A Grandparent’s Influence – VP of Curriculum Dee McDonald
My friend, Lorna, received great news several weeks ago. Her son was promoted at his job, which meant he would be relocating to Denver. Of course, Lorna was excited to be closer in proximity to her son, but she was overjoyed that her grandchildren would also be growing up in the same city where she lives.
Lorna is the director of one of the premier preschools in the suburbs of Denver. She has been committed to educating young children for over twenty years. Now she can impart knowledge and experience to her grandchildren regularly, the second generation that has brought her so much joy while teaching.
Lorna’s experience is not so different from many grandparents today. So many of my friends have relocated to be near their grandchildren and set aside large quantities of their weeks to watch the youngest members of their family grow. This time spent with grandparents is also a learning opportunity for the grandchild.
The impact of a grandparent on a child’s life cannot be quantified. Parents are often considered a child’s first teacher, which means a grandparent is the child’s teacher’s teacher. Grandparents have a wealth of historical and cultural knowledge that may be lost if it is not passed down from generation to generation. From cultural foods and dress to giving the gift of multi-lingual fluency to a child, grandparents play an integral part in the child’s early development.
Even long-distance grandparents can be more present in their grandchild’s life. Using social media tools, such as What’s App and FaceTime, allows grandparents to interact with their grandchildren while sometimes being hundreds of miles apart. This helps with the child’s learning journey as they can see, hear and learn from their grandparents, even when they are not physically present.
The art of being a grandparent is not limited by family ties. Any inter-generational relationship can benefit a child. Whether it is a neighbor, teacher or friend; giving a child access to the warmth and wealth of knowledge from an older generation is invaluable.
If you are a parent of a young child, be intentional about helping your child build relationships with grandparents. Schedule specific times when your child will participate in an activity, such as going to the park or library with a grandparent or a senior. The time they spend together will be valued by both your child and the grandparent.