Did you know the fourth Sunday of November has been designated Grandparents’ Day in Singapore?
Grandparents are an important and special part of our children’s life. Their lavish love help the little ones blossom. Through sharing their life stories, they impart important values that help our children develop a strong sense of identity and history. How can we as parents encourage our children to have strong ties with their grandparents? If our extended families are living in different countries, how can we still foster a sense of closeness? Or if our children have never had the privilege of meeting their grandparents, how do we remember and honour their lives?
Here are some ideas on how we can preserve our precious memories of our Grandparents in our family legacy:
Photo Memory Books
We lived abroad for the first years of Baby Lee’s life. But during those early years, we made a simple album filled with the photographs of all our loved ones. We would look at the album often, almost daily, tell him who the different family members were and tell him how much they loved him. Our photo memory books soon became digital folders that were sorted by events and occasions like birthday celebrations and outings.
It doesn’t matter whether it is just a basic photo album or a fancy scrapbook. What matters is that the children are able to look at pictures of these shared family times and be reminded of those special moments with Grandpa and Grandma.
Food has such an important place in our homes, not just because they fill our hungry stomachs. Every family would have some signature dishes that someone would claim to be ‘the best ever’ or something that is always eaten at every family gathering. Record these signature family recipes from Grandpa or Great-grandma in a special family recipe book. Learn to prepare these from the experts themselves, and involve your children in the preparation.
Letters from Grandpa & Grandma
I recently found wonderful keepsake ‘About Grandpa’ and ‘About Grandma’ journals at a stationer. These are filled with writing prompts for Grandpa or Grandma to complete, and with wide ranging of questions from ‘What is your favourite colour’ to ‘How did you meet Grandma?, you’ll be guaranteed an interesting and insightful read into the lives of the Grands after they are done.
If the Grandparents are not too hot about writing, then how about having them do a voice or video-recording? Do it interview-style and cover their life stories while at it. Here are a few prompts for you to draw out their life-stories:
- What are the most important lessons you have learnt in life?
- What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?
- If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?
In our Asian family structure, grandparents play an important role the extended family. Although you own grandparents may not be around anymore, why not take this opportunity to bond with your in laws and parents as well?
By Sarah Wong
This article was first published in The New Age Parents online magazine