Dear Grandparenting: If you want to get to know young grandchildren, you have to get down to their level. They can’t be expected to come up to your level.
So when the grandkids are 3-year-olds, you better limber up and get down at ground level where they operate. What’s the payoff? You can clown around with them and entertain them with simple things. How can you put a price on sharing giggles with your grandkids?
When they are 6-year-olds, they get interested in games like hide and seek, which isn’t too strenuous if you are the one hiding. 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 playtime down a few notches. Few of my friends play around like that with their grandchildren. Some can’t because they are ailing but mostly because they can’t be bothered or think it’s beneath them. They don’t know what they’re missing. I have fun and I laugh and so do my grandkids. What’s not to like about that? Fran King, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dear Fran: Researchers contend we’re all hardwired through evolution to 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 time and space, savoring the experience more than the outcome.
We 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 the very idea as something long ago and far away — a distant memory. Some are born more playful than others, but play can be learned, just as introverts learn to become better public speakers. 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
Minnie Martin, of Reading, Pennsylvanis, weighs in to say life “doesn’t get any better than when my grandkids see me and scream my name and run to hug me. How are you ever going to top that?”
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.