children · Grandparents

How Do You Fill A Grandchild’s Day?

Last week my daughter and son-in-law went out of town for a few days and they left their three year-old twin boys with me and my husband – known to the boys as “Gigi and Pappa.” This was super special for all of us because though the boys have spent a good deal of time at our house, they have never stayed overnight. I must admit that I was a little fearful about how this would all go down.  

  • Would they miss Mommy and Daddy and cry?  
  • Would we be able to keep them busy for three days?  
  • Would WE wear down before it was over?  
  • How would they do when darkness wrapped around their bedroom?  
  • Will they eat the food I prepare? 
  •  Will I run out of things to do?  
  • How will I maintain the structure they are used to?  

On and on the questions rolled in my head.  But I prayed and prepared much, and truly anticipated their time in our home.

I could be a typical grandparent and tell you how good they were, how they went to bed without any struggle, and that we all had so much fun…and that would all be true, but I must also admit that we got tired, and there were a couple times when there was  a bit of a struggle about who would be in control. There were several times I had to stop and pray with the boys. But in the end, Gigi and Pappa won, and each situation ended with smiles and happy hearts.

I’m no expert, for sure! I’m still learning, but today I’m writing this to encourage all grandmothers in two areas: 

  1. I want to remind you of the important role we play in our grandchildren’s lives and also our children’s lives!  We are to be a support. It’s so important that our children know we will uphold their rules and expectations in their absence.  If they’ve been working on immediate obedience and we allow the children to do what they want instead of what we ask, we’re doing both the children and their parents a huge disservice. We’re really making things harder for ourselves as well.  So, don’t cave in and be simply the doting grandmother, be a loving support in the training of those precious children.
  2. I also want to give a few ideas of things you can do with a young child that will fill their days with fun.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a young child in my care for three days, so I gave it some real thought before they arrived so I would be ready.  I didn’t want there to be a time when we were trying to come up with ideas of something to do.  That spells disaster! 

    Now, on with the fun!!!
  • Let them help in the kitchen. Starting with the preparation of the meals to mixing up cookies, children love helping! My boys enjoyed helping to stir up the mac and cheese we had for lunch one day, adding the sauce and toppings to their homemade pizzas, and also setting the table.
  • Give them time for independent play. I had purchased a used set of wooden trains, planes and little village pieces and the boys enjoyed playing with them outside on our patio area. I was nearby, but I tried to encourage them to play together without my assistance.
  • Encourage time outside. I was always one of those moms who would send my girls outside to enjoy outside play. Whine as they might, they learned to love being outside, use their imaginations, and enjoy being outdoors. The fresh air and outdoor play also helps to tire little people out! The boys played in the swimming pool the Lord provided for us, “painted” with sponge brushes and a bucket of water, dug in the dirt of the raised beds, enjoyed wagon rides, played with sidewalk chalk, watered the garden, picked cherry tomatoes, and chased their shadows!
  • Make mealtime fun. I tried my best to make mealtime delicious and fun. The boys sat at the small table on our patio and ate some of their meals there while we sat on the patio furniture near them. I also tried to make foods I knew they liked. This isn’t the time to try new recipes or “weird” foods they have never tried.
  • Try to keep their normal routine. The boys are in bed by 7:00 when they’re home, so we did our best to follow suit. One night we forgot to sing, as they do with their mommy and daddy and one of the boys whimpered a little as we were tucking them in. He asked for a song, and of course we were happy to do that! His disposition immediately grew calm and he went right to sleep! Be sure to find out what their normal pattern is before bedtime. That little blanket, stuffed animal and bedtime story might be the key to helping ALL of you to get a good night’s rest!
  • Library books! Of course we know getting the books from the library can be a challenge right now, but I simply called in my list and picked them up! The boys enjoyed reading in the afternoon, and that quiet time was helpful for all of us!
  • Craft time – Most all children love using a glue stick! I had gotten The Pout Pout Fish (adorable book!) from the library, so we made a pout pout fish for our craft time.

Let me add one more important thought – in ALL the activities and talking you do with your grandchild, point them to Christ. Talk about the Lord. Pray with them over needs and burdens and cares. I have some special memories tucked in my heart regarding prayer times with the boys. Oh, how their faith in what God can do puts me to shame! What a joy to take them to the Throne of Grace!

I hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing so you can enjoy a sweet time with your grandchildren. I was really thankful that when their parents came to get them, the boys said they wanted to stay longer! They went home, but I was thankful that our time together was special enough to make them want to come back, and that happened without breaking any of their home rules!

What ideas could you add to this list?

Refresh your time with your grandchildren by having fun and supporting their parents at the same time!

Here’s a post about helping your children become more independent, which is what we must be teaching them to do! Remember, you’re training them to become adults!

children · Motherhood · refreshment at home

Mom, Show Love To Your Child

This week were some great reminders to slow down and take one day at a time. Being a Gigi is a blessing because I can stop everything I’m doing and just be with my grandsons.  When my girls were home, it wasn’t possible to do that every day!  There were meals to cook, laundry to wash, floors to sweep, school lessons to prepare and a million other things!  I was a busy woman, just like you, Momma.  Do you ever wish it was different?

It’s easy for moms to wish away their child’s life.

“Things will be so much easier when she’s walking!”  “I can’t wait for her to start pre-school.”  “I’ll be glad when these terrible 3’s are over!”

And so on.  Each day as a mom is challenging, but you can’t imagine how fast it will be before you attend their high school graduation and are staring into the face of a young adult.

I’m not kidding.

Everyone tells you those things, and you nod and smile because you’re going home to a toddler who will have wet their pants for the fifth time today, poured their finger paints into the toilet, and refused to eat a bite of anything because they consumed a whole bag of potato chips while hiding in the pantry!  But trust me, friend, the years will fly by and they will be gone.  Graduated.  Married.  On their own.

And you won’t lose your marbles about all that IF you spent those 18 years or so loving them, spending time with them, and teaching them about your Jesus to the best of your abilities.  Oh, you will know that you made lots of mistakes, but you know those are covered by God’s grace, and with that, you are okay!

In the meantime, you have today.  What will you do with it?  How about just love on those little and big ones?  How?  Let me give you a few suggestions:

  • Show loving gestures – hugs, pecks on the cheek, a pat on their back, a hand squeeze
  • Spend time playing with them each day.
    • Play a game
    • Go outside and push them on the swings
    • Ride bikes with them
    • Play store, library, or Sunday school
    • Have a scavenger hunt
    • Bake together
    • Work in the yard together
    • Work on a dinner for Dad together
    • Take a walk
    • Jump rope
    • Blow bubbles outside
    • Help them with homework.
      Just be together each day.
  • Leave notes of encouragement.  Write on their mirror with dry erase, or leave a sticky note where they’ll find it.  Leave a note in their lunch.  Mail a card to them.
  • Allow one child to stay up late for time with both Mom and Dad once a week.
  • Have a bed time routine that is special.  Tuck them in.  Read a book or Scripture.  Sing a song.  Pray with them about their concerns.
  • Do a chore they are assigned as a gesture of love.
  • Stop and pray with them in the day about something that is troubling them.
  • Talk to them and sing to them about Jesus!
  • Love their daddy!
So love on those children God’s given you and enjoy the day.  You don’t want to regret tomorrow what you wished you had done yesterday!
How do you show your child you love them?
 
With love,

denise a