Every grandparent likes to spoil their grandchildren a little; being able to dote on your children’s children is just another fantastic part of being a grandparent. However, while it’s nice to be able to treat your grandkids to the odd treat every now and then, what you don’t want to do is get into the habit of feeding them sweet treats day in, day out. Otherwise, they will come to expect them.
Children who eat a lot of sweet foods, such as cakes, biscuits, chewy sweets, and chocolate, are twice as likely to be overweight or obese as they grow up. They are also twice as likely to develop type two diabetes, and many other health problems, for that matter. It’s all well and good treating your grandkids to the odd treat, but for the most part, it’s important to stick to healthy snacks.
The good news is that healthy snacks can taste just as nice as unhealthy ones, it’s just a case of getting a little creative with what you serve your grandchildren, that’s all. For healthy snack ideas and inspiration that any child is sure to love, read on.
Change how you serve fruit
A lot of kids think that fruit is a boring snack, but that’s just because of how it’s often served. To make fruit more fun, and a snack that your grandchildren actually look forward to eating, get creative.
Consider grilling fruit and topping it with a spoonful of natural honey as a delicious snack. You can do this with sliced apple, banana (leave it in its skin), pineapple, mango, or pear. For cooking apples, remove the core, stuff with sultanas and a teaspoon of honey and bake in the oven until soft and golden.
Or, how about investing in an ice cream maker and making your own homemade sorbet? There are plenty of recipes for healthy sorbet, many of which use honey for sweetening instead of sugar, so it could be worth looking up some of these.
Another way to make fruit more fun is to blend it into a smoothie or milkshake; whether it’s a strawberry milkshake or a banana one, swap dairy milk for oat or nut milk and add a sprinkle of oats to it, to make a more filling snack or breakfast.
Get creative with drinks
Healthy snacking isn’t just about food; it’s also about drinks. A lot of kids navigate towards fizzy drinks, but the problem is that these are either packed with sugar or sweetener, neither of which is very good for them. So when it comes to drinks, you may need to get a little more creative.
Water should always be the go-to drink that you offer your grandkids, as it’s the healthiest option. However, a lot of kids aren’t keen on water; to make it a more interesting drink, flavoring it is often the answer. Whether that is by infusing fresh fruit into water at home or buying bottles of ready flavored water, such as watermelon flavoured water, for instance.
There are various brands of flavored water to choose from, many of which are sugar and sweetener free, so make sure to pick one of these as your go-to option.
Baking doesn’t have to be unhealthy; there are numerous ways that you can make baking that little bit healthier. There are many recipes for cakes such as lemon cake and chocolate cake that use yogurt instead of butter, for instance.
There are also plenty of recipes that use reduced amounts of sugar or no sugar at all, instead using honey or fruit to sweeten them. Baking healthily is possible; it’s just a case of finding recipes that have been adapted to be healthier, that's all.
It’s all well and good spoiling your grandchildren every so often, but you don’t want to overfeed them sweet treats, as this may end up having an impact on their health. Instead, take note of the ideas and inspiration above, and you can make healthy snacks more fun for your grandchildren.
Being a grandparent is an amazing gift. You get the joy of watching your legacy grow, and you get to have fun doing it. When we have our own kids, there are stresses to consider and punishments to endure. But, when the grandchildren come along, it’s your chance to kick back and enjoy them without worry.
It’s no wonder, then, that grandparents want to spend as much time with the kids as possible. You may decide to take them for one day a week, or even let them sleep over on some weekends. Their parents will be glad of the break, and you’ll get the quality time you desire.
But, letting them stay over isn’t all plain sailing. Children get into a routine, and can be easily upset when sleeping in an unfamiliar environment. When you start out, you may find that ask to go home, or refuse to go to bed.
Don’t let it hurt your feelings. It’s not that they don’t want to stay, it’s just that they aren’t used to the space. The good news is, there’s an easy fix. And, following these steps will be half the battle.
