Grand parents are a blessing, well the good ones are anyway (the ones your kids actually want to go to). They watch your kids, they love spending time with them, they shower them with gifts, and best of all they do it for FREE! What is it that makes them love your kids so much? So much that it almost makes you look bad… Instead of just using your parents as free babysitters maybe there are some important habits to be picked up.
[by all means we endorse taking advantage of the free babysitting]
Consider it pure joy
Cherish the time you get with your kids. Parenting is hard, we know, that’s the reason you need to drop the kids off and have some time alone but don’t make the time you do have drudgery. Your parents have learned the hard way that life is short, and youth is even shorter. They know that before you know it your kids have kids of their own that they are dropping off to be baby sat, don’t wait to give your attention to the grand kids, do it now. You need to slow down and take joy in your kids, you never know how much time you got left with them. Next time you find yourself lacking joy, just think of your kids dropping their kids off to play and having missed ht time you had.
[disclaimer: I finished this post the morning after my 10 month old was up from 1-3:30am crying…not joyful]
Most grand parents need to be engaged because they are the only entertainment, or they are trying to keep the kids from crying because they miss their mom. Either way they are engaged, they are being silly, they are being attentive, they are reacting to what the kids are doing. Right now if you’re reading this post and your kids are next to you, STOP, go engage with them. Being mentally present is a hard habit it get into in the world of smart phones and endless media. To help get into the habit, try and find a time of engaging with your kids at a certain time of day, associating it with something you already do. For example, wrestle with your son right when you get home from work, or after dinner dance with your daughter to some loud music. The beauty of quality time is that does not have to be spent doing something amazing, its a simple as being engaged and focusing on each other.
Give them new experiences
It seems like memories we have of time with our grand parents include activities we don’t normally do with our parents. For my kids that it likely playing on or “fixing” their papa’s motorcycle, or gardening with their nana. These are not exotic or adventurous activities but rather someone else’s “routine tasks”. To give your kids more of those type experiences try more things new to you, get out of your comfort zone. Learn something with your kids. You could take up a new hobby with them, or try cooking some new dishes and have them help, nothing huge and nothing expensive just out of the routine.
[although if you can swing buying a motorcycle by all means do!]