Grandparenting – 5 Great Tips

grandparent facetime

not me  😉

Last time I called my grandkids on FaceTime my husband watched me study the screen trying to rearrange my wrinkles and tilt my head so my neck looked smoother.  “You know,” he laughed, “I think FaceTime was invented by plastic surgeons!”

Ok, ok, I know that FaceTime was created to provide that live contact that we all crave. It’s just that until they connect, I get distracted…

A Special Bond

But once they answer, I’m reminded that they don’t see wrinkles; they just see their loving Grammy, and I get to see a window into their lives in that moment:

My two year old granddaughter points to all the seven dwarfs and knows their names.

My five-year-old grandson grabs the phone and immediately turns it off.

My nine-year-old granddaughter talks to me upside down in a cartwheel.

My eleven-year-old grandson holds the phone up to his nose and asks if I can see any boogers.

My thirteen-year-old granddaughter says, “Hi, Grammy. I”ve gotta go to soccer.”

And I love every word they say and every action they offer, even the booger hunting.

Whether you are Grammy, Nana, PopPop, Bubbie, MeMaw, or BobaLou, you are an important part of your grandchild’s life.  And whether it is a picnic, a party, a simple Tuesday night dinner, or a long-distance FaceTime call, the excitement is there, the love is there and certainly the pride and joy are there. What is not always there is a clear set of family expectations. Each family is different and so are the expectations.

Parenting_Make-Happy-a-Habit

Tips for New Grandparents

Grandparenting is definitely not the same as parenting. To help you navigate this new terrain, I’ve created a small ‘Hand Book” that I call 10 Great Tips for Grandparenting. It includes – yes – 10 great tips that I hope you will combine with your own common sense to figure out how to thrive in this new environment called grandparenting.

Here’s a sample of  the first 5 tips:

1 – YOU ARE NOT THE PARENT

Sometimes you may forget and start to discipline or offer your opinion of how things should be handled.  Read #1 again.

2 – BE SURE TO PLAN TIME ALONE WITH EACH GRANDCHILD

You can take the child on some grand adventure or simply spend the afternoon at home researching volcanoes, playing a game, or making cookies. Be sure it’s just the two of you.

3 – START AND END EACH VISIT WITH A HUG

Yes. And if you say you are not a hugger, become one.

hugs-with-grandparent

4 – BE FLEXIBLE

If you don’t remember the chaos that often runs through the home when kids are around, let me remind you. Some of the best-made plans have to be altered. Don’t take it personally if you want to be popular. And of course you do.

5 – BE FRANK AND OPEN ABOUT YOUR AVAILABILTY

So you live in the same city as your grand kids? Lucky you! Sometimes you want to help out and sometimes you just don’t. Be frank and open about your availability with your children.  Ditto for you out-of-town grandparents. If any of you stay quiet and just fume, I don’t feel sorry for you!

Those are just the first five in my 10 Great Tips for Grandparenting Handbook.  If you would like to talk more or need some help navigating the grand parenting pathways, give me a call and let’s talk.

And by the way, when you call, I might just share my ‘famous’ cookie recipe!

Loretta

P.S. You can download the other five tips free on my website or order a hard copy as a gift for your favorite MeMaw and BabaLou.

Photo credits: Abigail Kennan© Can Stock Photo Inc. / dolgachov

How The Kids Spend Their Time Has a Lot to Do with YOU!

How Kids Spend Their Time

Photo Credit: Devon Christopher Adams

Caretakers of children have a really challenging job.  Whether you are parents, grandparents, aunts, teachers or hired baby sitters…

how the kids spend their time has a lot to do with you. 

The very young kids usually find excitement in the simplest things – a cabinet full of plastic tops and bottoms, a cardboard box, a set of measuring cups. Once they get a little older, they often are learning their colors and letters and enjoying the simple magic of stickers.

And then there is the world of electronics….  The iPad, the TV, the Wii, the iPod, and so much more. We used to use the expression ‘I feel like a kid in a candy store,’ when considering lots of choices; now we could even say “I feel like a kid in the Apple/Microsoft store.’

Kid in an Apple Store

Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield

Using technology has opened up a new world for all of us. We can research, learn, connect and watch. We can like and locate and follow and so many other verbs that we never realized would be at our fingertips. And it is interesting and quite captivating – in fact, it has been shown that every time we ‘click’ our devices, it’s like getting a shot of dopamine, the brain chemical released when we experience something pleasurable. No wonder it calls to us.

So how do you spend your time?

Have you ever really noticed how much of your day is spent on a screen? How the kids spend their time has a lot to do with you.

Your little ones require a lot of attention. They can’t help it – and they often want you to be a part of whatever it is they are doing. They are little sponges soaking up whatever is going on around them, and this often involves imitating you. Think about that when you keep checking your Facebook page or your email.

But sometimes you get tired. I understand. And yet, this is one of the most important times to “be the parent” because how the kids spend their time has a lot to do with you.  While you make dinner or have some quiet time, babies can be in a pack-and-play with several toys. Toddlers can go to that drawer full of plastic tops and bottoms or climb in and out of a cardboard box.

As the kids get older and with your supervision, the electronics can be a great partner. However, using screens should always come with a time limit, and certainly presented as a PRIVILEGE, not a right!

Regardless of the age, there must be time to let the kids know that you simply expect them to come up with ideas of their own. If necessary, you can start them on a task, but after a few minutes remove yourself from the activity and let them play by themselves for a little while. This builds independence and confidence.

Do you need some ideas for that afternoon drag time when your child’s big beautiful eyes greet you with, “Mommy! or Daddy! will you play with me?”

Send me your name and a little background about you and your parenting challenge, and I will get back to you with possible dates for a free 10-minute phone session. click here to send me an email.

The Research

All the research today says that kids under two should not be exposed to electronic devices. There is too much to see and experience in their new world. Kids over two should spend not more than two hours a day with electronics. 

This is a challenge as they get older and have cell phones and iPads and even computers required for school work. You can figure out what works for your family. But just remember how the kids spend their time has a lot to do with you. 

Be a role model

Spend Quality Time with Your Child

Photo Credit: Personal Creations

Put away your phone or computer at some point every day, and spend quality time with your kids – regardless of their ages. It’s a win-win.

Loretta

10 Great Tips for Parenting and Grandparenting

 

10-Great-Tips-Handbooks

Parenting is one of the hardest – yet most rewarding – work there is. If you are a parent, you’ve probably wished your child came with a Handbook of instructions.

To offer some support, I’ve created the

10 GREAT TIPS FOR PARENTS and 10 GREAT TIPS FOR GRANDPARENTS Handbook Series.

These positive, colorful books provide a simple, basic approach to handling some of the most common challenges you may face as a parent and a grandparent.

Easily presented and explained, these tips are based on my reflections and observations from working in the fields of gifted education and Empowerment Coaching for over 30 years, and my personal experiences both as a parent and a grandparent.

When you find yourself faced with those difficult moments that parenting and grand parenting will surely bring, just take a deep breath and smile.  After all, now you have a Handbook.


Order a printed copy for yourself or a friend by clicking HERE.

Download a free version by subscribing to my blog HERE.


Loretta