks might pass on the one where you reside together to you. If you don’t have your own property, combining your resources might allow you to qualify. It’s far more stable for your children to have a place to call home than it is to deal with the uncertainty of rental situations.
Encourage Multigenerational Family Bonding These 5 Effortless Ways
Connecting across the age gap provides a host of benefits for young and old alike. Encourage multigenerational family bonding in these five nearly effortless ways.