Great grands

For those children fortunate enough to have grandparents in their lives, the benefits are great – reflects KATE BARBER.

In today’s world, many families are dispersed about the globe; and so the relationship between grandparents and their mokopuna may be anchored by weekly Skype sessions.

But, regardless of whether they live around the corner or in the northern hemisphere, having nana and pops in their lives helps kids feel connected. And it gives children another pair, or pairs, of adults who love them unconditionally, who will offer support and guidance, who will play and spend time with them.

Many parents balance complex work and family responsibilities and the traditional role of raising a child is changing. Increasing numbers of grandparents are playing an important role in their grandchildren’s early years as they share the care of their children’s children.

Often grandparents are able to bring more energy, engagement and patience to these times than mum and dad because they aren’t also responsible day in, day out for the relentless stuff of routines – because they aren’t up half the night with a baby, or juggling work with school drop-offs, childcare, grocery shopping and extra-curricular activities.

Just as mokopuna treasure their grandparents, so too does Playcentre. Grandparents often accompany their grandchildren to Playcentre sessions. The slogan for Playcentre is “Welcome to our village” and grandparents form a crucial and valuable part of that village. 

Barbara, a Playcentre grandparent, says that attending Playcentre means that “I get to play with my grandchildren. It gives me a place, a sense of belonging and keeps me young!”.

Many grandparents have this desire and capacity to indulge their grandkids, to listen to their stories, to get down on the floor and play, to seek adventures or fun experiences – or, if they live far away, to plan their next holiday to come and visit.

I have accepted that it’s the prerogative of grandparents to spoil their grandkids – to give them that lollypop or buy them that flashing musical toy.

It’s also the role of grandparents to support us parents by helping to role-model and reinforce those values that are important to our whānau. I’m ok if my kids are ‘spoiled’ with sugar or toys occasionally just as long as: 1. they are getting consistent messages like how important it is to be kind to others; and 2. that spoonful of sugar is delivered with a massive helping of love – which it always is!

Playcentre is holding a special day for honouring those with silver in their hair and gold in their hearts on Tuesday 22 October. We would like to take this opportunity to say to all of the fantastic grandparents out there, thank you.

For more details go to: www.playcentre.org.nz/events/grandparents-day/