In support of Families for Life Council’s Celebrating Our Grands! celebrity Fann Wong took some time off her packed schedule to share about her five-year-old son, Zed (or Zedzed as she endearingly calls him) and his relationship with his grandparents.

Zed is extremely close with his grandparents. Fann attributes this to the fact that they live together and spending a great deal of time together from young has naturally help Zed develop a close bond with his grandparents.

Fann recounted a recent family outing to the aquarium. Zed was clearly in high spirits and chirpy that day as his grandmother was joining them for the outing. Unfortunately, just as the family was about to step into the aquarium, a call came and his grandmother had to leave urgently.

As soon as she left, Zed completely lost interest in visiting the aquarium and they ended up waiting for her return. Zed even sent his grandmother a text telling her that he was unhappy without her around.

Zed’s close bond with his grandparents is clearly envious. Speaking with Fann, we round up three plus points on having grandparents involved in children’s growing up year.

1. Being parents to adults, grandparents are experienced child minders

Fann firmly believes that grandparents have years of life experience which enrich a child’s understanding of the world. Their experience also come in handy in instilling important values such as care and respect.

One night, Zed was struck with a high fever and had to be rushed to the hospital. Even in that feverish condition, Zed kept his grandfather in his thoughts and reminded their helper to “take care of Ah Gong”. Fann was very touched by her son’s considerate gesture for his grandfather.

She acknowledges that there could be personal differences about parenting methods with the grandparents, however such differences can be easily be solved through communication.

2. Grandparents have time to cultivate children’s passion and hobbies

Zed is currently fascinated with plants and insects, Fann thinks this was definitely influenced by his grandparents who would take habitual morning and evening walks with him in the garden. Zed’s grandfather would also point out the different types of flora and fauna to him.

“My mom once showed Zedzed a video of the Giant Taro which amazed him. On discovering that we have a few poisonous plants at home, Zedzed then became very curious and started to find out more about other poisonous plants too!” Fann shares. There was even a picture on Fann’s Instagram of Zed and his very own homemade Insect “hotel” made from recycling plastic.

Apart from discovering and examining new types of plants and insects, one of Zed’s favorite past-times with his grandmother is singing. Spending his afternoons this way was what helped the two forge a strong bond.

“My mum is well-versed in children’s and pop songs, so they will often sing songs together,” shared Fann.

3. (Hopefully) Children can learn dialect

If there is anything Fann hopes Zed can learn from his grandparents, it has to be “the Hakka dialect!”.

Similar to most households where native dialects are less spoken these days, grandparents are the best people to rise to the task of introducing younger family members to our culture and heritage.

Observing how much her son and his grandparents treasure one another fills Fann with a lot pride and warmth – she feels that her son has grown to be caring and considerate to his elders. For example, Zed who loves to regale his grandparents with stories would naturally switch to Mandarin when speaking with them as he realises they are not as conversant in English.

While it is easier to develop and maintain a relationship if grandparents and grandchildren live together and interact almost every day, Fann, asserts that parents play a key role in fostering strong grandparent-grandchild bonds.

As children naturally emulate behaviour from observing how parents treat their grandparents, to inculcate values such as filial piety and respect for the elderly, are best done when parents lead by example. To Zed (and Fann), his grandparents are clearly much more than just caregivers.

Back for the second year, Celebrating Our Grands! campaign (1 – 6 Oct) aims to instil positive family values in our young, and encourage them to show appreciation for their elderly extended family members. Click here for more tips and creative ideas to build stronger grandparent-grandchild bonds!