Fun Activities For Grandparents And Grandchildren
Grandparents might have time
They say that grandchildren and grandparents are bound by a common enemy.
Having said that, if you are lucky enough to have grandparents in your vicinity, they can be a great resource and family builder. You see, most (but not all) grandparents have a natural interest in their grandchildren--their estirpe as we say in Spanish. Grandparents have a wealth of experience and stories to tell. And most of all, if they are retired, Grandparents tend to have some time.
As a matter of fact, it is not terribly important what activities the grandparents choose to do with the kids, as long as it's one that's appropriate for children. It is much more important that they spend quality time engaging with each other.
However, some grandparents may need a list of "don'ts". For example: It is probably not great for Grandpa to take four-year-old junior to his local VFW hall for a beer. Inebriated toddlers are never a good idea. Nor is it appropriate for Grandma to take four-year-old Cyndi to her weekly canasta game, as Cyndi may become bored and start kicking the other grannies. If your parents or in-laws do not have the judgment to choose appropriate situations you may have to babysit until they get the hang of what is appropriate.
Also, in suggesting these activities you have to be diplomatic. If Grandma and Grandpa are still working 40 hour weeks, or if they are very involved in the childless life (y'know, cruises, drinks at the club etc.) you may wish to temper your expectations. You know your parents/in-laws.
Another thing to consider is how much grief you/your spouse gave their respective parents. If you yourself or your spouse were a very trying or difficult child for them, your payback is that they may not want to hang out with little partial genetic copies of you. But if you were a dutiful and respectful child that brought them joy they might want to share that joy with your progeny.
Another factor to consider is how well-trained your children are. If they are whiny demanding brats with a sense of entitlement, Grandma and Grandpa may not wish to hang out with them. But if you've emphasized "please" and "thank you" and the fact that the world doesn't owe them diddly, Grandma and Grandpa may be able to tolerate them for a couple of hours.
If they need some suggestions here are some:
- a hike to a nearby natural place, assuming Grandma/Grandpa are up to it
- a trip to the park
- fishing, boating, swimming
- a trip to a museum (appropriate for children, of course)
- a trip to a spectator sport such as a baseball game
- state or county fair -- best if Grandma and Grandpa have helped the kids prepare an entry in it
- if Grandma or Grandpa know anything about foraging, a hike to forage for local natural food or herbs is awesome for kids. (I'll be doing this with my G.C. as soon as they're old enough to pick and put!)
- a train trip is always fun
- hunting (older kids, of course)
- music or art festival
- trip to the beach or a lake
- if Gramma or Grampa are tech-savvy, maybe they could do a cross generational blog!
- a big jigsaw (with snacks of course!)
- a movie (good or bad) but if it's bad, the G.P may wish to host a "bad movie party"
- amusement park
- let Grandma/Grandpa plan and host a child's birthday party
- baking cookies or doing crafts at the grandparents' house
- have them come to your house and make a meal that you can all eat together
- Grandma and Grandpa can take them to visit an old folks home
- depending on the age of the kids, Grandma and Grandpa can take them on a weekend camping trip and give you a bit of couple time
- Older grandchildren can be requested to help Grandma and Grandpa with cleaning or home improvement projects and get an excellent meal out of it.
What if you and your spouse's parents are a long way away? Often you can find local retired folks whose children (if any) live far away and who are dying to grandparent someone. Obviously you need to get to know and build up a level of trust with these people before allowing them to take your precious children. But they can become excellent friends and contribute to your child's rearing.
Older people have a lot to offer. They lived at a time before your time, and they may transmit ancient skills, stories, and outlooks to your children that you can't. They say every time an old person dies, a library burns down. Take advantage of grandparents or surrogate grandparents, build a mutually beneficial relationship, and get some time off!
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