Teenagers with grandparents living nearby can benefit tremendously by spending time with them. Here are six ways to nurture closeness between grandparents and grandchildren.
1. Play Classic Card Games
Grandparents can show teens how to play bridge, rummy, canasta, or pinochle. Here’s a memory game to sharpen the recall of all players:
This game can be played with two to six people. Place cards face down on a table in rows of seven. Allow sufficient space between rows so cards can be turned over without disturbing adjacent rows.
One player takes a turn flipping over two cards from any row. If the cards show the same number, the player keeps the pair. Then, they continue flipping cards until they’re unsuccessful at matching. After turning nonmatching cards face down again, the next person plays. The key to successful matching is remembering the numbers on previously flipped cards. Players with keener recall ability score more pairs.
When all the cards are gone from the rows, each player tallies their number of pairs. The player with the most pairs wins.
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2. Explore Grandma’s Jewelry Box
Invite a granddaughter to explore grandma’s necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches, pins, and rings. Each item will have an interesting history. Let the grandchild pick out pieces she likes for grandma to tell background stories.
Perhaps the child can try on accessories that aren’t fragile, and grandma might even offer a piece as a keepsake. If her granddaughter shows a fondness for a certain type of jewelry, grandma will know what to buy for her. Then, grandma can take her to a department store, where she can pick out a present.
3. Share Sports
If grandpa is physically able, a teen grandchild can practice pitching and hitting softballs with him. Grandpa can also reveal his tips for refining skills. Other sports grandparents and teens can share are bocce ball, lawn bowling, croquet, pool, and shuffleboard.
A grandparent can teach the grandchild how to play Frisbee and teach him or her the backhand toss, forehand throw, and hammer.
A grandparent unable to participate in sports can attend games with grandchildren instead. They can watch professional sporting events or games at a local high school, college, or community center.
4. Try Out Fashion
Teen girls and their grandmothers can paint each other’s fingernails. Alternatively, the ladies can visit a nail salon or go to a department store or beauty salon for makeovers. Afterward, they can admire each other over a restaurant meal.
A teen girl who loves the mall can go there with grandma. They needn’t even spend money. Some malls are fun just to stroll through while gazing at lovely landscaping and fountains. A grandmother and her grandchild can also window shop and have heart-to-heart talks. A mall trip is also convenient for a grandparent who uses a wheelchair.
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5. Collaborate on Hobbies
Working together on projects fosters bonding. Grandparents can pass on their knowledge and skills and demonstrate their talents. As teens become adept at new hobbies, their self-esteem will grow, and they’ll also respect their grandparents even more.
Teens will be thrilled to learn about astronomy, bird watching, gardening, metal detecting, and photography. A grandparent who’s a great cook can pass on his or her favorite recipes. A senior who’s gifted in handiwork can share his or her expertise. Teen girls can have fun learning cross-stitch, crochet and embroidery, flower arranging, knitting, or quilting.
A grandparent who enjoys collecting objects can help a teen start a hobby. Teens can catalog coins, dolls, cards, stamps, nail polish, lip gloss, guitar picks, die-cast toys, seashells, key chains, or marbles.
6. Attend School Events
Grandparents can support teenage grandchildren by watching them participate in sports, dance recitals, plays, concerts, choirs, talent shows, and school debates. They might join in school fundraising events such as bake sales, comedy nights, art auctions, bingo, or game nights.
Grandparents should bring their cameras to school events. Even if photographs aren’t permitted during a program, they can take pictures before and after. They can easily document time together for future reminiscing with the kids.