I’ve recently become interested in finding sources for intergenerational family fun in the Twin Cities. My husband and I moved here in our early 20s. At the time, it was no big deal to be far away from our families. We had each other and we had a good friend base. As our family has grown and we have lost the pre-parenting freedom we used to have, sometimes we feel the trade-off much more acutely. Overall, not having free babysitting is a small price to pay for the life we have built.
The problem is more that my kids don’t see their grandparents often. They miss out on the benefits of having cross-generational relationships. According to the Legacy Project, children benefit emotionally and socially from relationships with grandparents in multiple ways. They have a better perspective of their own history. They gain life skills and confidence and are less likely to adopt self-destructive behaviors (such as drugs) while doing better in school. Grandparents can also provide moderate spoiling and undivided attention that parents can’t always and may not want to do. They can be a confidant and help develop new interests in their grandchild. Plus, they just give kids a chance to interact with people who are outside their usual social circles. There are also benefits for the older adults and parents.
How can you provide these benefits when your own parents are hundreds of miles away? Intergenerational play times. Here are a few that I’ve found around town. If you know of others, drop us a line and we’ll keep adding to this list.