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Traveling with six to seven year olds...........

Traveling with six to seven year olds...........

Old Aug 17th, 2004, 08:21 PM
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bonniebroad
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Traveling with six to seven year olds...........

Have to ask..... we are grandparents, who have just spent eighteen days with our almost-seven year old granddaughter, the last eleven days just the three of us, some of it at home, some traveling and staying in hotels,etc. We LOVE our GD to pieces but realize that she is happiest when being constantly entertained.......... doesn't like to do much by herself. Also gets bored easily, i.e., at the dolphin show at the aquarium, really enjoy the dolphins performing but complained about the slide show accompanying it between stunts. I looked at the other kids around her age, and they all seemed to have the same glazed, semi-bored expression when there wasn't "a lot of action." Who else finds this exhausting, 24/7, with children this age? I suspect part of the problem is that my GD is an only child, as so many are today, and used to interacting with adults all the time. I KNOW my mother/grandmother never entertained us when we were little....... there were seven of us kids, and my Mom had LOTS of work to do! I have had a glorious vacation with her, but we are EXHAUSTED (and my DH is not nearly as patient as I am!) Does anyone else get WORN OUT with these little Rugrats??????
 
Old Aug 18th, 2004, 03:07 AM
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When my kids were that age (and younger) I was worn out all the time.

However, I think the issue here is one of expectations - I expect your granddaughter has different entertainment expectations from her grandparents than from her parents. And you, quite understandably, want to make sure she has a good time. Most grandparents are not as quick to say - "Find something to do" when a kid is bored than parents are. That is why kids love them so much (among other reasons).

Sometimes less is more. I spent a lot of time with my kids doing things I normally needed to do - running errands and then stopping for an ice cream, having them help me cook, even sitting and reading separate books together.

And then some kids just like to complain - my daughter is one of them. She can have a constant stream of minor issues with anything - but later will tell me or I overhear her talking to her friends about how "awesome" it was.

Your granddaughter is lucky to have 2 involved grandparents - of the 4 possibilities, my kids only got 1 and I know she sometimes felt like she needed a vacation after spending even an afternoon with my kids.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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Our first grandchild isn't due for another month but her father, our son, insists she won't have a lot of toys, just a sandbox and a lot of cardboard boxes. He was an only child but he learned to enjoy quiet times. At age 11 he spent most of the summer without other children around when we went on a camping adventure. My sister, who teaches crafts at a summer camp, is shocked that children do not know how to use scissors and a ruler. I suggest get some craft supplies for your granddaughter's next visit. (Bead weaving is very popular at summer camp.) Our vacation activities included digging in the sand for hours, beach combing, and learning to fish. At campgrounds he could bicycle. On the beach at Maho on St John USVI, I remember hearing parents comment that it was wonderful that their children could run around and make friends. You watch the kids, but you let them spend time alone, watching other children, learning to invite another child to help fill a hole with water. Legos were popular, books and matchbox cars. I suggest visiting a good arts & crafts supply store for some age appropriate kits.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 05:17 AM
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My kids are now 18 & 23 so I can remember the days of boredom. Why not give her a disposable camera to use in your adventures? Spend a few minutes to show her how to use it & then let her go. Buy a cheap photo album & notebook from the dollar store & have her make a photo journal. Who knows, she might get a liking for this & be a journalist someday. It will at least keep her busy.

I have also gotten lots of craft things from the dollar store to use when my neighbor brings her 8 yr old over for me to watch. This kid is super smart but loves to do things with me. We have done all kinds of crafts & nature things. How about making her a cookbook of things you cook together? Besides making memories you can teach her math (measuring) & attention to detail (timing) that will help in school.

Just a thought. Remember that she may act bored now but the memories will be precious as she grows older.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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Bonnie!

This has less to do with being an only child and more to do with catering to your granddaughter's whims. By not entertaining her she will learn to become resourceful and self-reliant even without the company of other children. Provide nature, books, crafts and a few toys of your choosing. Turn off the TV. She is fully capable of entertaining herself (and pitching in with work) but why should she when she has doting grandparents?

LOL! I know I would probably be more interested in real live dolphins than a slide show!

She is a lucky little girl to have such caring grandparents and you are sure to be forging wonderful memories for her for many years to come. Kudos to you. Now go get some rest when you can!
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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I like the idea of a camera. It made me think that a digital camera would be a great idea as well. Instant results and she wouldn't go through the film in two seconds (like my kids would end up doing). That is if you can find a decent one appropriate for a child that isn't $100.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 06:11 AM
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Guys, I do all the things you suggest. She is artistic and creative, and has vast amounts of supplies, etc. BUT she always wants an audience, and she wants to do everything WITH ME. She has been raised this way by working parents, who want to make up at night and on weekends, the time they don't have with her during the weekday...... She goes to bed when the adults do. It makes for a very long day....... I love her dearly, but it is TIRING! Just wondered if you observe a lot of kids being raised this way today. I see them all around me!
 
