We visit twice a month and the children call it the “Grandma and Grandad’s house”

The intergenerational experience of FaNs - benefits for residents and young children

I’m a Registered Childminder in Colchester and together with a fellow Childminding colleague we began taking our minded children to a residential home eighteen months ago. Now we visit twice a month and the children call it the “Grandma and Grandad’s house”. I know the children look forward to and enjoy our visits, they have made friends with some of the residents and it’s a joy to see them interacting. The activity coordinator at the home, who organises our visits tells us that it’s almost as if the residents wake up on the days we are there. Of course, there is another side to this, occasionally one of our friends is no longer there when we visit and although it’s sad it is also an important part of life for the children to begin to understand. We have been very lucky, so many lovely people have donated toys for the children to play with and even residents who are not so mobile enjoy watching children pushing the baby dolls around in their prams. At Christmas time we “help” decorate the tree and we always sing songs together. I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I have ever been involved with.

On a personal note I had the privilege of fulfilling one of the wishes on the wishing washing line and taking two lovely ladies to the Theatre, we had such a wonderful time and it was a pleasure to do such a small thing that bought so much joy.

Kim Barnetson, Childminder and FaN