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positive silence!

(64 Posts)
weedswoman Mon 09-May-11 15:07:35

Am I alone in wondering how my grand children will learn to like their own company. Everything is now so busy and every minute filled with things to do, to play, to listen to, to watch, they never have to access their own company and find their own way to play. Is there anyone who would like to join a discussion about the positive aspects of time on your own?

Jangran Fri 03-Jun-11 12:40:46

Talking is good, too. My eldest grandson (8) loves a talk about something that interests him when he is in the mood. I remember when he was about four, when he came into our bed when we were staying over and said "Gran, can we have a talk?". He wanted to talk about astrophysics. He is not a supergenius, by the way - he is just interested in things. He still likes astrophysics; astronomy; paleantology and biochemistry. Of course he doesn't think of the subjects by those names, but those are his interests. My main problem is keeping up with him to continue our talks.

Joan Fri 03-Jun-11 14:11:51

I'm hoping my grandchildren, when they arrive, will be like that, Jangran. Both my son and his fiancee have science degrees, though he works in another field now. However, as a young child, 5 to about 12, he loved to observe the natural world, taking a particular interest in the behaviour of ants. He'd watch an anthill for hours. He also loved to plant things and see how they grew.

I'm so looking forward to listening to my future grandchildren, and talking about all the wonders of the world with them.

Nonna2 Sat 04-Jun-11 23:24:44

My grandson is only 14 months but today I've been painting the garden fences ... and he's been pottering around with me, throwing his football, crawling into his play tunnel, digging in the flower beds, getting mucky, leafing through books and generally entertaining himself quite happily while allowing me to get on with on.

The TV is rarely on at home and, although he does socialise with other children, there is no tumble tots or baby yoga because my DD simply doesn't have the money for such luxuries. He doesn't need them anyway...He is played with and read to, and sung to - just not all the time and he doesn't demand it.

Jangran Sun 05-Jun-11 13:26:06

Isn't that the best, though? Doing things together; just being together; having imaginary adventures (my granddaughter loves pretending that monsters are attacking us, but we can send them away when they do). An adult is the very best toy for any child, and it is nice as a grandparent to be able to have the time for that.

Other toys are things like a bowl of water; a stick; garden soil; "underneath the duvet" - all sorts of things that can double as lots of other things.

I spend a fortune on toys for my grandchildren, but I sometimes think it is more about me (I love to see their faces when they get a present) than it is about them.

greenmossgiel Mon 06-Jun-11 20:59:14

In the days before continuous electronic entertainment, wasn't it so good to be able to wander the fields and take your picnic with you (to be eaten as you rounded the corner from your house!) Building a den, fishing for sticklebacks and tadpoles, and in the wintertime playing outside at night under the light from the lampost, wrapped in a wide scarf that your mum had fastened behind your back with an enormous pin....the list is endless! When my grand-daughters were younger, they sometimes used to ask me to tell them about these times instead of reading stories at bedtime. I like to think that they could imagine themselves doing the same. smile

GrannyTunnocks Mon 06-Jun-11 21:34:05

My 4 grandchildren have some organised activities but plenty of free time to play. They love to dress up, play doctors, play outside at football and on their bikes. They also like to help me in the house dusting, washing dishes and baking. We enjoy sometimes having a day in the house.

baggythecrust! Tue 07-Jun-11 06:42:43

All my kids like having time to themselves. Perhaps because I do too, they have learnt by example.

helshea Tue 07-Jun-11 06:49:34

Benign neglect is a phrase new to me.. but agree that you have to step back from children and give them time and space to be independent, one day they have to learn to make decisions for themselves, and parents can not stimulate them every waking hour. I think it is hard though for parents these days because a lot of the children go to nursery or play group etc, where they are busy busy busy all the time, which they get used to. Also working parents feel that they have to be doing something all the time with their children because they are away from them for much of the day..

harrigran Tue 07-Jun-11 10:41:21

I have found that children are not encouraged to do their own thing because parents feel that they should be supervised all the time. My DG can not play in the garden unless an adult is there to supervise which means when she is with me I have to stop play and bring her indoors while preparing lunch.

gangy5 Tue 07-Jun-11 10:56:16

Yes, I fully agree with Mollie's first post. I have the same problem - 24/7 contact with DH and love it when he disappears on weekday mornings for a couple of hours to the leisure centre. I feel that we are in each others pockets too much although I must stress that we get on extremely well. The peace at home - alone - is wonderful.

Grandchildren do lead busy lives with too much entertainment and activity supplied. As a grandparent I enjoy giving them quiet time at my house and doing things not normally done with their parents. They love being outdoors if possible and as I get alot of pleasure from the 'free' things in life we go on picnics, play in streams, go on nature hunts etc. etc. There's not always alot of chit chat but alot of peaceful enjoyment. As gandparents we are there to keep an eye on them but don't necessarily need to take part in the play. We have a quiet time as well and as we are both around 70, we're happy with that.

Now call me a killjoy but I would rather be locked up than take them to a theme park!!

Jangran Mon 13-Jun-11 19:33:13

Had a great weekend with two of my grandchildren. My five-year-old granddaughter's best time was baking a cake for her mother with me.

