Sharing Yourself

Dear Parentworks, 

My grandchildren live far enough away that I don't see them very often. When they do come over, especially for the holidays, it seems like they just want to watch TV and open their presents. They are 7 and 10 so they seem old enough to be able to do more than just sit around and then leave. I don't want to upset anyone else on the holidays by bringing this up because I think they'll just think I'm complaining and not want to come at all. What do other grandparents do?

- Tired of TV and Treats

Dear Tired,

In an age where many children are used to being constantly entertained, we mere mortals are hard pressed to compete. At ages 7 and 10 your grandchildren are definitely old enough to do more than sit and watch TV and wait for gifts. But I never really heard what you do that might lure them away from the big black box. So here's what some other grandparents do...they think about what might be interesting to their grandchildren (and to themselves) and make a plan for doing something. Some have financial resources so they take the kids out to an activity (play, game, etc.) that they can enjoy together then talk about afterward. Some have skills and talents that the children are completely unaware of i.e. baking or building. Some share pictures or stories of themselves at that age so the kids can relate to these gray haired fogies as once being kids themselves. And some share their religious traditions at holiday times. There are many, many more possibilities - these are just a few to get those creative juices flowing again. I know that you can come up with your own ideas which will make your time together much more interesting for them and for you.