photo by Chiceaux
I was interviewed last week on the subject of GrandparentsNow.com for Deutsche Welle - Germany's International Broadcaster. The item – also featuring Emma Soames, Saga's Editor at Large – appears in their weekly programme European Business Week.
You can listen here:
It's half-term and children are out and about everywhere with grandparents. I was on a train yesterday with a toddler who was generally annoying the whole carriage! She wasn't being naughty, just exuberant, fidgety and noisy. I looked on, puzzled that her mother or grandmother hadn't brought anything to occupy her during the half hour journey.
However, I then reflected that even those well-thought out plans don't always work. On Saturday, I attempted to entertain our 17 month-old grandson at the wedding where he was a page-boy. I'd brought oe of his favourite books Wrong move! For he pointed, as always, at the pictures whilst saying in a loud voice: 'tractor', 'digger', 'boy', 'dog'!
We made a quick exit.
My son, who was sitting in the body of the church, reassured me later that his words were soft enough not to disrupt the marriage vows!
Then yesterday on my train home, I read a piece by Viv Groskop in the London Evening Standard about how she'd bravely taken a 3 year-old to The Wolseley for lunch, and how another customer had hugely over-reacted to having a tap on the shoulder from this little chap.
It's sad really how we all rush to judgement over the exuberance of small children, forgetting so quickly that we were all young once!
Following on from our earlier posts on Save Our Libraries below, this is a useful link to find out how your local libraries are affected.
The future of the Surestart Children's Centres is apparently under threat. I've been looking into how many of these are likely to survive the government cuts - under News/Features - while a young mum friend, Chantel, writes about what we can expect to find at the existing Sure Start Childrens' Centres today.
Yes! It seems these centres are not just for young Mums, but welcome grandparents as well.
I imagine the Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall are looking forward to being two proud Grandmas at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton….as they watch their respective granddaughters, Lady Louise Windsor, aged 7, and Eliza Lopez, 3 walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey.
What is the best age for bridesmaids and page-boys, I wonder?
I guess we’ll have an inkling this coming weekend as we watch our two grandsons – 3 and 17months fulfil their duties as page boys. But I’d love to know what you think?
One thing’s for sure though – no matter how they behave I knowwe'll be two very proud Grandparents.
According to Sir Michael Marmot, a leading public health academic, half of all five year olds struggle in their first year at school. And this deficiency will result in under-achievement, ill-health and an early death, he warns. His study found wide variations in different areas of the UK but his main recommendations are for toddlers to be encouraged to talk, play and read. And, above all, he advocates that they should be read to at least once a day.
So this is where libraries – and grandparents – come in, isn’t it? For the more books that are around a toddler, the more interested he’s likely to be. And the more libraries that stay open, surely the more we grandparents can visit and borrow books to read to our toddler grandchildren.
So all the more reason, surely, for us to campaign to keep libraries open?
I guess everyone's seen this by now…but for anyone who hasn't, here's a treat:
a granny to be proud of.
We’ve been hearing a lot about. Amy Chua and her Chinese/American ideas for hot-housing children, making them do 3 hours (!) piano practice a day and admonishing them if they don’t achieve A+ grades. But what I want to know is how today’s working parents are supposed to have the time to do all that? Or is it likely to fall on the shoulders of those grandparents who live near enough to oversee the after-school hours every day? In any case, I hope that approach doesn’t take root here.
Wouldn’t we rather see our grandchildren grow into fully rounded beings, who know how to relate to others, who make time for friendship, and who enjoy their free? This, after all, is when they can let their minds wander, their imaginations fly and discover who they really are. Isn’t that preferable to raising pressured automatons who do nothing but study, practice and train to be geeky adults?
I took the grandchildren to our local library on Saturday in an attempt to support Save Our Libraries Day. This small library is such a good example of a great community service: a bright, clean new space, easily accessible amongst the village shops, with free internet access and a new area for the community to use for art exhibitions, meetings etc. And a delightful childrens’ section with book bins on the floor that make it easy for youngsters to reach in and browse. All very user-friendly and a great way to introduce small children to a love of books….even if the youngest did spend his time emptying the shelves of DVD’s!
Yet like so many other libraries, it is, of course, under threat. And what a tragedy it would be if all the small local libraries like this were to close so that people with pushchairs couldn’t walk to them. I’ve always thought of our library as a wonderful free destination that gives the babies and toddlers an outing and change of scene, whilst introducing them at the same time to the joy of books, literature and reading. A godsend for grandparents. Can we as a country afford to lose them, I wonder? What do you think?
I hear on the news that Justine Roberts of Mumsnet is going to advise the Labour Party on family matters. Well done her and well done Mumsnet; they grow more powerful by the minute. But I'd like to think that one day grandparents might get their voices heard in an equally effective way. So more power to our elbows eh?