It’s National Family Week this week and their website is full of suggestions of events that are taking place this week for parents – and grandparents – to join in with children during half-term.
And under Days Out, they also have a number of offers – various discounted.entrance prices or two-for-one offers at some of the country’s best attractions.
This has inspired us to remind visitors to GrandparentsNow that we’re doing something similar – except we’re collecting ideas for free as well as cheap days out! You can find them under Going Out/Staying in in our Tips section. And please send more!
I see today’s Telegraph has a piece saying that today’s parents are ‘too busy’ to take the family on days out. This seems a pity, but is understandable given the current economic climate plus the fact that everything feels so expensive – particularly if you have to multiply it by three or four or more.
Here at GrandparentsNow we’ve been calling for your ideas on cheap and free days out with the grandchildren – and I invite parents to share their ideas with us as well. The more the merrier.
You’ll find some suggestions already under Going Out/Staying In in the Tips section. Please Email us your ideas:
According to an item I heard yesterday on Radio 4's You and Yours, baby wipes, along with all other kinds of wet wipes, are perfectly designed to clog up our sewers as they stick to the fat that's already congealed and create a blockage.
I've often wondered how environmentally safe these wet wipes are. I know 'wet ones' were around when my children were babies but I recall only using them for travelling. At home we cleaned up their bottoms with cotton wool and baby lotion. If we wanted to wipe their faces after a meal we'd use a flannel, or maybe a paper towel..
I remember being surprised that my son and daughter-in-law seemed so dependent on wet wipes for their first-born. But I confess, I've gone the same way as they are so terrifically convenient.
BUT, I would never dream of disposing of them down the loo! They go bundled up with the dirty nappies into the bin. Now that's another whole issue, I know, because mountains of disposable nappies can't possibly be good for the environment.
So perhaps it is time for us to stop and think about what we're doing when we use items designed for our convenience. My generation of grandparents managed to bring up our children with terry nappies, and that was before automatic washing machines were the norm. But my mother's generation and many before them managed with no washing machines at all.
Hanging washing out to dry doesn't seem to be popular nowadays though; I wonder if anyone's done the maths to work out what is best/worse for the environment. Hours spend tumble-drying terry nappies or sending disposables to landfill?
And could it be that the fashion for later potty-training nowadays, is a direct result of babies and toddlers wearing disposables which make life so simple for parents? Maybe they're another convenience we should question?
Sounds like a children’s story, or poem, doesn’t it? It is, in fact, a grandmotherly mistake that happened while the boys were staying this week. I’m sure all grandmothers would sympathise with the view that it can feel like quite a challenge, getting grandchildren, bathed, washed and safely into bed. In this case, in my efforts to get things ‘right’, I asked the eldest if the first set of pyjamas out of the bag were his and he agreed they were. And he was right, of course, as most boys’ clothes in that household have at one time belonged to him! It wasn’t until the next morning that I realised my mistake and we had a good laugh. So I took these photos and thought I’d share them….
A recent report suggests that 10-year-olds in a 2008 study could manage fewer sit-ups and had less arm strength than their counterparts in 1998. The author of the study, Dr Gavin Sandercock – a children's fitness expert at Essex Universtiy – puts this down to 'changes in activity pattterns among English 10-year-olds, such as taking part in fewer activities like rope-climbing and tree-climbing.'
I don't imagine this comes as a surprise to many grandparents. We've observed the level of outdoor activity diminish hugely since our own childhoods. Many of us probably felt sad that our own children couldn't experience the same freedoms we had in playing outside, exploring the countryside, climbing trees, running free.
And as we've grown more and more afraid as a society , the freedoms have diminished accordingly. I look back to my own childhood with nostalgia for those long school holidays when a group of us youngsters disappeared for hours on end: building pretend camps, cycling through parks, climbing trees, camping out, making fires, cooking and eating dampers ( remember those funny scone-type things made purely from flour and water? They MUST have tasted disgusting.)
