Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Say "Cheese" Please

I used to volunteer to take the pictures, that way no one would get a picture of me - then one day I was looking at photo albums and it hit me that my stubbornness was eliminating me from my family’s “photo” history!!

Please don’t get “left out” of photos. It’s important to your children and grandchildren that they have something to fondly look back on and they don’t care if you were “perfect” in the picture. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves but if you think about it, future generations will probably enjoy the “funny” pictures more than the perfect ones – at least they will know that you had a sense of humour! If a bad picture of you gets taken, let it go. Don’t threaten to rip it up and don’t throw it out. I've done both in the past, but I had to learn to lighten up and laugh at myself a little. Believe me, I know that it’s hard to do, but it just takes some practice. Pictures are a memory in time and they will be cherished by someone.

I am sure you have your favourite photos of your parents and grandparents - I know I do - and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have some pictures to look at now that they are no longer with me. Photos are a lasting memory that family can keep with them – in lockets – in frames – in albums, etc.

Now, strike a pose and say Cheese!! Do it for your family; they will be happy you did and you will too!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nuttin' (Nothing) To Do

I distinctly remember my younger brother always complaining that he had “Nuttin’ to do”. With 8 siblings (5 older and 3 younger), you wouldn’t have thought that could be an issue for any of us, but I guess we all had our own things to do and needless to say, our mother was kept pretty busy.

Well, that shouldn’t be a problem for you and your grandchildren; the Internet isn’t just for youngsters to enjoy. Get on-line and start searching for ideas, but don’t do it when the grandchildren are waiting to be entertained – do it in advance so that you are prepared. I happen to love it when children use their imagination, so I encourage imagination-play at my house. At first, when I was using my imagination and telling them that I was riding a horse down the hall (with no horse), or eating lunch (with no food), they would look at me as if to say, “Are you flipping out Grannie”, but it didn’t take them long before they were playing along and telling their own stories. If you’re excited about what you’ve got to "show and tell" them, they will be excited about it too. I once went on a camping trip with my two grandchildren (ages 1 and 2 at the time), and I brought along a box filled with dollar store items, and crafts that I had put together (the fishing game was their favourite). It took some preparation on my part, but believe me, it was well worth it! I was happy, the children were happy, and the parents were happy; win-win-win situation! Of course, there were no distractions from TV and other toys, but sometimes you have to work at getting their attention. There’s nothing wrong with T.V. and a movie now and then (especially when you’re working on meal preparation or if you just need to take a break), but in my experience, children enjoy the one-on-one attention they get from their grandparents much more!

A website I would recommend is one that I just happened across. It has great ideas, ie, colouring pages and games and crafts. There are definitely a lot of websites out there, but sometimes you just need a “starting place”, and I think this one is terrific. Browse through this site and see for yourself. There are so many ideas, it just may happen that your grandchildren get too old (and you too) before you have the chance to try them all out ha ha

NOTE: You should also start brushing up on those children’s songs and nursery rhymes. Dancing around singing songs, or sitting in a circle telling nursery rhymes is a wonderful way to spend time with them. Either idea translates well into a puppet show, but that’s for another article…

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Draw me a Picture Grannie...

One day I was with my grandchildren and found that we didn’t have much to do, so I quickly drew Jack and Jill on a piece of cardboard paper and cut them out. I put two holes in the bottom of each of them for the kids to put their fingers through (acting like feet for the character and to help them manipulate the puppet). Then I pretended I was taking Jack and Jill “up a hill” and I started telling the nursery rhyme. To this day, they go to these silly cardboard cut-outs and say let’s do the Jack and Jill story. They have even started to tell the story themselves and decided to bring in Humpty Dumpty to put a band-aid on Jack’s head when he falls; then Jack in turn helps Humpty Dumpty when he falls ha ha

You don’t need to be an artist to put something like this together. Believe me, mine weren’t perfect, but my grandchildren didn’t mind. At least they knew which one was Jack and which one was Jill! I like to use nursery rhymes for ideas because children have already heard a lot of them so they can quickly relate to the story you are telling, and for the most part, nursery rhymes are easy to remember. Whatever you draw, they will enjoy, as long as you “play along” with enthusiasm and steer them in the right direction to get them started. You can stray from the original nursery rhyme or let your grandchildren take the lead and give them praise for their story-telling ideas.

You don’t have to free-hand draw your pictures though, you can trace a picture from a storybook or colouring book, or print it out from the computer. I found a picture of the big bad wolf and a pig and cut them out and glued them onto a straw. This worked very well for telling the "Three Little Pigs” story. You can either do this as a craft together, or do it yourself, in advance. I prefer, when time permits, to do it in advance because kids don’t really want to just sit around and watch you cutting and pasting.

Have fun with this and start creating lasting and fun-time memories...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Do Your "Home" Work

I have heard people say, “I’m not going to change a thing in my house; my grandchildren will just have to learn that they can’t touch my things.” Well, I would much rather relax and have fun with them than to constantly have to tell them not to touch things or have to worry about them getting hurt. It can be a matter of seconds before your precious grandchild gets into medicine that is left lying around, gets into your cleaning supply cabinet, falls down the stairs, or is cut by an item that has broken. For everyone’s sake, please start thinking about childproofing well in advance of your grandchild’s first visit. Check out this website for ideas on childproofing your home.

It is a good idea to consult with your children on childproofing - they will have lots of ideas and will appreciate that you asked them.

On a personal note, I have changed my cleaning supplies to natural products. I just feel safer knowing that if they ever did get into it, the results wouldn’t be devastating. And last but not least, a smoke-free environment is the best thing for everyone.