Every parent dreads the summer holidays from school because of the dreaded “I am bored” days.
What do you do when you hear those words? You know they have every electronic gadget ever invented in their rooms. They have books galore and the weather is beautiful so they should be outside playing with their friends. But that whiney voice that says “I am bored” strikes fear in our hearts brains and ears.
This happens at grandparents houses while visiting for more than a week and what do we do when it happens.
My grandmothers solution as well as my mothers was to answer. “If you have nothing to do you can go weed the garden, or clean out the bedroom you are in. The dishes need to be put away and the laundry has to come in off the line and be folded.”
We always seemed to find something to do with those choices given as an option. You would be surprised the number of things we came up with to do and how fast we left the presence of our mother and grandmother.
I am not saying that was the right or wrong way to deal with the problem but it worked well for my family. We lived in a small town and times were different than they are now. We could watch the news and not hear about gun fights or children going missing. In the town everyone knew who’s child you were.
I was a wanderer from a very early age and I would end up down at the Agriculural College looking at the gardens full of flowers. My mother would get a call at least once a week with someone saying “Faye she is here again.” My mother would get into the car and go and pick me up. I started this at age of 4.
My one set of grandparents lived in a small town and I would stay with them for 2 weeks every summer. There was a supervised swimming area in the river across the road so I spent a lot of time at the beach, but grandma always had things for me to do if I asked her for an idea. I was sent to the store for a loaf of bread or a quart of milk each day. There was a large baseball park next door and at night we would sit outside watching baseball games and watch the people lawn bowling in the next field. Grandma would take me for walks around town looking at the flower gardens everyone had. These were things I didn’t do at home so they were like an adventure for a young child. I still love looking at gardens and flowers.
At my other grandparents who lived on a farm I learned how to snap beans, shell peas, and play with the calves and help do the chores. Still can’t milk a cow though. But being from a town I was always amazed at the things other children living in that area thought of as work could be so much fun.
Now when I hear other grandparents talking about visits from their grandchildren they all talk about how expensive it is to have them visit. When I ask why they say they have to buy a new toy or treat every day or the children get bored and cranky. Why is a visit about gadgets and money and treats? Shouldn’t the visit be the treat?
I am not saying don’t buy them things I am saying keep it reasonable. One year my grandson came and I knew there were no children for him to play with so we bought him a bike so he could explore the town. He loved it and was gone for at least an hour every day. We sent him home with the bike since it probably would not fit him the next year. When they visit we let them have all the Canadian Tire money that we have saved over the year and they are allowed to spend it on what ever they want. Usually out door toys since grandma and grandpa don’t keep up on what children like to play with. We also don’t know their interests so this way they get things they will play with and we don’t have a box of things that stay in the box.
We do keep leggos, mega building blocks, Barbie dolls and clothes, squirt guns, dinky cars, finger paints and beach toys and these are all big hits. Books are also a good collection. We have picture books, story books for all ages and our grandchildren love to sort through them and read to themselves or bring me a book at bedtime so I can read to them. They like the stories I write for them some of which are on this site in the stories section. I sometimes start a story and ask them to help me come up with things to add to them. Then they give the title and we can add to it every time they come for a visit.
Bad weather days are the days we go for groceries and they are allowed to pick out one thing they would really like. That is their treat but they have to share. It is amazing the things they pick. One time it was a pineapple because they liked the way it looked. The other one picked out a package of spare ribs which he told me how to cook. He was 8 and he loved spare ribs and wanted to show grandma how good they were the way his dad cooked them. Did not tell him that I had taught his dad how to cook so he was showing me my own recipe.
We have an outdoor fire pit so on nice nights we get it going and take hot chocolate out along with wieners and roasting forks and marshmallows and we have a great time cooking and talking and laughing a lot. My husband tells great ghost stories and the little ones love to curl up on the swing and listen as the fire crackles and sparks.
One thing to keep in mind is what they like to eat. One week long visit for lunch we had grilled cheese sandwiches. That was all Sean would eat for lunch. Every other meal was different but lunch had to be grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese slices not cheddar or cheeze whiz. Mia would not eat vegetables but I had a small garden and had peas and carrots and I sent them out to get some for supper and she ate those because they were not carrots out of a bag. She called them orange things. I didn’t have any left when she went home. She learned to eat something she thought she hated. Now when she comes I buy those peeled carrots in a bag and she likes them. Must remember to plant a few carrots this year.
So visits can be expensive but they don’t have to be. Keep in mind they are only here for a short time so don’t buy so much it is expensive because by the next visit they will have lost interest in the gadgets. Just keep simple basic toys and a lot of imagination and everyone can enjoy the visit.