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A grand holiday time to get in tune with the younger generation

Grandkids enjoying swinging in the snow on Christmas day 2015.

Article and photo by Patte Smith

Being part of “The Next Chapter” generation so to speak, I get to interact with my Colorado grandchildren quite a bit. As grandparents, aunts and uncles of kids and teens, we “olderish” folks might feel we cannot connect with them. Not true. We can find a way in! Believe me, and it does not cost a thing. Well, it does cost a little of our time … which we all can afford.

As we gather together to celebrate our family traditions during the holidays, let’s take advantage of the time we spend with our grandkids, nephews and nieces. There are simple ways to nurture our relationships, even with teenagers.

Teens are constantly on their phones. Do yourself a favor and have them teach you how to use your phone. These young adults are techies to the core and know the ins, outs and arounds of electronic devices. If your grandchild is a gamer, grab a video controller and learn how to play – don’t assume you won’t like it; they like it. You may surprise yourself and be good at it, or not. Music is a huge part of their culture like it was when we were teens. Let them play their music (the clean versions), and do not make judgments – appreciate the time spent with them. There really are some good songs.

Playing cards and games can be fun with tweens and teens. Drag them to the table while they are grumbling and get them to play. My grandson and our neighbor’s teen daughter will actually play a game with our family and our friends. They get hooked when the laughing and friendly quarreling starts, which is almost immediately.

One of the best places to get kids chatting is riding in a car. When they start gabbing, they do not necessarily want solutions. They want you to listen and not judge – and listen to their music.

Playing sports is a big draw for both sexes and all ages. Get outside and shoot some hoops, go to the park, play four-square, hike to the top of Castle Rock or sit and watch a football game on television together.

Younger girls and boys love art, hobbies, playing outside, books and going through junk drawers – a real treasure trove (I have many). Head out to the library for books and special events. (Our library is wonderful.) When my grandkids come from California, we spend a lot of time on the floor drawing, cutting paper, building (I’m not sure what) and coloring. And, oh my goodness, the girls love the odds and ends jewelry box!

Keep the swings up in the backyard, so they all can swing in the snow. Grab some old blankets and some flashlights and make a tent over the dining room table or some chairs.

Most children are in awe of animals, beautiful skies, the moon and plants and bugs … maybe. Explore nature, take a walk or hike. If you like to bake, take advantage of their help and enthusiasm, especially during the holidays. Drive over to Daniels Park to view the buffalo herd. And, what age can resist a jigsaw puzzle that is sitting out. Christmas lights are a must so bundle up, jump in the car and view the many splendid holiday lighting displays.

Believe me, I am no expert about kids – these are only a few of my ideas. I am sure you can come up with a few of your own. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday with your family, especially the younger generation. They are remarkable individuals who are talented, loving, intelligent, humorous and irreplaceable.



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