I hadn't baked for years until I had grandchildren, and I have discovered that baking and baking with grandchildren are two entirely different skills. But I am getting better. My granddaughter is a great teacher.

weedswoman Tue 12-Jul-11 17:55:38

I was so pleased and surprised to see that this thread had been taken up with enthusiasm and vigour. We, the Grans, are at such an interesting time, we can look back to our own tellyless childhoods, and at the childhoods we gave our children where life was still simpler, playing outside in London without danger, the front door open. Bicycling about on holiday and swimming in the chilly sea, no shops and tar on the beaches. Of course, much has changed for the good and some of the yearning for the former, is tinged with a remembered idyll where the wasps on the jam sandwich are forgotten!
But there is a thread to follow and your help in finding it is invaluable, so please keep sending in your comments.
For interest in the idea of positive silence as part of a school timetable, there is to be a talk on November 23rd at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London as part of an initiative called Justthisday. You can log on to the website for further information. I will be there and hope that lots of grans will come and join in.
Very good buns and coffee in the Crypt too.

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 18:47:06

I think it is totally something in your nature whether you like being on your own or not.

I don't believe many people are really happy being alone for too long though. Its just not in human nature. Certainly not for children. Children are mostly happiest when they are with other children and being active and, yes, noisy. Of course they can enjoy some time on their own, especially if they are tired, and some of them enjoy it more than others.

I think too much is made of the busy-ness of children these days. They enjoy it.

What is so special about being quiet for goodness sake?!

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 18:50:52

TBH I can't understand how anyone can actually like playing with little kids. Its sooo boring! Yes, we do it, because we are grannies and we love 'em. But as soon as something else comes along and we can get out of it - hooray! grin

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 18:52:45

"access their own company"??? Cobblers.

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 18:53:10

Geraldine - another one to delete. Soz.

grannyactivist Tue 12-Jul-11 19:10:20

jangly I've just had an interesting discussion about this with my daughter. I have five children, four grandchildren and had two careers and several voluntary roles involving children. If I am in a room with children I can guarantee that they will gravitate toward me and we will soon be the best of friends. I really, really like children and therefore I enjoy playing with them, talking to them and being with them. My daughter does not. She adores her own baby, but in general she doesn't like other people's children and finds playing with her son is something that she does out of a sense of doing the best she can for him. I encouraged her to accept that it's ok for her to find child's play boring; I expect she'll find the teenage years are her thing or some other phase of her son's development. My own mother in law was never quite sure what to do with my children when they were small (though they made some brilliant cakes together), but now they are young adults she is amazingly close to them and they adore her. (She is a bit special though.)

nannym Tue 12-Jul-11 19:12:04

Jangly I can honestly say that I have found playing with my GD boring. I am frequently amazed at the scope of her imagination, and her delight when we have managed to finish a painting or a model with Playdough is priceless.

betejaid Tue 12-Jul-11 19:13:19

Fingers crossed it will happen for you soon. My OH had been out of work for 10 months and started a new job today. Although I work part- time too, I am so pleased to think I will have a couple of days in the house to myself again soon!

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 19:18:00

nannym, I agree about making things. That's enjoyable. Its just the "shops" and "schools" that I'm not so keen on. (Don't tell him I don't like it though! No, never!) grin

And I love football.

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 19:22:10

grannyactivist - my younger daughter is just like you. She can play with children really well. smile And they all love her.

crimson Tue 12-Jul-11 20:59:56

supernana; I've got all my childrens books and most of their toys and I agree, it is a delight to read them the books their mother used to listen to and the toys she played with. Alas, I don't have a grandaughter, but most of my daughters toys seemed to be technic lego and things like that.

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 21:17:34

weedywoman - "We, the Grans, are at such an interesting time, we can look back to our own tellyless childhoods, and at the childhoods we gave our children where life was still simpler, playing outside in London without danger, the front door open. Bicycling about on holiday and swimming in the chilly sea, no shops and tar on the beach"

I as a child loved it when television was invented. Children still play outside. They do it in parks and their mums stay with them and enjoy being out and gossiping to each other. They still go on bike rides - with mum and dad and the rest of the family and friends. They still bathe in the sea, though, yes, sometimes it is a nice warm sea in foreign parts. Sometimes its Devon or Cornwall, or Southwold, though. Shops are great. My five year old GS loves them! More to enjoy. LIFE IS BETTER NOW. My grandkids are happier than I was and my daughter is a better parent than I was.

I am not looking forward to the "thread that is to come".

jangly Tue 12-Jul-11 21:18:53

Oops. Got your name wrong. Sorreee.

Charlotta Wed 13-Jul-11 00:25:26

People forget or have never realised that creativity needs time. Very often being creative fills a hole caused by being alone, being bored or even lonely. Then the children will think up something and start playing really creatively by themselves or with dolls. Many parents who frantically fill their children's spare time with things to do, look on hanging around doing nothing as wasted time. It isn't. All children need some time with nothing planned.
As to playing with toddlers, it is really boring, but I am an avid card player so I enjoy playing cards or board games.
As a mother I didn't play much I was far too busy snatching time to read my latest book.