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Feature Articles - Aging


Grandparents: The world's best gift


Expecting the family to visit during the holidays? Having the grandchildren come to visit is exciting, but it can also be a challenge. How do you get a toddler to warm up to you? What can you do to prevent your treasured objects from damage? A little advanced preparation can help.

When talking to young children, use common sense. Try to get down to their level - sit down or bend over; don’t tower above them. Don’t use baby talk or gush over them. You remember a toddler from his last visit as an infant, but he doesn’t remember you. Hugs and kisses from an adult the child doesn’t recognize can be uncomfortable and even frightening for the child. Go slow, simply smiling and saying hello until they feel more at home. Even older children, teens especially, may not be comfortable with too much physical contact. A pat on the shoulder may be all they want.

Children love to hear stories about their parents as children. Use this opportunity to share your family history and pass along holiday traditions.

Children have lots of energy and being cooped up indoors with family all day may stretch their limits. You have a right to not have them jumping on your furniture, but they need a chance to let off some steam. For lengthy visits encourage some time outdoors or, if the weather doesn't allow for that, suggest a trip to the mall or an indoor recreation center. Another option is to tell them to bring their skates and let them rollerblade in the garage.

For children’s safety and your own sanity, do some child-proofing around your house before the kids arrive. Put your most valuable breakables out of reach. Talk to the parents about ways you can make your home more safe and enlist their help. For example, they may be able to bring along a gate that keeps a toddler from climbing the stairs.

Originally published in University of Missouri Extension's Silver Threads newsletter.



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Last update: Tuesday, December 07, 2010