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Nurturing the "Grand" in Grandchildren

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By Karen Scott,
Executive Director
First 5 San Bernardino

How grandparents can help young children reach their full potential

A grandparent’s love and support has a positive impact on children, particularly in the early years of a child’s life. According to the Foundation for Grandparenting, when kids develop a strong bond with their grandparents, they feel more stable and even do better in school. Researchers have also found that these relationships between older and younger generations have long-term benefits for grandparents and grandchildren.

There are at least 56 million grandparents in the country, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting that more than 4.5 million children live with their grandparents. In honor of National Grandparents Day on September 13, First 5 San Bernardino recognizes the important role grandparents play in the lives of young children. Below are helpful tips on how grandparents can support their grandchildren in their early years.

Pas s on Traditions

Sharing stories helps develop a child’s mental, verbal and communication skills.

Share family stories with grandchildren.  Remember, children love to hear what their parents were like as kids!

Provide kids with wisdom and guidance – grandma and grandpa can be great role models.  Describe the “good old days” in

ways that help kids understand their own life and the world around them.

Move and Groove

Healthy eating and exercise are important. A grandparent can help a child develop a healthy lifestyle even at a very young age.

Keep physically fit together –indoors and outdoors – by stretching, playing hide-and-go-seek, dancing or walking around the neighborhood.  Limit a child’s time watching television, on the computer or playing videogames so they can have a more active lifestyle.

Pass the peas – or oranges, apples and broccoli! Help your grandchildren develop healthy eating habits by encouraging them to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Create Teachable Moments

Reading to children and playing creative games at an early age helps prepare them for success in school.

Play games like “peek-a-boo” when they are babies and word games when they are in preschool. Games help kids learn colors, shapes, numbers and letters in a fun way.

Read rhymes and stories or sing songs together. Choose books that encourage kids to touch and point to pictures.

Show kids how to play well with others. Teach cooperation and sharing by taking turns and working together to finish a project, put away toys or solve a puzzle.

First 5 San Bernardino encourages all grandparents and other caregivers to learn about local resources that can help young children. For more information, please call (909) 386-7706 or visit www.first5sanbernardino.org and www.first5california.com/parents.

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