A room of their own
If the grandchildren only stay over occasionally, it’s tempting to let them sleep in the spare room. But, if it’s going to become a regular event, it’s crucial you give them a room of their own. If you have to give up your spare room to do so, then so be it.
The knowledge that they have a bedroom at your house will work wonders. If you’re in the same house as you were when their parent was young, it might be a good idea to put them in the same room. All the better for easing them. But, even if you don’t have a room with sentimental value, you can create one. All they need is a space to call theirs.
Add the personal touch
Of course, you need to incorporate personal touches to make the room theirs. On a basic level, this should involve putting up pictures and filling the room. It’s worth stocking up on toys that they’re only allowed at your house. That way, they’ll look forward to playing with them.
It’s also worth stocking up on furniture. Something like a memory foam mattress, as mentioned on Choose Mattress, will work well, here. The mattress will mould to their body shape, and make them feel at home as soon as they lie down. Think, too, about nightlights, and anything else which could put them at ease.
Let them bring things from home
You may think you’ve got everything they need, but never stop them from bringing bits from home. Nothing can beat the comfort such items will bring. Some kids are so attached to certain cuddly toys that they can’t sleep without. Don’t get upset that they’re choosing those over their new toys. Despite your best efforts, it’s important to know that there really is no place like home.
Do you know how to create a regular storybook time with your kids or grandkids that will have them demanding more?
Reading provides so many more benefits than just a time-filler before bed. And it can be so much fun if you do it right! Not only will you help create wonderful family memories, your kids will develop a delight of books and reading. But there are plenty of other benefits, too.
So... why is it important to read to kids?
You may think it's just something that you do at bedtime when your kids are small. Or maybe, you're thinking that it's something that teachers will do with your children so you can just forget about this activity as your kids get older.
Reading to your kids, at any age, has so many benefits; in fact, reading will help children:
And, don't stop as your children grow. It's still important and something they will continue to enjoy as you share books, reading and adventures with them. You'd be surprised how a regular reading time creates one of those amazing 'moments that matter' activities that your kids or grandkids will remember and treasure.
But you may be worried about how to do this storybook time, or how to make it interesting for them.?
How can I improve my reading aloud to my kids?
Let's run through some simple ideas as we look at Fearless, by Colin Thompson; a wonderful book for kids 4 years and up. You can find a small intro clip for Fearless below.
Choose a good book. In this case, it's Fearless; but find something that will appeal to the age and interests of your kids.It should be fun, and you should enjoy it. Remember, if you're enjoying it, so will your kids. Books are usually displayed in libraries or bookstores according to age groups so that will help with selecting something suitable.
Read it through a few times before you read aloud to your kids. If you're planning to do some activities after reading, prepare your resources beforehand. The book, Fearless, deals with emotions and in particular, fear. Print off the free emotions cards below to use during and after your reading time.
Make sure everyone is comfortable. You might decide to set up a special reading area, and that's great, but it's not essential. You can read on the lounge, on the bed, toss some beanbags on the floor and read there... whatever works for you. If you're reading to little ones, they need to see the book. They will probably want to sit on your lap or lean against you. Remember, as they watch you read the book, they are learning important aspects of reading: books are read from left to right, the printed words correlate to spoken words, pictures provide context clues and more.
Display the cover of your book and discuss what the kids think it might be about.
Read the book more slowly than you would normally speak. Add expression as you read: lower your volume for scary parts or when the character is being careful, whisper when a character is trying to hide, smile while you're reading fun parts (listeners will hear it in your voice), use different voices for different characters etc.
Gauge the content you read for the listeners. In other words, you can leave things out. The book, Fearless, has a couple of pages with a lot of text. For smaller children, I'd probably skip some of the sentences and just read the important ones.
You can stop and ask questions while you're reading if you think something needs clarification. For instance, you might ask, "How do you know that Fearless was happy?" "What was making Fearless scared?"
