A recent study shows that spending a moderate amount of time with your grandkids may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease and decrease rates of depression. But spending too much time may actually increase your rates of Alzheimer’s and depression.
I spend every other Friday with my granddaughter, Claire. It has been very fun and rewarding. But what do you do with a two year old all day long?
The first time I watched my granddaughter I bought her a sticker book, with 600 stickers. The sales lady said as she was checking it out, “oh my, this would be a nightmare at my house. Your daughter will not appreciate this. I can see it now, stickers all over her house”. Claire loved the stickers and didn’t make too much of a mess. We also watched the Lorax 6 times. I needed some inspiration.
As our visits progressed we fell into a routine. In the mornings, after watching the Lorax and eating breakfast, we would go for a walk. I would put Claire in her stroller, and we would walk around the neighborhood until Claire would say, “I go home”. One day we set out for our walk, this time Claire was walking her baby in her baby’s stroller, while we were walking the sun came out. “Grandma, I need my sunglasses, let’s go home and get them”. We turned around and got her sunglasses and set out on our walk once again.
After lunch it would be time for her nap. The first day I visited, I said “Claire it’s time for your nap”, she frowned and said, “No, I don’t do that”. I let her play and next thing you knew she was asleep on the couch. She usually doesn’t want to take her nap, but recently her mom has come up with a strategy that works. We have story time in her bedroom, while we snuggle on the dog bed (there is no dog, her Grandpa got her this for Christmas) and I read a few pages of a book until she takes the book from me and says, “I read now”. This is my cue to make an exit, leaving her in her bed reading by herself. She soon falls asleep. But one day she did not want to go to her room to read stories. She was on to us and did not want to take a nap. I let her play, thinking she would eventually fall asleep on the couch. But she kept playing and playin, growing very tired. Soon she could hardly stand up and keep her eyes open. She says to me “I’m tired I want to take a nap”. As we walked up the stairs to her bedroom, she asks, “can we cuddle and read a book?”
After naptime we do a few chores, such as laundry or dinner prep to help her mommy. One day we spent hours making labels and organizing kitchen bins for flour and sugar etc. She was fascinated with the label machine. This kept her attention longer than any other activity.
I try to plan a special activity that coincides with the holiday of the month. Every month there is a holiday to celebrate. Spring is here. Good time for gardening.
I plan on taking Claire to the nursery to buy some plants. We can plant these plants in the pots from this blog. And if the sun is out we will go out into the yard and plant some flowers and we won’t forget our sunglasses!
Here is a link for children’s gardening tools.