Dear Grandparenting: If you want to get to know little grandchildren, you have to get down to their level.
So when the grandkids are two or three-year-olds, you better limber up and hit the ground because that’s where they operate. What’s the payoff? You can clown around and entertain them with simple things. How can you put a price on sharing giggles with your grandkids?
Now when they are four and five-year-olds, they get interested in games like hide and seek, which isn’t too strenuous if you are the one hiding. And you can always buy age-appropriate board games. That’s one really good way to engage your grandkids and share their space.
That’s how I did it. I haven’t stopped either, just slowed down. My friends don’t play around like this with their grandkids. Some are ailing. But the ones who can’t be bothered or think it’s beneath them simply don’t know what they are missing. I get to laugh and so do the kids. What’s not to like about that? Patty Smith, Sidney, Ohio
Dear Patty: Researchers contend humanity is hardwired through evolution to engage in play. Personal preferences of what constitutes play differ greatly, but all share certain elements — a sense of engagement and pleasure that takes players out of the humdrum of daily life. When at play, the engagement matters more than the outcome.
We should play because it’s therapeutic and helps curb stress, according to numerous studies. In the workplace, play can boost productivity and job satisfaction. Attending a movie or concert with others enhances communication and bonding.
Play is clearly way too important to be left to children, but we suspect many grandparents regard it as something long ago and far away. Play can be learned, even something as simple as being social in creative, unstructured ways. It’s never too late to put a little play into one’s life and get the hang of living in the moment.
Grand remark of the week
Maddy Hill from Everett, Washington reports she gets along “just wonderfully” with her two granddaughters, ages four and six.
“I remind them that I am a little girl a heart just like them, except I’m an antique so they must handle me with care. And they do.”
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.