Collaborative Post – The older you get, the more aware you are of the relationship between children and adults. I’m sure we have all seen teenagers being rude to the elderly before and felt that pang of frustration. It’s normal to observe that behaviour and feel this way, especially if you have children of your own. It’s normal to become steadfast in the knowledge that your children would never behave like that, but how can we make sure that’s the case?
Introducing children to the elderly at a young age and encouraging them to spend time around the elderly is incredibly important for achieving this. In fact, it has a host of different benefits worth considering and it this quick post, we’re going to walk through some of the most important. Whether you haven’t thought about this before or you’re just interested in the topic, by the end you should feel inspired and ready to get your little one out and engaging with the older generation.
Note that if you are struggling to find an opportunity for your child to engage with the elderly, then consider checking your local community centres or homes. Establishments like this care home in Welwyn Garden City often get involved in local community events or welcome visitors at any time, so do a little research and you are bound to find a space where your child can speak to the older generation.
One of the first big lessons children learn from the elderly is patience. By nature, the older generation often struggle to move or react quickly whilst our little ones are full of energy and constantly moving. Playing and engaging with the elderly forces children to slow down for a moment and ensure that their older playmate is still with them, teaching patience through a natural interaction rather than a disciplinary lesson.
This encouragement of patience doubles up as a great lesson in empathy because the children’s young minds have to step into the shoes of another person to understand why they are being slow. Learning how to do this is effectively is a pillar of human communication and a key life lesson for everyone.
Respect and Kindness
As parents, the one thing we want more than anything is for our children to be innately kind. Kindness is fairly difficult to teachbut it can definitely be learnt through experiences and engaging with the elderly is a brilliant method. Whilst the older generation often struggle to do tasks that we find simple, that doesn’t make them any less dignified. Often, people treat the elderly as weak individuals who need to be looked after rather than treated as adults, an incredibly disrespectful way of looking at things.
By introducing children to the elderly early, they become much more accustomed to treating everyone as equals, regardless of physical or mental ability. It’s this type of habit and attitude that translates into being a kind and caring person.
Joy in Service
Another challenging lesson to teach is the happiness that can come with doing something for another. Selfishness is a natural part of human biology and as a result, children are naturally self-centred. Having siblings helps greatly with this but engaging with the elderly is another great way of showing the value in service.
Often, the older generation need help with smaller tasks that children can complete. Then, upon completion, they are excellent and giving praise which positively reinforces the behaviour. Ultimately, young children who help the elderly quickly realise that doing things for others makes them happy and it’s this joy in service that helps them learn how to share and care about those around them.
Finally, it’s important to note that children who spend time with the older generation are often more confident and mature than those around them. This is primarily because they get used to conversing and engaging with adults, which helps greatly throughout their school career and future adulthood.
Note that these four points aren’t the only benefits of introducing children to the elderly early, they’re just some of the most important. Every child is different so you will likely see lots of different behavioural shifts in your own little one. Give it a try and you’ll be surprised by how quickly the changes occur!
Disclosure – This is a collaborative post.