Children approach their 13th birthday with excitement. They can’t wait to be teenagers. Parents, on the other hand, often see this milestone as the beginning of new worries. During December join us as we talk about what’s normal for teens and what parents can expect. And remember, teenagers’ brainsare still developing and won’t be fully mature until they reach their early 20′s. Research shows that with love, support and communication, parents can influence healthy adolescent development and survive the teen years. We look forward to hearing from you this month.
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As we come into a season of spending time with family I thought I would dig into how to manage those times of ‘togetherness’. Grandparents and grandchildren can be both excited and nervous to spend time together during family functions. Children may exhibit behavior grandparents aren’t used to and that can be a confusing dilemma. Extension.org has a great article on understanding children’s behavior during these exciting family times.
Understanding Grandchildren’s Behaviors
Don’t get me wrong, spending time together with extended can be a fabulous time. In fact another article I read made me smile and think of how much I miss my own grandparents and the wonderful stories they told.
Stories about Granparents and Grandchildren
I am grateful for the many stories I heard, for grandparents that understood my nervous behaviors and for countless times spent with extended family members.
Lori L Hayungs
I’ve got my list and I’m checking it twice. No, I’m not the jolly old Santa whose lap the kids climb on with those endless “I want” lists. Rather I am the Grandmother wondering what I can get the grandkids that they will appreciate and use. Gone are the days when it was so easy buying for the babies.
So what to do? Well I could get a list from the kids or ask their parents for ideas. Or, I could figure out ways to give of myself to strengthen the bonds of connection. Perhaps there is a combination of the two that makes sense for me.
Kristi Cooper, a co-worker, recently wrote two handouts that are filled with practical ways to create meaning.
Giving and receiving gifts is an expression of love. It can be done in a manner that is respectful to needs, wants, finances, and family values. When gift giving occasion arise – holidays, birthdays, and special events – I give from the heart. Honoring the special connection with my grandkids is priceless.
How do you handle gift giving with your grandkids?
grandparenting, money, overindulgence
Isn’t that a great word? I’m still smiling typng it. I found it on the AARP website while I was looking for statistics. According to their site, 4.9 million children under the age of 18 live with their grandparents. Thus making them ‘grandfamilies’ . In fact to quote the site, “As increasing numbers of grandchildren rely on grandparents for the security of a home, their grandparents are taking on more of the responsibility for raising them in a tough economy — many with work challenges of their own. For these grandparents, raising another family wasn’t part of the plan. But they step up to the plate when their loved ones need them.”
Grandfamilies, yes that’s a great word for those that are stepping up to take care of family members in need. Celebrate their commitment to family. Share their stories of greatness here.
I am the proud grandmother of seven young adults. They range in age from 14 – 24. Obviously they are well beyond the days of cuddling on my lap or arriving at the door with little suitcase in hand ready for a sleepover. As grandchildren grow up, it becomes a challenge as to how to keep connected.
Fascinating information from a new AARP survey reveals that more than 80% of grandparents speak to their grandchildren on the phone at least once a month. More than 1/3 do their communication via new technology – think Skype, Facebook, texting. So I started asking myself if I fit these results. I use Facebook for keeping up day-to-day. I text when I want a quick check-in. Phone calls follow if we need a longer conversation.
And what do we talk about? Again I’m right in tune with the survey results. The AARP survey says 50% talk about morals and values; religion and spirituality; peer pressure or bullying; illegal drugs; and drinking and alcohol use. Dating or sex are topics for 37% of the grandparents. I have to laugh as I often start conversations with some of the grandkids with this question, “And are you making good choices?”
The data about frequency of communication, as well as topics, fits well with grandparents serving a role as mentor and teacher. We have a wonderful chance to help grandchildren by sharing our experiences and knowledge, all wrapped up in a big dose of love. A personal aside – I always end my texts with Love, Gma.
How often do you communicate with your grandkids and what do you talk about?
family time, grandparenting
Historian, mentor and friend are some of the roles that today’s grandparents play. The relationship of a grandparent and grandchild is second in emotional importance only to the parent/child relationship.This month we will take a closer look at the various roles of grandparents, including grandparents raising their grandchildren. During November we will talk about how important grandparents can be in the lives of their grandchildren.
Time with Grandparents
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During October we are surrounded by visions of vampires – costumes and advertisements and TV shows. But have you considered that vampires are with us every day of the year in the form of energy suckers?
Basically an energy vampire is an electrical product that cannot be switched off completely unless it is unplugged. For example a cell phone charger, if left plugged in, will continue to use electricity 24 hours a day. I found a list of the biggest energy vampires which are: TVs, window air conditioners, computers, video game systems, microwave ovens, and power tools.
Granted, most products go on “standby power” but when you consider all the electrical things in your home, it adds up fast. So how can we defeat the vampires?
The surest way is to unplug anything not in use. But that can get cumbersome so an alternative is to fight the energy vampires with power strips. Plug TVs, video game systems, DVD players, etc. into a power strip. Then flip off the power switch when done. This is way easier than remembering to pull lots of plugs. Get another power strip and do the same for all the chargers for cell phones, tablets, and computers.
Enlist the kids in helping find and fight the energy vampires. Have a little fun with this and train the whole family to “flip the switch” and “pull the plug.”
