If you’re lucky enough to have your grandchildren live nearby, hopefully you have them over often for sleepovers. I think it’s a wonderful idea for the parents to have a break or maybe a date-night, and for grandparents to have time with their grandchildren.
When the grandkids come over for a sleepover, I try to make sure I have plenty of fun activities planned ahead. I like to make their favorite dinner. Usually a make-your-own pizza party. Just have several pizza toppings on hand, some personal size pizza crusts and let the fun begin! This way you can avoid a lot of the issues of picky eaters. They can make the pizza exactly like they like it, EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink, or plain cheese, it’s up to them! They are their own personal chef! Also, they’re usually so proud of their own creation, they will gobble it up with gusto!
For dessert it’s fun to follow the same protocol! Pre-make some cookies or cupcakes, then have a variety of sprinkles, candies, whipped cream and icing for them to decorate. Another great idea is the make-your-own sundaes! That always seems to be a hit! Lots of ice cream, fruits, toppings and whipped cream. It’s a great way to keep them engaged, entertained and well fed,(because you know, us Nanas, want to make sure the children are well fed).
It’s great to embrace your inner child, as you spend this time with your grandchildren. I know that kids nowadays have iPads and video games, which are great, I totally embrace the modern edge of grandparenting also. It can be nice to have a break from those and maybe introduce them to some of the ways you used to have fun as a child. Trust me, they will be intrigued, if not totally humored! Remember making blanket forts? Pretending that the floor is hot lava? Hide-and-go-seek? Old Maid card game? Jacks? Checkers, Chess and Backgammon? Believe it or not, you can still find some of the “retro” games. Yes, we’re “Retro” now… but still cool.
I have found that my grandchildren are interested in what it was like when Nana and Grandpa were children. As they play these games, they usually enjoy them, but also, it’s a novelty that we were able to be entertained so simply when we were young. Of course, I try to keep up with the times and what is new in the forms of entertainment for kids. But what a fun history lesson, and guide on how to enjoy a little imagination or simpler things.
So we’ve fed them and had some play-time. If you’re like me, bedtime is fairly early these days. I like it that way. For many children, especially on weekends, they want to stay up later than their curfew on school nights. Okay, so maybe my bedtime will be 10:00 instead of 9:00 tonight….I can do this. (It’s for the grandkids, anything for those little angels!)
Bath-time before bed is always a good idea. Wash away the grime of the day, it helps them wind down and get ready for bed. I like to run them a warm bath. Not a shower, like they usually do during the week with mom and dad. They’re so busy with school, homework and extracurricular activities, that things may be a little rushed in the evenings. Most of the time, I know my grandchildren just get a quick shower, then off to bed. Since this is the weekend, and they’re at Nana’s house, we take things a little slower. We all know how nice it is to take a nice warm, relaxing bath. The same goes for children. They also have stressors from the week, and need a little time to recharge. I have found that adding bubble bath or bath bombs with essential oils help them wind down and relax. It’s also fun to just let them play. Maybe a few bath toys, soap crayons, an audio book playing on the iPad, ( or Nana reading to them as they play-this depends on how old they are. They definitely get to the point where they’re modest, and want to bathe unassisted)
*Disclaimer: please assist all children in a bath that are too young or disabled. Use your judgement, know your grandchild’s ability.
After bath, it’s always a great time to have a quiet activity together. In Nana and Grandpa’s house it’s PUZZLE TIME! We love jigsaw puzzles! Some of our favorites are Liberty Puzzles. We used to live in Boulder, Colorado. They have a great puzzle store on Pearl Street. They’re made of wood and have very unique puzzle shapes. We absolutely love them!
The grandkids always look forward to working on a jigsaw puzzle with us. Of course piling up with lots of blankets and pillows, reading mountains of picture books are always a favorite with them also. Different voices for each of the characters, taking turns reading and discussing the story as we go. Reading is always a favorite at Nana and Grandpa’s house.
Remember, as you get ready to actually go to sleep, the grandkids are used to their own beds at home. Certain accommodations may have to be made to help them feel safe and secure while away from home. Sometimes the guest bedroom is too lonely or too far away from Nana and Grandpa. So, maybe a bed in the blanket fort, make the couch into a bed or even a pallet made out of blankets on the floor in Nana and Grandpa’s room is needed to make them feel safe. I have found that the closer they are to Nana, the safer they feel. I let them tell me where they need to be. Some of my favorite times as a child were spent laying in bed with my Grandmother, just talking about everything. I will remember this forever.
Having the grandkids over for a sleepover can be a very special time for all of you. Just remember, take the time to focus on them. It’s not the time for laundry, cleaning or catching up on your latest binge watching on Netflix. Give mom and dad a day (and night) off and make those memories with your grandchildren that will last a lifetime!
“Making Grandparenting Glorious!”