Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Amusng older grandchildren

(26 Posts)
Craftycat Thu 07-Apr-16 10:54:11

For the first time this Easter I have had a problem finding something that all 3 older grandchildren want to do. To be fair it has rained pretty much solidly the last few days which makes it worse.They are 2 boys nearly 10 & 12 & a girl of 8. Girl no problem- still likes all the usual things & the younger boy is very easy going but the almost 12 year old started BIG school last September & is growing up fast. I have them to stay in holidays as Mum works P/T & they live about 30 miles away so it is easier for them to stay for a few days than ferry them back & forth.In fairness to older GS he is a really nice boy & not the complaining type but I just feel I should be doing more to meet his needs. Let's be honest- it won't be long before he will be old enough to stay at home & won't need to come here anymore & that will break my heart but I accept it will happen.
I LOVE having them but I'm out of ideas. Farms playgrounds etc. are too young for him now. Cinema is OK but that is only one afternoon. We can get to London by train for Museums etc. but that works out expensive & also they are SO crowded in school holidays. I can get away with a good walk maybe once.
He has spent most of his time on Xbox playing Minecraft with his brother the last 2 days- very happy to do so but I'd rather be dong something all of us together .
Or maybe I'm being unrealistic??

Greenfinch Thu 07-Apr-16 11:03:23

I appreciate where you are coming from as we have a similar problem with our 8 year old twin grandchildren.

Do they like board games ?

Have you any odd jobs they can do in the house or garden perhaps to earn a bit of pocket money?

I agree that the weather doesn't help.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 07-Apr-16 11:05:32

Is there anywhere near you he could use his skateboard, if he's into that?

The favourite thing with our two GSs (14 and 10) is going out to lunch somewhere they regard as 'cool''. The chain restaurant, "Five Guys" is a favourite, and the food is reasonably healthy (and delicious). MacDonalds isn't as bad as people make out, either.

Nothing wrong with letting them play with the Xbox some of the time. If they are happy, perhaps don't try to 'entertain' them too much.?They usually just want to do whatever they would be doing at home.

NotTooOld Thu 07-Apr-16 11:16:58

Similar problems here. Both are happy lying about on sofas using their computers but then I feel guilty although I agree that trying to entertain them too much may not be the answer. We take ours to play badminton at the local leisure centre (they like oldies v young'uns best) and that goes down well, as does the cinema. They'll also play jokari (hitting the ball on the string) in the garden for half an hour and maybe another half hour with badminton racquets, assuming the weather is good or I take them to town and send them off on their own with a small amount of pocket money and arrangements to meet up later. How old do you think they need to be before they can safely be left on their own at home? Fourteen? What about being in charge of a younger sibling?

Teetime Thu 07-Apr-16 12:02:04

My 11 year old GS is similar but really enjoys ten pin bowling - that's something all three could do - if the weather is nice he likes to play boules in the garden too.

Teetime Thu 07-Apr-16 12:03:35

Oh and I forgot DH says there a number of younger families taking up indoor bowls together at his club and that's much cheaper than ten pin bowling.

JackyB Thu 07-Apr-16 12:06:32

I haven't any experience (yet) with grandchildren of that age, but if they are reasonably normal, perhaps you can involve them in washing up (make a game of it, singing a silly song together helps). Whilst washing up, conversations will inevitably crop up and you can ask them something about their interests and learn about them, and maybe they will listen to you if you tell some stories of adventures you had when you were their age. If washing up is not an option because you have a dishwasher, maybe getting them to help fold washing (it takes two to fold a sheet - right?) or do some gardening could start things off.

This depends, of course, on what you want from your time with them. A 12-year-old will have his own diversions and, as others have said, you should leave him space for them.

But if you want to talk to them, or just lark about, there will be a way!

Have a chat with your son/daughter (the parents) to see what they suggest. They may have ideas, but just don't have the time or the resources to undertake them with their children.

Once they realise that you are all theirs (unlike their parents, who are often distracted - we were the same) they may tear themselves away from the Xbox and do something with you.

I am hoping that, when mine are that age, I will be able to watch "Back to the Future" with them, and build obstacle courses for them on their bikes, go swimming, put up a tent in the garden and have tea in it or maybe go on shopping expeditions to buy books, footballs, shoes or jeans.....

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 07-Apr-16 12:09:47

For my elder GS to be really happy, he'd have to bring his drum kit with him. Let's face it, there's no place like their own home (and bedrooms) for them, in the precious school holidays. Visits are purely for Granny's benefit.

pensionpat Thu 07-Apr-16 12:32:44

That's very true. For a while now if we need babysit (not the right word for 13 year old I know) we go to his house. We hardly see him. He pops down to see if we're OK and we watch a different TV. It's a bit sad, but natural. I need another grandchild to start again!

shysal Thu 07-Apr-16 12:45:16

One day last week I 'babysat' DGSs 12,14 and 16 overnight at their home. They didn't want me to do anything with them, apart from cook a dinner and transport GS2 home from a friend. I hardly saw them, as they spent the majority of the time in their rooms using their devices, with the odd burst of energy in the garden on the trampoline, and frequent forays to the fridge!
I used to love the imaginative play, outings, scientific experiments and baking with them, but sadly I am now redundant sad. I am not good at doing nothing, so got permissions to clean DD2's cooker (didn't want it to look like a criticism), but spent the rest of the time reading and using the internet. Even the dog has a recovering dislocated shoulder so only required a short walk.
Don't fee guilty about doing less with your GCs Craftycat, they will soon tell you if they have any ideas. It is difficult to think of something they all want to do when they are older.

