Bringing kids to an assisted living facility to visit their grandparents can often be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming for some kids. Whether due to fear or discomfort of something they don’t understand, kids have the ability to react negatively. However, there is no reason not to bring kids to visit their grandparents. It can really perk up the grandparent, as well as provide an opportunity for the kids to get to know their grandparent. Instead of turning a visit to an assisted living facility into a battle or your child having a meltdown, there are plenty of opportunities as a parent to help make any visit with the kids a positive experience. Here at Garden Hill Assisted Living in Columbus, we love to see families visiting and bringing the kids, so here are some tips to help make each visit a positive experience for everyone.
Pick a “Good” Time
A very important factor in visiting an assisted living facility with kids is picking an ideal time for both the grandparent and the child. We all know there are certain times of the day that are not optimal for kids. Nap time and meal times are not ideal times to be bringing a young child to come socialize with their grandparent. Every parent knows there is a time of day when their child is the happiest, and this is the best time to bring them to visit their grandparents. In fact, their happiness and joy at the assisted living facility will often be contagious.
As we all know, you can’t plan for everything. So it’s exceptionally important to come prepared for those moments that you can probably predict. Make sure to pack snacks for everyone and include toys for younger children. If your child is in late elementary school or older, ask them to pack a book or two, just in case they get bored and won’t stop pestering you. Make sure you have the things that you need as a parent to help avoid a meltdown and meet the needs of your children so that everyone can enjoy time with your loved one.
While it’s certainly important to plan ahead so that you’re prepared for your child’s needs when visiting a grandparent, it’s also beneficial to plan an activity ahead of time so that your child can interact with their grandparent in a structured way instead of feeling like there is nothing interesting or worthwhile to do. Consider some of the following activities that you can plan for so that your parent and your child can have something fun to do while you visit.
Share a Book
No matter the age of your child, bringing a book or two to share with their grandparent is an excellent activity. The grandparent could always read to younger children, and children who are learning to read or older could read to their grandparent! Pick any of the classics from Roald Dahl to Harry Potter for kids to enjoy with their grandparents. Or for younger kids, opt to go to the library before stopping by for a visit so they can pick out new books to share with grandma or grandpa.
With some of the latest adult coloring crazes, opting to bring coloring books and crayons or colored pencils could make for a fantastic afternoon. Let the grandparent color with their grandkids or bring a skill appropriate book for each individual and just enjoy spending time coloring together. Color engages both fine motor skills and the brain to create a very relaxing and soothing activity for everyone.
Play a Card Game
For older children, pull out a deck of cards and have fun. Younger kids may opt to play “Go Fish” or “Uno” with their grandparents, while older kids can have a blast playing “Rummy” or “Hearts” with their grandparents. Not only is it a fun activity that gets the brain working, but it’s interactive versus just watching a movie together.
Plan an Outing
Another great option is to plan an outing so that child and grandparent can enjoy time outside of the assisted living facility. Plan a picnic at a local park everyone can enjoy, or perhaps go to the library where a child can pick out new books to share with their grandparent. Another option may be to go out and see the newest Disney movie together. Whatever you plan, the grandparent is going to enjoy spending time with their grandkids and getting out of their home for an afternoon.
Making sure that kids get to know their grandparents can be very important memories years down the line, even when a grandparent is in an assisted living facility. Come visit your family member at Garden Hill Assisted Living and bring some joy to their day here in Columbus!