Old Aug 18th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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My neighbor's child is just like that. I think it comes from being an only child & indulged. My kids were taught to amuse themselves & I was included if available. Many times I was the audience of a play in the living room.

This reminds me of what my mother's doctor told her when she complained about being tired & out of sorts. She was live-in housekeeper to a family with 2 young kids at the time. The Dr said, "There's a reason why nature stops us from having kids at a certain time in our life. You just don't have the energy to deal with it full time".

You might just have to level with your grandchild. Tell her "I'm pooped right now & need to recharge my batteries. Why don't you do _______ for a while & then when you're finished we can do_________." She's old enough to realize that people have different energy levels so just let her know.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Absolutely. Kids are definitely being raised this way. Especially when both parents are working, as you describe.

I think if you are a stay-at-home Mom, it may be slightly less likely. Since you have spent all day with the kids, you are ready for some "adult" time at night.

But in pursuit of "quality" time when you haven't seen your kids all day, parents often entertain and attend to their needs until bedtime for all.

Also, today's parents aren't as likely to allow their kids personal freedom to entertain themselves, due to all the fears of dangers. As a kid, I would play anywhere in the neighborhood with anyone for hours, showing up at home for dinner. I would never let my kids out of my sight in the yard! As parents, we set play dates, arrange artistic projects, cart kids to organized sports... It's what they have come to expect!

I even think that being brought up on Sesame Street makes kids expect splashy, intense, and fast-paced entertainment, pre-MTV. I'm not knocking it - it's how I learned Spanish as an adult! But, these times are a-changing, for better or for worse, and your GD fits the mold!

One thing I find endearing, no matter how old the child, they still want their parents (or grandparents) to "watch them." How many handstands have I timed in a pool, to how many skits or puppet shows have I been the only audience, how many "art shows" have I judged, how many games, practices, recitals have I attended? Gosh, I am so happy I've had the time to do so!

I think it is wonderful that you were able to take your granddaughter on vacation. She is such a lucky girl to have you! Grandfathers are supposed to be curmudgeon-y, and it's good for kids to learn that someone can love them without always praising and attending to them! I know you are ejoying the memories you are making, and the special bonds being created.


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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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I know several families that tend to raise their children in a similar fashion From lenient bedtimes to catering to picky eaters. To indulging them with every toy imaginable on a whim.
My brother describes me as a "no nonsense" Mom. It was how I was raised. But I have to have rules in our house. I shudder to think what it would be like without it. The second my boys smell weakness, they go in for the kill. We have 8:30 bedtimes, a bit more lenient on the weekends, but still a bedtime. We have rules as to when homework is done, and are starting to expect more in the form of chores around the house. (although we need to work on this more). They eat what we eat for dinner...I'm not a short order cook. Of the three out of 5 children that come over for sleep overs, their eating habits always come into play. And I'm not feeding them salmon croquets or anything. A dinner of pork chops with applesauce, green beans, and macaroni and cheese have been turned down by some of the kids. I don't get that! I even had one child not eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich b/c he doesn't eat honey wheat bread! Geez.
I had one Mom call me to ask how it was going and when I told her he wasn't eating his dinner, she told me to give him the cracker snack she packed in his suitcase! ?? He gets crackers while my boys eat a proper meal?? I don't think so!
Even though we're pretty strict about things over here, we still have a lot of good times with our kids. Somehow we are able to balance things to where it seems to be working.
Anyway, I think the only cure would be them to have another child or two. She would then have to learn to fend for herself a bit more.
But I certainly don't see why you can't come up with your own set of rules at your house. "We go to bed at 9:00 at G'ma's house." Etc...you ARE allowed to do that, so don't feel guilty setting down your own rules. You can still have fun with her and she'll still love ya.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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Well, everyone has to do what's right for them. And not one of us is a Perfect Parent. But most kids turn out okay, and love and acceptance go a long way to mending any parenting errors we are sure to make. No matter how well you think you are doing, someone is critical of your methods, and you will later be blamed by your kids for something! That is just the way of the world.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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About a year from now, your granddaughter will probably ask if she can go back and see the dolphin show again. As grandparents, we sometimes try too hard to have them happy all the time.
I'm sure she had a wonderful time and will remind you down the road. Write a journal of the good times, and cherish the memories you had the past couple of weeks.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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Maybe the kid was right, and the slide show was not very good. That would not surprise me.

I've just finioshed reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, and starting around page 100 (in case you sneak a peek in a bookstore0 there's a lot about Sesame Street and Blue's Clues, and how kids absorb information, attention spans, repetition, and more.

