It's the holiday season and you're excited because the grandchildren are coming to visit! But, like many grandparents, you might be wondering if there will be enough to keep them happy and occupied at your cozy (but empty!) nest.
Time to up your game, Grams and Gramps – but with as little effort as possible. These tips will help you easily prepare your apartment for the grandkids, and have them begging their parents to visit more often.
Not that you'd want to encourage more time in front of the television, but TV time can be family time, too! You just need to make sure you've got access to what the kids want to watch.
If you already have a streaming subscription to a service such as Netflix or Hulu – great! If not, you can usually score a free trial period so you have access while they're in town. Right now, there are scads of holiday movies – old classics and new favorites – you can enjoy with bowls of popcorn for eating (or stringing for the tree) while you watch.
You may also want to buy a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, which makes navigating the content far easier. The kids will likely already know how to work it – don't worry, it's really easy! – and they'll have something to do when the adults are talking around the table with drinks or coffee.
Maybe you're already big on holiday decorations and you've got it covered, but if not, holiday-themed festivity goes a long way in making children feel like something special is going on.
If you don't have a Christmas tree yet, or it's not decorated, why not wait until their arrival and make it an activity that you can call a tradition for next year? If your space is small, get a tabletop version.
On the heels of the tree idea, holiday crafts are always fun. You can purchase lots of boxed, low-priced options at your local craft store. That could mean anything from foam-sticker projects for Santa-themed door decorations or stained “glass" window hangings you can date and save for next year.
You can also go online to find dozens of ideas that will allow your grandchildren to make some ornaments for your tree. Pine cones, for example, can be turned into glittery orbs that will sparkle in the tree lights on Christmas Eve. Gingerbread house kits are a great pastime – and if you're an adept baker, perhaps you can even teach them to make it from scratch.
Do you live in a 55+ apartment community? If so, it's likely you're not the only resident who'll be getting a visit from younger family members. Check with your friends and neighbors to find out who's having company and coordinate some outdoor playtime with similarly aged kids.
You'll delight in watching them make new friends and be happy to see their getting exercise and burning off all those candy cane calories.
You may be the indulgent grandparent – and that's likely fine, especially around the holidays. But the wee ones cannot live on Christmas cookies alone, so it would be wise to have some healthy snacks in the house, as well. Fruits, veggies and healthy grains make for happier, better-behaved house guests (and might make their parents happy, as well)!
Trot them out to show your grandkids what their parents and grandparents were like as kids. They might balk at first if they're a little older, but since kids today barely know what these are, this could be a memory they'll remember the rest of their lives. It might even inspire them to create a photo or scrapbook of their own.
A visual stroll down memory lane will jostle old memories and stories loose that everyone will enjoy (and get their eyes off their devices for a while).
Kids have tons of energy, usually more than even the spryest grandparent, so don't feel badly about needing to take some self-care time to rest up. Your family loves you and wants you to enjoy the visit, too. Sit, rest and nap when you need to and let your loved ones help if they offer. Family is what the holidays are all about.