You'll probably find that you'll be asked to read it again, as soon as you finish. That's fine! But first, spread out the emotions cards and talk about the different feelings. Ask your kids about times when they have felt sad, happy or scared.
Now this time, as you read the story of Fearless, ask your kids to locate and hold up the emotion pictures that show how Fearless or the family might have been feeling. (You can reuse this activity and cads for other books, too.)
Now, ask if any of your kids would like to read the story. Don't worry if they can't read, yet. Show the pictures and they can tell you what was happening in the story. It will be a simple paraphrase, but that's fine. It's a great way to develop a grasp of story sequencing.
Finish with a game of memory with the emotions cards.
On their own
The book, Fearless, also deals with the importance of names. Fearless seems to be an inappropriate name at the start of the story but he lives up to his name at the end... sort of.
Use this book to talk about names, and why each child was given their particular name and what it means. There are plenty of activities listed below that encourage kids to learn about names, letters and how to write their own name. Choose a couple of these activities for your kids to work on themselves.
So now, you're a pro. You have the skills to create wonderful moments that matter at bedtime or whenever you choose to schedule regular reading time with kids. And... you'll be setting up your kids for a life-long love of reading and learning. Jacqueline Kennedy once commented: 'There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.'
You also might like to download the FREE GUIDE- Early Reader Essentials from ReadBrightly.
For more creative family ideas, get your free access to At Grandma's Place library below.
Anne specialises in helping you create moments that matter for you and your family.
Grab more simple family ideas and resources now.
As the summer months continue and the weather stays warm and sunny, it is easy to fill our days with lots of activities and fun events. These enjoyable times inevitably lead to treasured moments that you want to remember forever. Here’s how to create and keep important family memories.
Take photos and share them
It is common these days – when mobile phones and digital cameras abound – to take tens or even hundreds of pictures of your children and grandchildren in a single day. Most of the time these adorable shots do nothing, go nowhere and are seen by nobody. While not everyone on Facebook wants to see hundreds of nearly identical photos of your grandchild on the swings at the park, their parents might. Create a private Instagram account and only give access to those who are interested in seeing all the exposures from the digital roll of film you’ve taken. If social media isn’t your thing, buy a digital photo frame so you can display all your pictures in your home.
Turn little memories into meaningful stories
Some of the best memories in life turn into stories that you tell over and over again. Remember that time Dad’s shorts got caught on the boat or the day Jimmy accidentally fed his ice cream to a seagull? Make story time easier by immortalizing the most meaningful of your personal stories into a self-published book. Combine the narrative with pictures of the actual event to bring your book to life. The beautifully printed stories about your time together will make great gifts to give to grandchildren on important birthdays or special occasions.
Use throwaway mementos to create lasting souvenirs
Scrapbooking is an amazing and creative way to preserve memories. As easy or complex as you want, scrapbooks are the answer for how to keep all those ticket stubs or brochures that you don’t know what to do with but just can’t bring yourself to throw away. To save money on supplies, visit your local craft store website for coupons and savings then go online to find ideas and templates and start getting creative.
Store your memories in a safe place
It is really important to store your memories safely. Think about the risks in your home and plan ways to keep them safe. Get a fireproof safe or a waterproof plastic container or keep your precious knickknacks on the top shelf. If you’re big on memories but short on space, consider getting a storage unit to keep all your books, photos or memorabilia. Your local movers will have a range of home storage solutions to keep you
Making and keeping treasured memories is a meaningful part of the time we spend with our loved ones. The first steps, the graduations and the weddings - you and your loved ones will appreciate having the chronicles of your days stored for future moments. No matter how you choose to store your family’s memories, make sure you keep them safe – because they can’t always be recovered.
Anyone of us can struggle to buy gifts for friends or loved ones. Especially family. For some of them, you may know exactly what they will love, while others may prove harder to buy for.