Kids brains are different from adults, plus kids differ from one kid to another.

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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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bonniebroad, I skipped having children and went straight to stepchildren (and they have the most fabulous mother in the world) and am not far from stepgrandchildren.

I'm taking notes so To The Top!
 
Old Aug 18th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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I think the best suggestion was to set the rules for Grandmother's house and explain them to her. Part of growing up is learning to respect other people's needs and rules. It's not her fault that she expects constant attention from adults. Maybe you could set up a special quiet time ritual to give you a break.

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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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bonniebroad and hibiscushouse, I really hear you.

I am a young single grandmother. My difference is that I have 5 grandchildren. Three from my oldest son's and two through my middle child, a daughter. And I have totally different experiences with the first group than those I have with the second. The first group of three have a much more traveled, fast, pampered and lenient family style- than the second.

My first three are as you describe your granddaughter but probably more jaded as far as travel goes. Not only is entertainment hard and tiring, but just quiet times, reading, or perhaps learning how to bake something- all require Oprah's chef's ability or they don't hold much interest. At five years of age my youngest of this three, has been to more places than my daughter who is 32. They do have wonderful manners, but an orange at Christmas is definitely not going to make it. Going with Grandma to American Girl in downtown Chicago was declined with "I was there with a birthday party when I was 4." They are huggy and very sweet to me, but we find it very hard to be together for any length of time in hotels/motels, especially.

Remember when getting a new bike was a big thing? It still is for my other two grandchildren. They have a much more regimented and structured lifestyle. And because of the slower pace of the parents, I find that those two boys can also amuse themselves for longer periods while waiting for the "schedule" to come to them. By the way, both sets have a stay at home mom.

There is a difference in temperments, of course, but what ($$$ and time)activities that they are used to also makes a huge difference in what activities you can enjoy together. My mom, who is 83 gets "sick" if she sees what I need to do to keep up or have some kind of real connection time. She doesn't understand why they don't want to please ME more, as my kids did with her.

My grandson in the first fast paced group of three, is 7. He only wants to talk about his latest Japanese card exchange portfolio or how the new ballpark in Detroit was or how his last water skiing / water boarding session went and how many wakes/ tricks he got through or about HIS All-Star baseball travel team etc. So I sit with him for about 3-1/2 minutes looking at his artistic card arrangements etc. but he is not interested in much of anything I MIGHT suggest or would have done with my grandmother- and is off to the next thing before I can even finish looking at his work. I tried to get them all to clean green beans and pick some tomatoes and it was fun and they did a good job- but it wasn't "special" or entertainment like it is with my other two little grandsons, who haven't yet seen "Paree".

All my grandkids are wonderful humans, loving and very affectionate, with hugs all the time- but I do find that same intensity you speak of, a little unsettling. My daughter's oldest started calling me "Grandma-Tan Car" when he was 3 or 4 and it stuck. It was from all our little trips, so I do love to have this time all together. But I need a vacation from my vacation and can't get back to work after the pace of the first bunch.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Whatever daytime/daycare arrangements have been made for her normally, I doubt they entertain her and give her an audience all day.

Have just reread all response to your post - the one I like the best is to stop trying too hard to entertain her and make it clear what "Grandma's Rules" are - as long as they are clear and consistent, unlikely to go wrong - and kids are really good at learning appropriate house rules in a number of locations.

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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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JJ5,
After reading the fourth sentence of your entry, I knew where your post was going. OF COURSE, your daughter's children are lovely! But those raised by your daughter-in-law... Well...
I know you love them all equally, but it is clear that you don't approve of the job your son and daughter have done. Well now, that's nothing new under the sun. Daughter-in-law's and mother-in-law's usually have slightly different perspectives.

And to Hibiscus: Well, I personally like a little nonsense.

I don't think Bonnie was looking for advice. I think she was just looking to vent and see if anyone had similar experiences. Well, Bonnie, what do you think?
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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Dreamer 2, you really are dreaming. This has nothing to do with my daughter-in-law versum my daughter. I love the way my daughter-in-law is, very laid-back and a happy, optimistic person, besides being beautiful. It is the amount of money available and spent for children's enjoyment when they are very, very young. Just like anything else, the more you have, the more you may want, the more jaded you may get. If anything it is my son's traveling/ business life style that gives the children such access.

You must really have a problem of your own to make some comment like that from what I wrote. My daughter-in-law is a farmer's daughter and the sweetest, most down-to-earth person around. She's beautiful without any artifice, doesn't even wear makeup. The judgments people make here about individuals never cease to amaze me.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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Actually, I appreciate all comments, though I wasn't actually asking for advice, that's true. I just wanted to know what others observe in their daily lives. The main thing I know is that I am TIRED, but we have lots of wonderful memories!
 

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