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6 Ways To Go From “Fogey” To “Fresh”! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Teacher Lee   
Thursday, 29 August 2013 23:13

Teacher Lee Grandma and ChildOlder folks can make an important contribution to a child's development ... just by having fun!

In the United Kingdom, a charity called the Nuffield Foundation formulated a study to see how much of an impact grandparents have on the development of their grandchildren. Their study found that young children, cared for by average middle class grandparents, develop better vocabulary than those in day care or preschools. They are ‘significantly ahead’ by the age of three due to the amount of one-on-one time they spend with a loving adult. Their conclusions highlight the important role grandparents often play when they are involved in providing ‘informal’ childcare.

I decided to devote a blog post to talking about the 6 ways grandparents, great uncles and aunts and older family friends can make a real and lasting impact on the early childhood development of the children they spend time with.Make time for the children in your life

  1. Make time for a child

    Find the time in your busy schedule to just block out the noise and static and focus on a child in your life. The break from your routine will be therapeutic and the positive impact on the child is immense.
  2. Relearn how to play

    The trick is to remember why being messy, creative and having fun used to be so great! Sit down with the child in your care and start playing along. Let them lead the way and lose your self-consciousness. No one is watching. You will very quickly find that the sense of wonder, stripped away by years of financial preoccupations, grown up relationships and the human condition, quickly returns. We know of a grandparent who has a private stash of Playdoh, so she can play when the children are at home with their parents. The rule is: Just let go and enjoy your special time together.
  3. Read to children and have conversations with them

    Reading develops thinking and speaking skills in children, and who doesn’t like to tell a great story. Books that encourage children to point to pictures or touch them are great because it becomes an interactive experience.  And don’t be shy to ask the child in your care to read you a story. Children love to read stories. Often, even children who cannot read yet will tell the story from memory and use the pictures as a guide. That makes the experience even more valuable by developing speech and memory as well! Remember, if the child starts making up a brand new story to match the pictures, go with it. I can guarantee their story will be really interesting and your praise reinforces their imagination and creative spirit.
  4. Play games … any games

    Children love to play with everything around them so join in. Sort buttons by color or size, stack beanbags, sort carrots by length and then eat one … there is no limit to the amount of fun you can have together with absolutely anything, and it is all a learning experience!
  5. Do the things you love to do and teach children how to do it too

    If you love gardening or crocheting, cooking or piano, sit down with the child in your life and share some of that knowledge. These don’t need to be structured lessons. Just play a song, plant a flower or bake cookies together. The impact your sharing will make on that young life is difficult to overstate. Try it. See how beautifully children react when you bring them into your world and then embrace their naturally inquisitive nature.
  6. Tell children those great family stories

    Every family has wonderful stories of pioneering ancestors, crazy mix-ups, funny vacations and more. Share them. Children love great stories and, when those stories are about their own family, it makes them even better. Don’t be shy to pull out an old photo or draw a picture with them to illustrate the tale.

Every older person has an important role to play in providing guidance to a child and imparting the wisdom gained over a lifetime. Older people can play a central role in teaching values like sharing, cooperation, trust, compassion and patience just by learning how to be a child again.

By making yourself a positive part of a child’s early learning, you can play a very important role in preparing that child for Kindergarten and a wonderful school experience.

Have fun and make a mess!

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Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 23:34

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