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The essential 15 minutes that can boost a grandparent’s week

Elderly couple on phone

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Josephine McCaul - published on 02/17/24

Discover how and why your children can bring a smile to their grandparents' faces and make them feel needed.

The other day I was in the kitchen attempting to cook when I could hear my kids chatting in the living room. As I listened in to their usual banter, I couldn’t help but smile. They were chatting about their varying music tastes: who has “epic” taste, and whose is “utterly useless.” It was all in great humor.

However, my 25-year-old was in a very brotherly mode and decided to give an important lecture to his younger brothers of 18 and 16 – I must confess, I love it when he does this as he’s usually right and they seem to accept his opinion more than mine.

He quite rightly explained that their grandparents must feel lonely now that their own children are busier than ever in their daily lives. He therefore instructed his brothers to ring their grandparents once a week, especially since they only get to see them a couple of times of year. In fact, he said if he could, he would get all his cousins to do the same. Considering there are 26 of them, my parents would be good for a chat practically every day of the month.

He continued…

Taking 15 minutes once a week was nothing at all, he said. He told his younger siblings that they should remember that their grandparents wouldn’t be around forever, so they needed to make the most of their time with them — a reminder for all of us concerning the seniors in our lives.

His siblings were in agreement. But then, in true big brother style, he further instructed them about what they should talk about. (This really made me giggle.)

He pointed out that although their grandparents are elderly, they love to know what’s going on in their grandchildren’s lives. He explained that he’d spent a good chunk of time on the phone to my mother telling her all about his job. She was delighted. She also knows more about it than me!

Keep seniors informed

He also went on to explain that just because “they’re old and wrinkly” that doesn’t mean they don’t know what’s going on in the world. And this is the reason he also shared with my mom and dad how he’d built his own computer – including the part where he had to go to a computer repair shop when he realized he’d plugged everything in incorrectly. This little nugget provided my father hours of material to share with his friends about the challenges of technology.

My younger kids continued to listen attentively as if they were taking notes.

The next day I spoke to my mother. She’d been delighted to have received three phone calls over the weekend from my boys. She chatted about everything they’d told her. And she felt so included in their lives. She felt relevant and seen. Something that is not always the case for the seemingly invisible seniors in our society.

I wanted to share this with as many people as possible as perhaps it’s something we should all be encouraging our kids to do more. After all, it’s just a small amount of time once a week to take the time to chat to their grandparents, especially when they’re not around the corner.

A workable timeframe

While it might seem unnecessary to point it out, kids seem to do better when they’re given a framework. A 15-minute conversation window is not only doable for older kids, but it’s also not too daunting. For younger children this could of course be reduced to a time that suits their age and personality, from a quick “hello, Gramma” to a slightly longer chat when possible.

Of course, talking on the phone is actually a dying art. While most teens tend to zap off countless texts to their friends, many don’t really speak on the phone to their friends. This regular family chit-chat could help not only bring a little entertainment to the cherished seniors, it could also ensure that children improve their communication skills.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleElderlyMental HealthParenting
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