Whether you're volunteering at a school or spending time with your grandchildren, young people make excellent companions.
You already know spending time with your grandchildren is rewarding, but there may be more tangible benefits than you realize. Not only do your grandchildren benefit from your guidance and friendship, but you may also find that you are laughing more and getting a bit of exercise around young people.
Benefits for seniors
Whether you're babysitting your grandchildren or just spending time together as part of a family event, you can gain a lot from these moments. Children are learning about the world, and as such, offer amusing and heartwarming insights and behaviors that are sure to warrant a glowing smile. You may even see a bit of yourself in your grandchildren, which can be immensely rewarding.
As Senior Lifestyle reported, there are even health benefits that come with looking after young people. Older adults who regularly spend time with children burn 20 percent more calories than those who don't, and this can even lead to improve mobility and fewer falls. Seniors spending time with children also perform better on cognitive tests, including individuals experiencing memory loss.
Older grandkids may not want to run around as much, but they are also great companions. Discuss books and movies, learn a bit about technology or simply go for a walk. Young people will leave you feeling refreshed and also proud to be a grandparent. This is a great way to stay socially active and connected with your family. Your own children, meanwhile, will certainly appreciate the support.
Benefits for children
Young people stand to gain a lot from intergenerational activities as well. Conversing with adults of different ages and with different backgrounds challenges children to work on their communication skills and ability to be an effective friend. Beyond a change of pace from their parents, you grandchildren will also benefit greatly from another role model.
Slightly older grandchildren may start wondering about their own place in the world, and your years of wisdom can be effective. Because you've raised kids before, you may be a bit more prepared than first-time parents to tackle difficult questions and intervene when times get rough. Both your children and your grandchildren can gain a lot from your helpful guidance.
Programs and organizations
Opportunities to make an impact on the lives of young people doesn't only extend to your own grandchildren. There are all sorts of programs that connect children with older adults, and as Generations United reported, this arrangement is mutually beneficial. For seniors with grown grandchildren or family that lives further away, volunteering at a school, afterschool program or elsewhere is a fantastic idea.
In fact, Senior Lifestyle found that students in classrooms with an older volunteer or assistant teacher often perform better on reading tests than do their peers. Not only is an extra adult very helpful for teachers, but the same wisdom and friendship that is so great for your grandchildren can be applied in this setting as well. Students involved in intergenerational programs in and out of school often have lower rates of drug and alcohol use.
There are all sorts of locations and organizations that can help you make a positive impact on the lives on young people, as well as reap the benefits these sorts of opportunities offer. Reach out to the local library, a nearby preschool or your community's school system to ask about any needs and volunteer programs. This can be a one-time event or become a part of your regular routine. This is a great chance to get out of the house and make a difference in your neighborhood.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living