Twelve Tips on How We Grandparents Can Help the Parents of Our Grandchildren Survive Home 24-7 With Their Children

This Grandma tells the parents of our grandchildren that if they lament that a grandchild is behind in a skill or learning that the grandchild will learn it before they walk down the aisle at his or her wedding.  This is a time to repeat this to the parents of our grandchildren.  This is an extraordinary time so we need to repeat that everything will eventually be okay.

REPEAT TO THE PARENTS OF OUR GRANDCHILDREN THAT WE ALL SHALL SURVIVE THIS CRAZY TIME OF THE PANDEMIC

There is a great article for parenting advice we can pass along by Jenny Brundin, “Lower Your Expectations, And Other Parenting Advice For The Era Of COVID-19,” on CPR News, March 20, 2020. https://www.cpr.org/2020/03/30/lower-your-expectations-and-other-parenting-advice-for-the-era-of-covid-19/

Here are this Grandma’s top two takeaways for us grandparents:

#1 TELL PARENTS TO NOT BEAT THEMSELVES UP, LOWER THEIR EXPECTATIONS FOR THEMSELVES AND THE GRANDCHILDREN, AND ALLOW CHILDREN TO BE BORED

Grandparents can help the parents of our grandchildren survive home 24-7 with them by first letting parents know to not beat themselves up and parents should lower their expectations for themselves:

“Lots of parents are struggling now because they’ve set an impossibly high bar for keeping children engaged. Dr. Amy Lopez, a child, adolescent and adult licensed clinical social worker at the Helen and Arthur E Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, says working parents today actually spend more hands-on time with their kids than a stay-at-home mom did in the 1970s.”

“You don’t have to do that, especially right now, she says. Kids can figure out a lot of things on their own. They’ve just never had to in the age of helicopter or snowplow parenting and screens. So this generation has a low tolerance for boredom.”

“She says it’s okay for children to be bored. In fact, boredom breeds creativity. It’s the space where problem-solving grows. Children can learn what it was like to be a kid in the 1970s when they made up all their own fun.”

“Their boredom is not your problem,” Lopez says. “Say, ‘I get you are bored. Find something to do.’ ”

“Lopez says parents must focus on what they can control and realize that right now, in the middle of a pandemic, it is not the time for parenting perfection. Do what you can do. “Just because some kids might be doing homework every day, great. Some kids might be on YouTube for the entire four weeks, and you know what? They’re all going to be OK. You do what you can do as a parent and what works for you and your family.” The pandemic is new for everyone. Don’t beat yourself up if things descend into chaos.”

#2 THINK LOOSENESS OF THE DAY BY OUTLINING OF THE DAY WITH FOUR CATEGORIES

To lower stress and anxiety for everyone in the family, Dr. Scott Cypers, who directs stress and anxiety programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center gives many tips in the article above.  “He recommends that families draw up four categories based on the family’s values. He recommends that parents write them down so the children can see them.”  For example:

Mind Activities (i.e. for a 6-year-old, learning how to tie a shoe)

Body Activities (exercise, building something with twigs outside, kicking around a ball)

Soul Activities (art, creativity, dancing, music)

Good Citizen of the House (chores, cleaning after themselves, helping parents cook and clean, walking dog)

In a second article by the same author, Jenny Brundin, March 16, 2020 on CPR News,

“What To Do With Kids At Home On Coronavirus Break For Who Knows How Long (Without Losing It),” she has great tips for things to do for our grandchildren.

SO THE BEST TIP FOR PARENTS OF OUR GRANDCHILDREN IS TO USE GRANDPARENTS TO OFFER TO SHARE THE LOAD

LISTEN TO A PODCAST TOGETHER.  To give parents a break, we grandparents can be on FaceTime and listen to podcasts with our grandchildren. Common sense media, which reviews all media for children, gives us a great variety with

“Podcasts for the Whole Family.” 

For example, see But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids.” Common Sense Media’s review is: “Kids are always asking seemingly simple questions that have surprisingly complex answers, such as “Why is the sky blue?” and “Who invented words?” This cute biweekly radio show/podcast takes on answering them. Each episode features several kid-submitted questions, usually on a single theme, and with the help of experts, it gives clear, interesting answers. Best for: All ages”

“The 25 Best Podcasts for Kids.”

