Grandparents spending time with their grandchildren is a win win situation. Moms and dads get a break from parenting and kids get to see how far they can push Grandma and Grandpa. It is funny how kids learn that they can ask for and get pretty much anything they want from their grandparents. The same applies for anything they might want to do. Especially the things they are not allowed to do at home with mom and dad.
On the flip side, (most) grandparents have more time and resources to spend on their grandchildren. The little things they rushed through with their own children have now become treasured moments. The strict rules they applied to raising children has faded away as they are not raising this next batch of children. Fun is now the ruler and mess no longer an issue.
Quality time is never an issue. Most grandparents love when their grandchildren come to visit. The problem becomes when the grandchildren wear out their grandparents with their endless and enviable supply of energy, ideas and even demands. Grandparents start off with good intentions letting their grandchildren do, eat and have whatever they want, but sometimes these good intentions get carried away. Fast.
One of the best things grandparents have lots of at their place is treats. Some grandparents even keep a separate cupboard for treats. If they do, the treat cupboard is usually off limits to other family members. And, all grandchildren will agree, that Grandma's fridge always has more good stuff in it than the one at home does. Kids love treats and they learn early where to find them.
Most of these treats were never in Grandma's fridge or cupboard when she was raising her own children. All of a sudden, with the appearance of a new generation of kids, stuff like cookies, ice cream, whipped cream, and snack bars are the norm. So much for healthy snacks like fruit and veggies. Those things might be there too, but treats are much more fun.
Another things grandparents love to do is spend money on their grandchildren on their birthdays or for holiday gifts. Once again, this may stem from the fact that they didn't do this for their own children for whatever reason. Financial stability is probably the main reason the grandparents feel it is appropriate to overindulge their grand kids. The saying “you can't take it with you” comes to mind. Grandparents realize their immortality and feel the need to spend their extra money on kids while they are around to see their reactions.
Grandparents also have more time on their hands to enjoy and indulge their grand kids for their birthdays or holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Shopping for birthdays and such is like a snowball rolling downhill. The purchases keep accumulating until they get out of hand. Of course the grand kids don't think so.
Grandparents are not above using bribery to get their grand kids to behave and their grand kids are definitely not above using similar tactics to their advantage. Bribery sounds so manipulative though. Between grandparents and their grand kids this win win discussion is often more of a business deal than actual bribery. Can't you just hear it? “Eat two more bites of broccoli and you can have a cookie” or “if you behave yourself at the grocery store, Grandma will buy you a treat.”
Either way, both parties win in such a deal. Grandma gets to report that the grand kids ate their dinner or behaved at the grocery store, and the kids get their treat or gift. After all, the golden rule is “what happens at Grandma's house stays at Grandma's house!”
Grandparents are not only known for buying too many gifts for holidays or birthdays. They can also be counted on to provide the more extravagant (expensive) items that their grand kids wish and long for, sometimes even before they know they want it. Grandparents seem to have a sixth sense as to what will make their grand kids (and their parents) very happy. Kids start out with whatever grandparents choose for them, but quickly gain the upper hand by requesting the things they really want.
Kids learn very quickly that their grandparents will buy the things their parents won't (or can't) purchase for them. The kids don't care what the reason is, they just know it works. Grandparents are an endless resource for things like bikes, expensive electronic devices, and even cars for sixteenth birthdays.
Staying up late when they are on a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house is probably the norm for kids. Time just seems to fly by for some reason. Bed time gets pushed back because so many activities are packed into the evening hours. It also gets pushed back because the kids know how to stall for extra time.
By the time bath time and snack time and story time are all taken care of, everyone should be exhausted, but only the grandparents seem to be. For some reason, the kids seem to get more energy as the evening progresses, convincing themselves they are not yet tired. If there is more than one child at the sleepover, it is even tougher to adhere to a bedtime schedule. One kid might appear ready for bed, but if the second (or more) are not, they keep all the kids awake and energized.
Like the bad food choices talked about previously, grandparents love to supply their grandchildren with an endless supply of candy. Perhaps this is because they never let their own children consume that much sugar. Or maybe they do it because they are sending the grand kids home after the candy consumption so won't witness the sugar highs and lows.
Whatever the reason for allowing the kids to eat all the candy, they find out quickly that they can get as much of the stuff as they want. It's like the old saying “like kids in a candy store.” It is really hard to pick just one kind of candy when you are surrounded with so many different choices of it. Even (most) adults would have a hard time with that predicament.
Candy and other junk foods are only a few of the things grandparents buy their grand kids too much of. Clothes may seem to be more practical than the candy and junk foods, but can also get out of hand very quickly. Children's clothing is so cute these days especially the girls stuff. It is difficult not to get carried away.
The kids moms probably don't complain as much when Grandma buys clothes either. It makes for less of a strain on the parent's budget when clothes are purchased for the kids. After all, kids do need clothes and lots of them as they grow so fast. Hopefully Grandma has good taste in clothing so Mom will approve of the choices. A good (and safer) bet would be to take the kids shopping so they can pick out their own clothes. At least as soon as they are old enough to know what they like or dislike.
