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Visiting Grandparents in a nursing home

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Five ways to make your child’s first nursing home visit a happy one

When it’s time to visit loved ones at a retirement home, many kids (and a few adults) get a little nervous. But a retirement community isn’t a place where people go to die; it’s a place where they go to live. Below is a list of tips to help young kids understand the fun and importance of visiting the grandparents in their special new home.

1. Be honest

Parents should be as honest as they can be about what a nursing home will look like, smell like, and feel like. Not too graphic now, we don’t want to re-conjure any scary images. But, children will be a lot more comfortable in a strange, new environment if they have some idea what to expect.

2. Bring a gift!

Have your child take some responsibility in making or bringing a gift for the parent/grandparent in the nursing home. There’s nothing like the spirit of Christmas in the middle of the year. Giving helps make the experience more important and fun for everyone involved. A card that a child helped make will mean so much.

3. Play a game!

Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers often have fun activities for the residents. Have your youngsters join in and play their grandparent or great-grandparent in a rousing game of Bingo. Before you know it you might have an Olympic shuffle boarder on you hands.

4. Leave your baggage at the door

Children notice when their parents are uncomfortable in an environment. It is vitally important for parents to model the behavior they want their child to emulate. Any discomfort or bad blood that you might feel as a parent will be noticeable. Highlight the positive and avoid saying anything negative about the environment or the people at the nursing home.

5. Enjoy story time

Have your kids read the nursing home residents a book, or better yet spend your time listening to the fascinating stories from the grandparents and great-grandparents who live there. This is a great opportunity for your kids to learn and be entertained.

Visiting an older parent or grandparent is enough of a challenge for most busy adults today. Add bringing the kids along, and this job just got a whole lot tougher. That’s why it is so important for children to get used to these visits at a young age, so that children learn to respect their elders and be comfortable seeing any adult in an appropriate environment. After the visit is over, make sure to ask your children how the visit went, what they liked and what they didn’t like. Dialogue is so important in making everyone more comfortable with new experiences.

Luca Lashes and his First Trip to the Nursing Home is available at www.LucaLashes.com and all major ebook and app marketplaces.  [AUTHOR: Nicole Fonovich]

August 27, 2014

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