Friday, September 24, 2010
1. Have plenty of snacks on hand.
Leave the nutrition to the parents. Kids want Popcorn, Oreos, Popsicles, Chips and Coke, and chocolate milk when they go to Grandma's house. I also keep apples on hand, because my grandchildren love apples, so I don't feel so bad about the sugary snacks and drinks.
2. My motto is "Don't let the kids starve."
Therefore, I will give in whenever they open the refrigerator door and pull out the yogurt, or string cheese, or yesterday's spaghetti. All they have to say is "I'm hungry," and Grandma jumps. The only other rule is that they have to eat a few bites.
3. Have lots of activities on hand.
They have the attention spans of a flea, so be prepared to buzz from activity to the next. I stock up at the Dollar General for coloring books, Play Do, Bubbles, and have lots of books to read, and videos for them to watch when I am ready to fall down from exhaustion.
4. Lower my housekeeping standards while the kids visit.
Treat sticky floors like a crime scene. Just walk around it and don't touch anything. "A messy house is a lived in house" is another saying of mine. This is not a museum, and kids are allowed to touch things.
5. Be prepared for lots of questions.
Kids love to ask questions and most of them start with "Why?" such as "Why is your desk so messy, Grandma?" "Because I'm baby-sitting," is my reply. Sometimes the questions are hard. The three-year old has been asking me, "Why did Grandpa die?" I don't know where she came up with that one.
6. Be prepared for crankiness, especially after 10 o'clock.
I know, I know...their normal bedtime is 8 o'clock, but remember, they are at Grandma's house and these rules don't count.
7. Take time out for each grandchild.
Be prepared for a little jealousy. With three young children there can be competition for my attention. Reading stories are great for dividing attention because I let them each pick out a book to read.
8. Make bathtime fun.
Towels are supposed to be absorbant. You can mop up the water later.
9. Don't scare them into going to bed.
Don't tell them about the 'boogie-man' or what will happen when their parents pick them up. They know that Mommy and Daddy are not coming "in a few minutes." Just pretend your house is a frontier fort and you have guard duty for the night to protect against Indian raids. You'll sleep tomorrow night.
10. Give them lots of hugs and kisses.
That's what grandmothers do best.