A child’s mind can absorb information like a sponge absorbs water. Learning at this age is fast and easy. It’s like a blank canvas constantly filled with new painting or images.
The role of the grandparents in a child’s brain development is important. What you did for your own children’s development works pretty much the same way for your grandchildren. You are not the direct caregiver, but you still play an important role.
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What You Can Do
- Make your home childproof.
Children are very curious. They want to investigate everything they see. Make your home an interesting, yet safe place for your grandchildren to explore. You can start by covering electrical outlets, removing breakable heavy objects, locking up medicines, cleaning products, and anything else that may cause harm to your grandchild.
Let your grandchild explore without fear that he might be hurt. Everything is new to him. Let him play with simple things from your home as long as it won’t endanger him.
- Read and sing to your grandchild.
Mom and Dad are often busy with work, and you might be the only one who can spend quality time with your grandchildren. Reading and singing with them will not only be fun and memorable, but can also provide a training ground for children to become more articulate. Increase their vocabulary by singing and speaking to them. Many books are age appropriate. Purchase one or more, making reading time with your grandchildren a regular routine.
The time you spend with your grandchildren is not only good for them, but for you also. Studies show that reading, socializing, and taking care of others highly elevates our mood, reduces feelings of depression, and lifts our spirits.
- Let children be children.
Sooner or later children must go to school, where they will need to interact with others outside of your family circle. You can provide support and guidance in advance. Studies show that sheltered children have a hard time adjusting to others, have low problem-solving skills, and are prone to depression, obesity, and anxiety. Children should be allowed to explore and fail on their own. Give them freedom to play — even allowing for the occasional skinned knees.
Practice at Home
As grandparents, you can provide safety rules for your grandchildren, outlining what they can and can’t do, where they can go, and creating curfews for older grandchildren. This practice at home prepares them for independence later. Encourage your grandchildren, while you offer oversight, guidance, and support.
Taking care of children can be challenging, yet very rewarding, too. Make every opportunity fun and educational. Protect your grandchildren from dangerous situations. Follow regular routines. Be attentive to their needs, and spend time with them as much as possible.
Nobody’s perfect, but parents and grandparents can look for ways to ensure that families are loving and safe places for grandchildren. By providing patient support, you are helping your grandchild grow into happy, healthy adults.