This week I really began to pay attention to the different ways my family doesn‘t conserve energy. I noticed lights left on, tv’s and electronics playing randomly to themselves, and most noticeably doors left wide open to the outdoors when the furnace was on. One day I even turned the furnace off to see if anyone would notice – and I put on an extra layer of clothing. My teenager responded late in the day with “Why is it so cold in here”. She checked the thermostat and expressed her displeasure. This gave me a perfect opportunity to share the idea from Donna’s blog last week as well as talk with the girls about how we could do a better job of conserving. Luckily I didn’t try this in the middle of winter! HA! But it helped to make a point about all the little things we take for granted.
I was looking for different resources on energy saving ideas to share with kiddos I came upon a couple things that piqued my interest. I have shared them below.
What are some ways that you have shared conserving energy and natural resources with your children?
How many times do you walk in a room where the lights are on but no one is there? It’s so easy to flip the switch and yes, we’re spoiled by the instant light. I wonder what it was like to light a lamp, clean a lamp, carry a lamp, when you needed light. And if the electricity goes off and we’re left in the dark, we don’t like it one bit.
Lights are a simple place to start the energy use conversation with your kids. Have the kids go through the house and count all the ceiling lights and lamps. Then put a glass jar labeled “lights” and a dish of paper clips or pennies on the kitchen counter. Every time someone turns off a light she puts a penny in the jar. Every time Mom or Dad enter an empty room and find a light left on, they take a penny out of the jar. Try this activity for a week and see how full the jar gets. This is a visible way for everyone to keep track of this habit.
Another idea is to take the kids with you to the store to look at light bulbs. Help them compare incandescent, fluorescent and LED products. The kids will be amazed at the options.If you haven’t started converting light bulbs, decide as a family where to begin. Maybe the kids will want to try new products in their rooms.
What have you done in your family to tackle the “lights left on” problem?
Children often see no reason to conserve their boundless personal energy when they’re running or playing. Likewise, they seem to think electricity is in endless supply when they stand in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open. During National Energy Awareness Month in October, we will talk about getting kids to understand the impacts of their energy use. What they are doing now by conserving or not conserving energy is likely how they will live as adults. As parents we have the opportunity and responsibility to help them understand how energy usage impacts the world in which we live.
This month we’ll blog about some of the ways we can help our children be energy conscious and gain ideas on ‘living lighter’.
Eco Family – connecting family and the environment
Harness the Energy
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Did any of you ever play the “Alphabet Game” when traveling in the car with kids? It went like this. Look for any word that starts with the letter “A.” When you see it, yell out the word before anyone else can. Billboards, road signs, business signs, moving vehicles – all were eagerly searched for that letter. And things turned really interesting towards the end of the alphabet. This game got our family through many road trips.
We can use opportunities throughout a day to help our children practice reading. Following a recipe, shopping for groceries, checking the weather, following sports scores, picking out a movie to go see. Yes, reading materials are more than books. And books can be more than bound pages with a hard cover. Introduce your child to the fun of audio books. Now we have online or electronic options with literally any book at our fingertips. It’s not about which type of method is the best. It’s about getting your family to read so choose what works for you.
How have you made reading fun in your family?
language development, reading
Thanks to Doug and pals for sharing some ‘Bonus Material’ for us! We look forward to being able to provide these long podcasts periodically throughout the year.
This is a fabulous 30 minute podcast that you can download and listen to your media player or portable device.
We hop you enjoy it as much as we did!
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Let me start by sharing a childhood memory. Every Saturday morning my mother would load us four kids in the car and drive into town to the library. Then she gave us each a paper grocery sack and turned us loose. We filled our sacks with a week’s worth of reading and left the library excited about “our new books.” Later in the evenings we would all, parents and children, settle down with a book or magazine.
Now many years later I can tell you we never stopped reading. All four of us kids read daily – books and magazines and newspapers.
So what’s the point of my story? It’s really quite simple. Our parents made it a priority to expose us to the world of reading at an early age. They made sure we had access to reading materials and modeled reading themselves.
Thank you Mom and Dad for giving your kids a gift that keeps giving – hours of enjoyment with books in hand. And yes, I still go to the library on Saturday mornings to stock up on books for the week. The only difference is I carry a reusable library bag instead of the brown paper one.
language development, reading
From “The Wheels on the Bus” to “Goodnight Moon” and countless stories in between, a wide variety of children’s books are available to parents. The research shows that reading with your children promotes language and literacy development and improves their chances for success in school.
Books can expose children to a world beyond their everyday experiences. Perhaps your time together with books will promote a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
During September, we’ll talk about the importance of reading to children. Won’t you join us and share your own personal experiences with books?
Let’s Read Together
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Ok, I confess. On more than one occasion I decided it was just easier to do a job myself than deal with a kid who didn’t want to run the vacuum or empty the dishwasher. She was busy or tired or just not interested. Never mind that I was also busy or tired or not interested. I think this is one of the biggest obstacles for including children in household chores. They resist and we end up doing the task ourselves because it’s easier. Then we end up feeling like everyone’s personal maid and being resentful.
So how can we get out of this trap? An important piece is to remember that we are teaching life skills. By having realistic expectations and providing guidance, we can get there. One really good rule of thumb is “don’t do things for children they can do for themselves.” Let me give you an example. When a child is young we dress him and tie his shoes. As soon as he is capable we teach him how to dress himself and applaud his efforts to tie his own shoes. The same thinking applies to household tasks. We make the bed for babies and toddlers. But once she can climb in and out of her own bed, she can begin to put the pillow in place and pull up the covers. If we teach children how to do something and continue to offer support, we are on the way to raising responsible kids who can take care of themselves.
Check out Inspire Children to Help with Chores for more practical tips.
chores, miscellaneous, parenting