Friday, June 10, 2011
SPECIAL TIMES FOR ONE OR MORE THAN ONE….
Let’s face it! We know how important it is for each child to develop their own interests, as well as expand their experiences. Many times family schedules are filled with “together” activities, and that is how it should be! However, as great-grandparents, we can make some special time with each individual child, to help each one broaden their horizons with new and different experiences.
• Henry, age 7, is the oldest of three children, and is fascinated with magic. He has a trunk full of magic paraphernalia, and engages the entire family with his shows. He goes to local magic shows, has a bookshelf full of “how-to’s”, and watches professionals on his parent’s I-Pad. While it’s important to support his interests, how about you and he planting some sun flowers, going on a “site seeing” bike ride, attending a local walk-a thon for charity, or some new and different activity you can do together.
• Allison, age 4, is the second in the same family. She is very into her dolls, dressing them up, and playing house. She has a closet full of dolls, doll clothes, and other doll oriented toys. When Henry and Allison play together, he wants the dolls to participate in his magic show, and she wants him to join her in her tea party instead. On your “date” with Allison, how about going together to visit the fire-house, or watch a live college girl’s basketball game, or teaching her some yoga poses? Again, these are fun activities that hopefully will expand her interests, and give you both an entertaining, and special together time.
• Benny is 2 ½ and is the baby in the family. He’s NOT interested in magic OR dolls, but really wants to be part of Henry and/or Allison’s play. Henry’s interested if Benny will help with his magic, and Allison wants him to be “her baby”. He’s very physical and wants to run and tumble in the grass, knock over his sibling’s projects, and climb anything he can find outdoors. A special “date” with Benny might be: watching the planes land at your local airport, a visit to the local zoo, attending a story-time at the library, or drawing pictures on the sidewalk with chalk. Again, these are engaging, together times that add to Benny’s experiences.
The activities we’ve suggested don’t have to be expensive or expansive…they are relationship building times between you and your great-grandchild and sometimes just visiting a local park or library with a fountain can be enough. When planning a special time “date”, you might want to open some doors to things (being aware of age appropriateness) that you particularly like such as: hiking, chess, board games, gardening, building things, painting, collecting shells, knitting, history, cooking, architecture, etc. If you live far away, consider some of these things when your great-grandchildren next visit you, or you visit them.
Rather than feeding only into the children’s current interests, although this is important as well, we have the opportunity to expand their experiences early on. And don’t forget, if there’s only one great-grandchild, stretching his or her ideas and activities through a special time together, can also be rewarding. It’s good for them and it’s good for us.