My sister and I grew up in the first house in a brand new road and watched others go up around us. As new families arrived we kids had endless hours of fun playing on the empty shells of the new-builds as they went up; rushing up ladders to run around the scaffolding, swinging from the scaffolding bars, excavating holes out of piles of bricks to create our own little 'homes' where we acted out adult life; exploring the builders' machinery……..all pursuits which would be totally outlawed today by Health and Safety Rules, let alone parental anxiety!
But my main recollection from that time is a wonderful sense of freedom to do whatever we liked and explore as we saw fit with no adults on our shouldersstopping us. I wonder if it's because those adults had recently emerged themselves from the long years of the war when things were truly frightening, so that they had a good sense of perspective about what amounts to real danger, and were sensible enough to see that a little harmless exploration in the big wide world was no bad thing for their offsrping?
Or did we really live in safer times?
GrandparentsNow.com supports Age UK's campaign to persuade the government not to move quite so fast in bringing in the state pension age-rise for women to 66. Women born between 1953 and 1954 are most affected, with many of them standing to lose around £10,000 and feeling they don't have enough time to make new financial plans before the changes take effect.
We know how many grandmothers there are who feel squeezed at the moment – squeezed emotionally and time-wise as they look after both the offspring of their grown-up children and, often, elderly parents while also holding down full-time jobs. To make these women suffer financially on top of this seems unfair and an ill-conceived plan.
Interesting dilemma today over whether grandparents have any rights to access their grandchildren after adoption. You can read the original letter from 'T' in Advice and my attempt to answer the emotional aspects of the problem.
Today, our legal advisor Charlotte Adler responds in Rights with her views on the legal aspects of the situation.
May 16th, 2011
Filed under: Uncategorized
I've been a supporter of the Lighter Later campaign since it was first announced b 10:10 last year. It seemed a no-brainer to me at the time; after all why would we NOT choose to make use of all the available daylight when it's available?
And it seems to me that as grandparents, most of us would approve of all the other benefits changing the clocks would bring. We need to care about what kind of world we're handing over to our grandchildren - and if we can save energy and carbon today, that can only benefit them in the long-term. Then there's the road safety factor. Many of our grandchildren go to school and come home again in the dark in winter and statistics seem to prove that more accidents happen on dark afternoons, when people are tired, than early in the morning.
Certainly my two little grandsons must think the whole world is a very dark place on their nursery days in winter: they get up in the dark, go to nursery in the dark and find it's still dark when they come out again at 4ish.
If they knew there was an hour of daylight being 'snatched' from them, I guess they'd think the world was a crazy place!
There was some debate in the Daily Mail the other day, following an article by Carol Sarler suggesting that some women are ashamed to admit to becoming grandmothers. Some of the comments indicate that people don't like the names we're given, finding Gran/Granny/Grandma/Nan and Nanna far too ageing.
I can relate to this: I recall being so excited on learning that I was about to become a grandmother, yet at the same time feeling it was far too soon! I was far too young, I thought. But then suddenly, overnight, you have a grandchild and somehow in this ageist society, this immediately places you in the slipper-wearing category!
But grandparents come in all shapes and sizes. I met a 41 year old granny the other day, who already has a two-year-old granddaughter. Frankly, I can't see her, nor any of my baby-boomer generation, ever going into slippers, hairnets and crimplene!
I read with fear and trepidation about the takeover of skype by Microsoft. Will it go the way of all enterprises swallowed up by the 'big boys', I wonder? I do hope not for I wonder if skype isn't perhaps the favourite resource of grandparents? People post here about the delight of keeping in touch with their grandchildren from all over the world through the magic of skype.
I guess the worst that can happen is that Microsoft will start charging us to use it – and that's reasonable, every business has to make money. But I fear for those grandparents on fixed incomes who have to question every small expense. Will skype then become beyond the reach of many?