How Sports Can Help Grandparents Connect with Their Grandchildren
It can be tough for several generations of a family to find things in common. Spending time together, especially as kids reach their teen years, can be awkward. If families are separated by long distances, finding meaningful ways to bond is important.
Research shows that both the younger and the senior generations benefit from these connections. Children develop healthy perceptions about aging when they have seniors involved in their lives. The older generation enjoys a boost in spirit when spending time with the younger generation.
Sports can be one way to bridge the generational gap. Family members can follow favorite teams and connect wherever they are.
Bonding Over Sports
- Family team: In some families, everybody roots for the same teams, going back multiple generations. This gives the elders in the family an opportunity to introduce grandchildren to the sport and help them learn more about the team’s history. They can also follow the team’s current progress together.
- New sports: It might also be fun for several generations of the family to adopt a brand new sport and team. Think outside the main four American professional sports (baseball, basketball, hockey, and football) and consider options like a European soccer league, college lacrosse, women’s tennis, or underwater hockey. One newer sport that might capture a child’s imagination is Quidditch. It started as a fictional sport in the Harry Potter series, but it has evolved into a real, worldwide sport!
- All-star games: Watching special games together, whether in person or on television, can also be fun. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 17 is one example. Some of these sporting events even look for volunteers, which can provide another opportunity for bonding. The Olympics are another good example of an intergenerational activity families can enjoy together every two years.
- Social media: Connecting with sports teams online can also be entertaining. Sports stars often host Facebook Live events, respond to fan comments, and share insight into their lives beyond their sport via social media. Teaching a grandparent how to safely use social media channels can be another way for the generations to bond.
- In-person visits: If the teams you chose to adopt aren’t close by, maybe you can plan a vacation together. Fan clubs often host events, and some even include players. You might also consider going to watch a practice or exhibition game. Many major league baseball teams train in warm climates like Florida and Arizona before the season begins.
Other Ideas for Intergenerational Activities
If sports just aren’t for you, here are a few other ways families can bond across generations:
- Family book club: This is another one that can be fun without being limited by location. Try reading the same book every month or even every week if kids are younger. Use your local libraries to keep costs down. Grandparents who live far away can host regular book club meetings with the grandchildren via Skype.
- Video game challenges: Technology makes it easier for people to connect and compete on video games no matter where they live. The younger generation can help the family elders get set up and rolling during their summer and holiday visits. The Nintendo Wii is particularly popular among seniors!
- Cooking lessons: Pick a few family recipes and make them together. Both generations can document the recipe and directions in their own handwriting and create their own mini cookbook. For long distance families, video chat cooking lessons can be an option—although you might have to include an adult to help the youngest family members!
Live With Legacy at Sunrise
Intergenerational activities are a popular part of the life enrichment programs at Sunrise communities across the country. Stop by the community nearest you to learn more!