Spending time baking or cooking in Grandma's kitchen may start out with the best of intentions. Who doesn't love home made cookies or brownies. Even boring dinners taste better when the grand kids help out in the kitchen. Both the grandparents and the grand kids enjoy this quality time together. Sometimes however the best and simplest intentions go awry, heading to disaster really fast.
It all starts when someone gets a little too silly. Sometimes it's Grandma or Grandpa, sometimes it's one or more kids, sometimes even all of the above, all at the same time. The instigator however is quickly forgiven as the fun begins and the mess accumulates. It doesn't really matter who starts the kitchen disasters, because everyone ends up having fun. Except for the unlucky person that gets to clean up the mess!
Even trips to the grocery store, either planned or impromptu, can get out of control quickly when the grand kids don't enjoy these excursions. Grandparents want to concentrate on the task at hand, while the grand kids are bored to tears. Bored kids always lead to trouble which usually translates to bad behaviour. Temper tantrums are at the top of the list under bad behaviour. When the grand kids escalate the bad behaviour the grandparents lose control if it is not quickly nipped in the bud.
Grandparents can regain control if they remove the grand kids from the boring situation. They can also help by promising (see bribery above) the kids a treat or gift to alleviate (reward) the bad behaviour. This could be a dangerous lesson though, as the kids learn quickly how to gain the upper hand.
One of the things grandparents may be asked to do when they visit with their grand kids is to supervise homework. The problem is there are too many other activities that are much more fun when grand kids spend time with their grandparents. Because of these more exciting things, the homework is relegated to the bottom of the grand kids' priority list. Unfortunately, homework is more than likely at the top of their parents' priority list.
The grand kids may stall as long as they can, requesting lots of distractions from the homework that needs to get done. Sometimes the kids stall so effectively that the grandparents end up doing the homework themselves because the kids run out of time. The kids go from requesting help from their grandparents to getting it all done for them. How smart is that?
Why is it that grand kids want their grandparents to carry them everywhere? Even the kids old enough to walk very well on their own often request a piggy back or a lift from Grandma or Grandpa. Grandparents will do most anything for their grand kids, including carrying them around on their aching back. It often starts out as fun, even suggested or encouraged by Grandpa or Grandma, but can develop into a bad habit very quickly.
Grandparents' backs are not as strong as the kids' parents' backs are, but for some reason no one wants to admit this fact. It all seems like so much fun at the time. It's often not until the following day when they can barely move that grandparents realize they may have overdone the piggy backing thing.
Watching the grand kids can be exhausting for the grandparents, especially for long periods of time. Not that it isn't fun, it just takes lots of energy to keep up with the kids. For some (not so hard to understand) reason, most grandparents do not have the same energy level that their grand kids possess. It seems too, that the more tired the grandparents get, the more energetic the grand kids get. It helps when both Grandma and Grandpa work together or as a tag team to keep the grand kids entertained.
Trying to get the grand kids to take a nap is difficult too as the kids want to pack as much fun stuff in as they can. The grand kids are completely in control of what they do, when they do it and when or if they take a break to nap.
Bath time is another (like baking) activity that can start off harmless enough, but quickly escalate into an out of control mess. When grandparents are requested to bathe their grand kids, it may seem like an easy request. After all, (most) kids and water go hand in hand. Bath time is fun, right?
With new technology in water taps and hoses available today, kids can gain the upper hand quickly by using the fancy gadgets to spray water everywhere. Slippery kids and bubbles, it doesn't get much more fun than that. As long as a man (kid) made lake is something you want in your bathroom. Be a "glass half full" type of person and just think of bath time as multi tasking. The bathroom floor will get washed at the same time as the kids!
There are many reasons grandparents let their grand kids spend lots of time with technological devices instead of other forms of entertainment. The first one is that most grandparents are not as tech savvy as their grand kids are. Grand kids make great teachers. They can teach their grandparents all the tricks involved with modern technology without making them feel old and outdated. Sometimes the kids will let their grandparents play the electronic games too, but that's just to show off their skills.
The other reason grandparents let their grand kids spend more time with the technological advances common today is the fact that this type of activity is (usually) performed sitting down. It is much easier for aging grandparents to keep up with kids that are sitting in one spot for hours instead of running around. The grandparents might even take advantage of this calm to find time for a nap!
Grandparents may also be known for letting their grand kids do things they never let their own children do when they were young. Things like jumping on the bed or furniture, eating in the living room (or anywhere else other than at the table) or playing ball in the house. Not only do grandparents let their grand kids “get away with stuff” they encourage them and laugh at them while they do it. Grandparents' homes have a whole new set of rules for the grand kids these days.
Why and how does this happen when these same people were so strict with their own children? Grandparents have learned over the years that life is too short to worry about these things. Either that or they don't care so much about their material things any more. Material things are replaceable, grand kids are not!