Dear Grandparenting: I would have bet you the world that my daughter would be totally bonkers by now, what with my three grandchildren quarantined at home and underfoot constantly. Maryland schools have been closed since the middle of March because of the coronavirus. The kids can let off energy playing in the backyard, but they’re still on top of you all day long. Everyone everywhere is scared and nervous and I’m sure the kids pick up on that. But to my utter amazement, my daughter says so far so good.
She even claims the kids argue less and get along better. But they didn’t get along all that well to start with, which makes me wonder what’s really going on. All that togetherness can wear thin pretty quick. What are you hearing from other families? Kitty Welch, Bethesda, Maryland
Dear Kitty: If the fear and uncertainty going around wasn’t bad enough, millions of grandchildren live in families that lost jobs and/or loved ones.
But a surprising number of households report that children have generally adapted well to their confinement, while other parents say their kids are happier and even flourishing.
Many savor the independence and control that comes with unstructured time. Others realize they can handle disruptions on their own, a confidence booster. Some experience growth from finding solutions to everyday problems on their own or assuming daily household chores, while others relish not feeling judged and directed throughout the day. As schools become more achievement oriented, the stakes and expectations ramp up and opportunities for creative play decrease. Now grandchildren can explore and romp, perhaps pass the time outside on a fine spring day, all in sharp contrast to an increasingly structured school regimen and afterschool activities.
Parents cite other reasons for grandchildren’s wellbeing, like less sibling conflict because kids bond over their shared pandemic experience. And there’s more quality family time, as whole families eat three healthy meals a day together and can even sleep in, minus that annoying early wake-up.
Grand remark of the week
Jess Jones from Columbus, Ohio believes he is “getting too old for too much craziness with my grandchildren. The last time was over the top. Reminded me of turning on a blender before putting the lid on it.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.