However with Christmas, birthdays and other celebrations during the year, there always seems to be an opportunity to buy gifts, and the grandparents can often be the trickiest. It can get a little monotonous. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some ideas that could work for those special people in your life. I hope it offers you some inspiration in that time of need.
Planners and Diaries
Most people, especially women, love stationery. So a planner or a diary could be a perfect choice. Thankfully you can buy these at any time of the year, and people can use them straight away. However, they tend to be a solid choice for Christmas with the impending new year. Planners and diaries are so much more than having a place to write appointments these days. Some have advanced note sections that allow you to plan your meals, keep a list of contacts and even keep track of how many glasses of water you drink. This can especially work for grandparents because as you do get a little older, you can become more forgetful.
A planner isn’t just specific to dates and a diary format. These days you can buy planners that will work for anything. If the person you are buying for loves to cook, then you can buy them a planner where they can record their recipes. The options are endless, and you are sure to find something that fits the personality of the person you want to buy a gift for.
Something to ignite a hobby or passion
As we get older, we do tend to have a little more time on our hands, and many grandparents will take up hobbies to socialize as well as exercise. Golf tends to be really popular as it has a slower and relaxed pace while still requiring skill and brainpower. This is why a gift to ignite such passions could be ideal for any grandparents in your life. Golf, for example, could mean a new set of golf clubs, a golf rangefinder bushnell brand could be something a little more technical, or even a membership to a prestigious golfing club. Meaning everyone can get involved. Other things to consider would be other sports, gym membership or even crafting hobbies.
A lot of people like something personalized. It shows thought and effort. This type of gift gives you a broader scope on what you can get. You might want to keep things simple or have something more personal engraved on something. Jewelry is always a popular option when it comes to getting something personalized. However, you may want to consider something more quirky like engraved glassware. There are plenty of websites online that offer unique gift choices that could turn out perfect for the person you need to buy for. However, one of the best unique gifts you can get personalized is something you have made up with grandchildren. Pictures of them, perhaps artwork with hand or foot prints. These things can be some of the best, and special presents received, and often have a fraction of the cost from others.
Many people love a bit of pampering. Men included. So buying some pampering essentials could make a great gift idea for the grandparents in your life. You could choose to buy a set in their favorite brand. Or create your own hamper. Try and include every element to the ultimate pampering session. So consider things like essential oils and candles, bath soaks, and face masks. You may even want to include a miniature bottle of wine or box of chocolates.
These can often be the most thoughtful gifts to get someone, especially if you decide to make a hamper up yourself. Alternatively, some of the most popular brands and skincare specialists will offer up gift hampers, especially around Christmas time, which tends to include an array of products with a similar scent. Perfect if you know what their favorite is.
Let's get technical
Some people avoid buying technical gifts for older people as they feel perhaps they may not get on with the advanced technology, but this can be a foolish thing to believe. Many older people love to be involved with new technical gadgets, especially as their grandkids could be obsessed with the iPad or taking pictures. Having their own gadgets to use could help them when taking care of the children, or even capturing their own memories like video and pictures on tablets like iPads or even on their smartphones.
Sometimes you need to be simple with your gift choices. Especially around busy gift purchasing times like Christmas. This is when it’s worth considering giving a gift or store card. You can often obtain one from a store they will love, and this enables them to choose something they want, rather than you having to guess what they may like. Gift cards can be perceived as an easy way out, but I think they are a great gift choice. It enables you to allow your grandparents to choose exactly what they want and shows you know them well by picking the store they love.
Pajamas and loungewear
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a set of pajamas or loungewear like a warm cuddly dressing gown. Maybe even throwing in a pair of slippers or bed socks to match. There are so many gorgeous options available that you’d struggle to pick out just one set. For many, it’s best to stick with a theme or something they are interested in. These days you can choose for a traditional set with shirt and pants, or even a nightdress if that is what they prefer. You can get them in an array of colors or designs, so you are bound to find something they will like.
I hope this provides you with some gift inspiration for the grandparents in your life.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.