For older children and teens: “10 Must-Listen Podcasts for Tweens and Teens”

Do not think this is a necessarily long contact between grandparents and grandchildren.  Check out for example “Six Minutes,” http://www.bestrobotever.com/six-minutes which are for tweens, six minute “enthralling, suspenseful audio drama from the creators of the award-winning podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. Featuring a voice cast of real kids, each six-minute episode continues the story of an 11-year-old girl named Holiday who finds herself in the middle of a mystery adventure with no memory of where she came from. New updates are released twice a week, and you’ll be counting down the minutes to see what happens next.”

WATCH A TELEVISION SHOW OR MOVIE TOGETHER

Our youngest grandson can sit and watch his favorite, Paw Patrol.  We can watch it together over FaceTime too.  Have your grandchild pick a television show for you to watch together.

We grandparents can take a big load off the parents by spending extended time each watching the same movie while on FaceTime.  Check www.commonsensemedia.org for movie ideas and reviews. See, for example, blog post, “Finally An Excellent Holiday Movie That Appeals To All Generations. See blog post, “Golden Retriever Buddies Movies Are Boomer Grandparents’ Best Home Movie Friends.”   See blog post, “Put The Lion King on Your Radar Screen: The Large Screen, the Small Screen and On the Stage.”

The movie can be a new movie on Netflix or Amazon, one of the grandchildren’s favorites, as we know children can see something over and over again, or something different, such as a documentary.  Imagine how happy the parents will be with a 50 minute break eleven days in a row, and how happy we will be spending 50 minutes a day with our grandchildren.

“Planet Earth.”

2006 (50 minutes each, total 550 minutes). Review from the Washington Post: “Narrated by David Attenborough (British version) and Sigourney Weaver (U.S. version), each 50-minute episode in this 11-part, Emmy-winning series features a dazzling portrait of a geographical region or wildlife habitat. The far-flung locations and impossible moments with some of the world’s most astonishing creatures can help inspire respect for our planet, and with it the desire to preserve our fragile ecosystem.”

“Winds of Life.”  Amazon.

2013 (80 minutes). Review from the Washington Post: “Meryl Streep narrates this Disney documentary, which has the power to kindle children’s curiosity about the natural world. The cinematography captures the interconnectedness of butterflies, birds, bats and bees, and the film describes how one-third of the world’s food supply depends on these increasingly vulnerable pollinators.”

SHARE EXPERIENCES

Share family experiences on FaceTime.  Show pictures of the grandchildren when they were babies, and tell them about themselves when they were babies and little.  Show them pictures of grandma and grandpa travels around the world and tell them about those places.

VIEW LIVECAMS TOGETHER “explore.org.” This site has webcams all over the world, LIVECAMS  African animals, birds, oceans, and even adorable “cat rescues,” and “dog rescues.”

VISIT A ZOO ON LINE TOGETHER. Your local zoo may offer webcams. During the closure, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden offers Home Safari Facebook Lives seven days a week.  The Home Safaris is at 3 p.m. EST. To watch live, just visit the Zoo’s Facebook page at 3pm.  The Zoo will also post the safaris on its website and on YouTube so everyone can view.

Cincinnati Zoo is Bringing the Zoo to You!

 

TAKE A VIRTUAL MUSEUM TOUR TOGETHER. Museums around the world are having virtual tours on line.  If grandma and grandpa have visited the museum, they can share their experiences.

Natural History Museum in London. Www.nhm.ac.uk

Musee D’Orsay in Paris.  Www.musee-orsay.fr/en

British Museum in London. Www.britishmuseum.org

WATCH AN ON LINE CONCERT TOGETHER   This will require some previewing and planning by grandparents, or is a great source for grandparents themselves. Remember that if there is a concert the parents may want to see, plan FaceTime with the grandchildren for part of the time to give them some free time.  Check www.billboard.com which has a list with links to lots of live concerts coming up.  Www.npr.org has compiled a large list of audio and video streams from around the world.

DO YOGA, DANCE AND SING AND EXERCISE TOGETHER  It is fun to do yoga with grandchildren.  See blog post,  Dance and sing over FaceTime.  See blog post, “Dancing and Singing with Grandchildren and Teaching and Moving Body Parts.”  Or just have fun with whatever movement song and dance you can remember.  See blog post, “Grandma Being Silly “On Top of Spaghetti” 

We grandparents can be creative and silly on FaceTime.  This Grandma has even played hide and seek with our two year old grandchildren via FaceTime.

Yes, please share this blog post with the parents of your grandchildren.  They can use ideas for time with their children or things to do alone when we grandparents give them a reprieve. Until we can again hug and kiss our grandchildren, we can still give relief to their parents while we still enjoy “visiting” with them via Face Time with

 

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

 

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