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Tips for grandkid time

By Donna Erikson

Cute kid story: Recently, when my friend was chatting with her 2-year-old son around the breakfast table about the activities they would do that day, she added, “When you get up from your afternoon nap, Grana and Granddaddy are coming over.”  Hearing this, he enthusiastically grinned from ear to ear, and without missing a beat asked, “Can I take my nap now?”

There is something extra special about grandparents.  Whether it’s a surprise up their sleeve, a pastime to share or just plain time and patience, all the together time adds but big time to enrich kids’ lives.

If the grandkids are coming to your home for Thanksgiving or the December holidays, it’s time to prepare with these four easy tips for holiday together time with grandkids:

*Include grandkids in everyday activities:  When young kids come to visit, they still thrive on their regular routines.  But there’s something magical about experiencing the ins and outs of daily life with you that makes ordinary things special.  Eating pancakes in the shape of alphabet letters for breakfast, jumping into the pick-up truck for a trip to the hardware store and lumber yard for supplies or giving one another an afternoon manicure with a crazy color polish are memories and impressions that stick.

*Set up camp:  Kids love forts, tents, and cozy spaces.  Bring the great outdoors in with a basic small tent set-up in your basement or the corner of a family room during their stay. (Blankets over a table are another easy and reliable standby.)  Pull out enamelware mugs and plates for snack time, and use battery-operated lanterns for bedtime storytelling.

*Enlist holiday DIY helpers:  Pre-teens can add their skill and creativity to family meals.  Let them practice your fancy napkin folds, arrange a bouquet of flowers or bunches of pine branches, pinecones and holly you’ve collected together for a centerpiece.  Gather oranges, lemons, limes and whole cloves to make old-fashioned pomanders, too.  Simply poke holes in the skin of the fruit with a toothpick, insert cloves in a pattern or to spell a word, and display. 

*Make photo memories:  When the grandkids return home, make a mini photo book for them of their visit as a keepsake to preserve the memories.
"Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each." ~Plato