Grandparents Teach, too
Grandparents stepping up to fulfill needs
“You don’t really know something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” — Einstein
“Having grandkids is a blessing. Helping to shape their lives is an honor.” — Unknown
Grandparents and other relatives are valuable assets to parents coping with and succeeding during this particular time in our history. The United States has a history of everyone pulling together to keep the family safe and flourishing, especially the children.
Here are some suggestions from people in mental health and education. First of all, keep in contact and stay alert. Check in by phone, FaceTime, or Zoom weekly. Grandparents can ask parents how they can help.
Here are other suggestions. Reading and talking with children are soothing. If you are close by stop in, if appropriate, and read to young children with masks on or outside. You can use FaceTime or Skype. Teens can show you how to set it up if you don’t already use it. Arrange a time several times a week and read or tell stories. Read a page and then turn around the book and show the pictures.
Once children can read, they can read to you. Grandparents need this soothing attention, too. Every community library has its own rules for check out or you can purchase a few book gifts at a local store or online. Joke books are especially fun. Rob Elliot has an excellent series.
Search for positive hopeful stories from your religious books. There are many children’s versions with illustrations. Then talk about the story. What is the message?
Look for happy, loving stories for any age like “The Lion and the Mouse” by Jerry Pinkney, “Stone Soup” by Marcia Brown and “Mama Miti” by Donna Jo Napoli. Give librarians a call to find science, history, fiction, mystery, sports, or biography chapter books about famous people. They may suggest a few. They may even have a service for you where they pick out books that you can pick up like a take- out restaurant or grocery. Each community library has different rules. However, universally librarians are very helpful people and are good friends to have. Give them a call. Children may also have their own suggestions.
Grandparents can send some love packages. Holidays may need to come in spurts and early this year. These packages may include new crayons, markers, coloring books, colored paper, a new version of Monopoly like the one on the National Parks (ages 8+), a game or puzzle and an envelope to send pictures back for your refrigerator.
Mental health people urge us to find a way to stay close with walks, talks, and bike rides in the fresh air and sunshine while still being cautious. For more ideas see email@example.com and wnmufm.org/ Learning Through the Seasons.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the U.P. Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.