A Grandparent's Most Precious Gift
I remember the days of olde:
baking with my Busia (grandmother)
being Dziadzia's (grandfather) little helper when he worked in his tool shed
cuddling up to my grandparents during storytelling
Lifetime memories are the most precious gifts you can give to your grandchildren (and yourself). While trendy toys come and go, quality bonding time is paramount.
There are many ways of creating memories together.
Simple pleasures like star-gazing, skipping rocks, fishing, and the list goes on.
Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new.
(Blueberry Bear taught me “You’re never too old to learn something new.)
Teaching compassion by volunteering for something you both value, but whether living far or close, young or old, tech-savvy or not, there is one momentous universal bonding technique, and that is READING.
Bond by Reading Aloud
From newborns to adult grandchildren, it’s never too early or too late to read. Like a "bound book", reading aloud to your grandchildren binds a lifelong loving relationship
But They’re All Grown Up
Your grandchildren are adults, but it's not too late to bond through reading. Join a book club together or start your own private family book club.
Helps remove the age barrier of having nothing in common.
Sparks curiosity in your grandchildren by wanting to learn more about you at their age.
Sparks interest in you wanting to know more about their ideas and goals.Strengthens communication and relationships.
Offers mental stimulation and improves memory.Tell your story. Use catchy text, bullets, links and more to bring your words to life.
But They Only Sleep, Burp, and Fart
Reading to your new grand baby is the "grandest" gift you can give them.
Reading aloud builds a bonding relationship with not only you but also for their love of books. It's also their "first step" towards child development.
To your newborn grandchild, your soothing voice gives a sense of closeness and security. Within a baby's first week, they can recognize familiar voices. So what better way to strengthen your bond but to read aloud to them.
Benefits of Reading Aloud:
Boosts brain power. Studies reveal reading aloud to infants increases their vocabulary and mathematical skills later in their childhood.
Enhances your grandchild's awareness of surrounding sights and sounds.
Develops social and emotional skills.
Increases vocabulary and writing skills.
Helps children express themselves.
Encourages creativity, imagination, and curiosity.
Broadens their knowledge and understanding of the world.
Ages 0 - 3 Months:
Newborns focus on sounds. By reading, your new born grandchild will recognize you in no time. The rhythmic patters of your voice will start to stimulate your grand baby by swaying their arms and kicking their legs. Each day they learn to focus on objects. Bright colorful picture books with simplistic patterns, shapes, letters, and colors will help them recognize them in months to come.
Teach your grandchild early that reading is fun by:
a. singing nursery rhymes b. making funny sounds c. using character voices d. bouncing your child on you lap or other fun activities
Ages 4 - 6 Months:
Your grandchild is growing and is showing more interest in picture books by grabbing, holding and even chewing on them.
Encourage your grandchild to touch, hold and look at their picture books. To keep books intact, choose sturdy vinyl, cloth, or board books.
To keep your grandchild interested, choose bright colorful picture books with repetitive or rhyming text.
Keep a basket full of picture books in reach.
Ages 6 - 12 Months
During daily read alouds, your grandchild should start to show more interest by grabbing at the book and making sounds. They will start to prefer some pictures over others, and understand that pictures represent objects.
Help your grandchild interact even more by:
helping them turn pages
show them the correct way to hold a book
start pointing at objects and colors on the pages
help with object and color recognition by pointing and repeating words
Tips on Fostering the Love of Books
The earlier you engage your grandchild with positive and fun reading sessions, the more likely they will become avid readers.
1. Cuddle with your grandchild during story time.
2. "Lions, and tigers, and bears, Oh My!" Read with an expressive uplifting voice.
3. Encourage interest and interaction by:
a. reading slow b. stopping to ask questions or make comments c. explain words by pointing at the illustrations d. the use of different voices for each character. (Reading the book before hand will help familiarize yourself with the story and characters.)
e. for babies, buy books with mirrors, different textures and sounds. f. reward your grand child's efforts with books of their interest
Tips for Encouraging Non-Eager Readers
Your grandchild may think reading is a chore and would rather play games or watch TV. Here are a few tips to bring out the bookworm in your grandchild.
1. Take your grandchild to the library or book store. Display enthusiasm while looking for a book of their interest.
2. A change of scenery may help in showing reading is fun.
a. If your grand daughter loves princesses- have an outside princess tea party and a few princess books on hand.
b. If your grandson loves trucks - set-up a sandbox with trucks, construction toys, and of course, truck story books.
c. If your grandchild loves animals - taking them to the zoo or aquarium and buying them a book. Also, check if your local shelter or library has a "read to a dog" program.
d. For those dinosaur lovers, museums are a sure bet to get them interested.
Bring out your inner child and find creative ways of coaxing out the bookworm in them.
I'm sure it's hard for those grandparents who live far from their grand kids, but that shouldn't stop you from reading with them.
For you tech-savvy grandparents, there's Skype, YouTube, and FaceTime, Readeo and "A Story Before Bed".
For the not so tech-savvy, iPads are easier to use, and a new one has launched called, the GrandPad Senior Tablet.
For the non tech-savvy, there's always the phone, but will require both parties to have the same book. You can video tape or record yourself reading; Hallmark also has recordable books.
Some of you may shy away from purchasing books because of their price.
No book is too expensive if it grabs your grandchild's interest; nor are they too expensive compared to paying hours of tutoring to bring your child up to learning speed.
Teresa's website, www.nanahood.com was awarded by Grand Magazine as the
2016 Best Grand Parent Website.
My dog Jamie (a.k.a. Blueberry Bear) was a reading therapy dog and a Paws 2 Read Ambassador.
As Jamie inspird me, through her books she hopes to encourage children to
Read, Grow, Flourish
Reading is fun,
Learning helps you grow, and
Challenges make your flourish.
So give your grandchildren what they would really cherish, your precious lifetime gift of "Walking Down Memory Lane."