Crafting Thu 07-Apr-16 13:28:27

Just a though, get them to show you and your granddaughter how to play mine craft so you have something to talk about together. It's a very popular game for lots of kids and mine play with their parents.

Penstemmon Thu 07-Apr-16 13:48:52

Sitting nxt to DGD1(10) at the moment who is creating some Minecraft villa. I keep having to make appreciative remarks everyso often as she shows me what she has done...I have no idea really! grin

cornergran Thu 07-Apr-16 13:52:39

Asked our two this week what they would like to do that was different to our usual of crafts, walks, the odd museum, lunch or as a change breakfast out (usually cheaper than lunch), trips to the beach and sea-side things (with or without rain), the odd film, cooking, helping with DiY and the garden, space for them just to 'be' and they both said without hesitation - nothing. One is 10, the other 8, both girls. How lucky are we? We are noticing they appreciate more down-time, their lives at home are non stop busy and some chilling out time with the food they enjoy at very regular intervals is seen as a real treat. The older one disappears to read or play games and appreciates us entertaining little sister for a while. It will be different next year I am sure and am appreciating every minute now. Hopefully if I keep asking what they would like to change we can all evolve together.

Greenfinch Thu 07-Apr-16 13:58:07

What is minecraft ?I have never heard of it.

shysal Thu 07-Apr-16 14:37:58

A computer game Greenfinch

Greenfinch Thu 07-Apr-16 14:51:09

Thanks*shysal*. I will look it up.

Teetime Thu 07-Apr-16 14:51:17

GS (aged 11 nearly 12) used to love Minecraft but once boys get FIFA you've lost them.

GrannieBabi Thu 07-Apr-16 14:58:22

My 2 DGS are 12 and 15. They live abroad so it is perhaps a bit different but when they visit they both like: water park, bowling, pictures, gym with grandad, tennis in summer, football match, walking if fine and somewhere different, shopping (once only), family meals out. I make sure they get favourite foods and these days it is hard to fill them up! They do spend quite a lot of time on computer, but that is the same as when they are at home. The older boy is coming on his own for a week for the first time this summer, so we will see how that goes.

GrannieBabi Thu 07-Apr-16 15:05:23

Minecraft is a computer game which allows you to create your own world. It is apparently very absorbing, my GS loves it. You create, explore, survive ....

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 07-Apr-16 15:09:22

Our fourteen year old GS has just discovered that he likes flying model aeroplanes with Grandad and the rest of the old codgers.

Kittye Thu 07-Apr-16 15:22:19

My 4 eldest GC are bored unless they are playing on their devices. I looked after my 9 yr old GS yesterday, we baked cookies , played Monopoly but then he was bored and wanted to watch tv or play games on the computer. My youngest GD who is 6 is the only one who wants to play with Nanna. It's sad but I'm afraid it's a fact of life sad

Gagagran Thu 07-Apr-16 15:46:18

Our almost 11-year old DGS loves a game of dominoes with Grandad, who is very hard to beat, so when DGS does manage it, it is a very well savoured triumph. It is also teaching him how to lose gracefully and is good for strategic thinking skills. He loves reading and will always pick up his book in the absence of anything else on offer.

He still likes a wrestle now and then! Boys are so physical aren't they? We live 1 mile from his home and DD has just started to allow him to come to see us on his bike, on his own. But like everyone else has mentioned, he also loves his computer games including Minecraft.

I think their lives are so busy with school, scouts, swimming club and football training and playing etc., that a bit of down time, doing not much, is very valuable for recharging batteries.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 07-Apr-16 17:18:16

Our two like to wrestle each other. I've learnt to recognise the screams of real pain.

Judthepud2 Thu 07-Apr-16 21:09:10

DGS1 is 9 and moving past needing entertained but does enjoy outdoor activities such as football, cycling, scooting which his 6 year old brother likes too. Also enjoys taking our dog onto the beach to throw her ball.

Indoors ... Yes Minecraft and FIFA on the PS. Latest craze is YouTube videos especially those related to football or Minecraft and other computer games. So really Gran is a bit redundant, except for meals and breaking up fights with little brother.

Penstemmon Thu 07-Apr-16 22:25:39

DGD1 who was playing minecraft then moved on to learning Japanese! She downloaded a Teach Yourself Japanese app and learned 3/4 phrases including counting to 10 and tried writing in Japanese script! Crazy girl grin