How do you get the generations to talk, listen and have fun with one another?
Grandparents often complain that the kids spend too much time on their tablets and smartphones, while the kids complain that their elders are boring. For many families, there’s usually a quick exchange of kisses, hugs and cheek pinching, and then everyone goes their separate ways.
If you want to make the most of this holiday season, encourage more interaction between the ages. Younger generations can benefit from the guidance and support that older generations provide, while older adults will appreciate the socialization that children bring. To give you some ideas, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can facilitate more of this interaction.
Look at Your Family Tree
It’s fun to look back at your family history and see where everyone came from. Even younger kids enjoy learning about great and great-great grandparents – their names, where they lived, what they did for a living. Use a tool like Ancestry.com to shed light on your background and where extended family might be living today.
Cook Dinner Together
Cooking and eating are social activities that can bring people of all ages together. Plus, the food always has a way of tasting better when everyone contributes! Delegate different tasks to family members (i.e., stirring the gravy, carving the ham, setting the table, etc.) based on their age and how they want to contribute. Also consider creating a family recipe book that includes your family’s best recipes.
Play a Game
A board game, a puzzle or a card game is an excellent way to get everyone together in one spot. If board games won’t get the kids’ attention, you might want to try an interactive game on a tablet or gaming console. There are plenty available! By playing games together, younger children learn the basic skills of patience and taking turns, while older adults can stretch their mental and social skills.
Visit Your Town
Check out different places that you might want to visit, such as a local museum or art center. It’s fun to get various perspectives on these exhibits and to find common ground. For example, many children and their grandparents are brought together because of a shared interest in music, sports or art. When these interests are discovered, take things a step further by volunteering your time as a family. Volunteer work is beneficial for all ages and provides a deep sense of purpose.
Rather than having the kids sit in one room and the adults in another, bring everyone together through intergenerational activities! Everyone in the family will have something to gain, and you can create memories to last a lifetime.