Having experienced the isolating period during the Circuit Breaker, there’s no better time than now to lavish the grandparents with some tender loving care, and encourage bonding and mutual understanding between them and the younger ones in the family. Here are six ways to bridge that generation gap and have some fun in the process:
1. Family history
Take an excursion to visit where the old kampong used to be; or browse through some black and white pictures of relatives to piece together your family tree. You can find out what it was like to grow up during World War II or post-war years from grandparents who experienced life during that time. When you ask Nenek and Datuk to share some stories from the past, you might be rewarded with some gems or funny stories of yesteryear!
2. Learn a new skill set
Many of today’s grandparents grew up with skills like sewing, crochet, baking, gardening or woodworking. They can pass these skills on to grandchildren, and in turn, you can teach Ah Kong how to be digitally savvy.
3. It’s game time!
Who doesn’t like games? How about challenging your grands to card games like UNO, Old Maid; video games; or board games! For a greater challenge, try playing charades in dialect or your mother tongue. While you’re at it, ask your grands about the games that they played when they were your age! You may be surprised to find a new favourite!
4. Cooking & baking
If grandma or grandpa loves to cook or bake, whip up favourite family recipes. While you’re at it, capture the cooking/baking process in a video to form a digital family cookbook or simply just for safekeeping. Bonding over those secret family recipes of sambal belacan or chicken biryani is definitely a fun and yummy way to build great memories together in the kitchen.
5. Sing karaoke and dance!
How about a singalong with Dada, or a dance with Dadi? Ask them about their favourite songs from their youth, then turn up the volume for a little song and dance party! Who knows, you might just learn some cool moves and tunes to impress your friends!
6. Be pen pals
If your grandparents don’t live near, try being pen pals with them! You can send postcards or hand-written letters via snail-mail. Write about the family’s latest excursion or let them know you are thinking of them. Talk about the last time you were together, or write about something you know they love; like Ah Ma’s favourite nonya kueh or her beloved mahjong games. You can also send Ah Ma a box of stationery, postcards and stamps so that she can write to you too! Regular communication can help bridge the physical distance, and allow closer bonds to be forged between the seniors and young.
There’s no doubt the relationship between a grandchild and grandparent is a very special one. Help to nurture it by bonding over these activities and build warm memories along the way.