Device-Free Grandies – is it even possible?

Device-free Grandies – is it even possible

Devices are great – but they can also be addictive. And one of the hardest things a grandparent can face, is the loss of their precious one-on-one time with grandchildren, as devices take over their young ones’ lives.  So, just how can you create device-free time with your grandies – here are some tips that may help.

Step back in time

Be creative by setting aside a day (or part of a day) when you and the grandchildren live in a pre-modern age. Turn off the TV, the stove, and definitely the devices! And if it’s evening, going without lights will be even more fun.  Have some unprocessed foods you can prepare without cooking, and get out the cards and board games. Have some fun ‘fines’ on hand (such as running round the house 3 times, or doing press-ups) for anyone who slips up by stepping outside the chosen era!

Backyard camping

Kids love to camp, even if it’s in the backyard*. Setting up the tent and bedding is a device-free distraction, and you can also create a flame-free fire with sticks, red cellophane, and tee-light candles. Add to the outdoor occasion by introducing campfire games, and cooking over the barbecue. * Always think ‘safety,’ by having an adult camp out with children, even when the tent is close to the house.

Op-shop occupations

Before the grandchildren come to stay, (or better still, when they are with you), head to the op-shop for next-to-nothing art and craft activities, jigsaw puzzles, and board games. Children often turn to their devices simply because they haven’t thought of anything more interesting to do!

Pamper party

Op-shops are also a great source of ‘ingredients’ for a pamper party. Check them out for foot spas, massage devices, nail polish, and unopened face masks and lotions.

Make-over for the ‘oldies’

Get out your makeup and hair products, and challenge the grandies to make you look twenty years younger. Ramp up the hilarity with a photo shoot, and by agreeing to go public with your new look (it can be as simple as a trip to the corner dairy where you and the children buy a little treat).

Practice makes perfect

Children are happy to spend hours perfecting a new activity or magic trick, especially if they know you’re there to watch their achievements as they progress. So, introduce them to learning new skills that take lots of practice to perfect. Juggling is perfect for this, as is ‘ball and cup,’ chatter rings, golf putting, rakau sticks, and learning to play a tune on a simple instrument such as a harmonica. Think ahead, and have on hand the items you need. Head to the library for books on magic tricks.

Exhaust them!

Physical activity is good for everyone, especially children. And if your grandies are more familiar with staring at screens than kicking a ball around or hanging out at the pool, it will soon tire them. When the grandies are at your place, get them out and active as much as possible so they are hungry at mealtimes, and ready for an early night’s sleep (make the bedrooms device-free zones).

You rule the roost

You don’t always need to be the provider of distraction in order to have your grandchildren hop off their devices. Rules are still okay – and if your young ones don’t already know it, it’s time they learned some simple social etiquette. So, keep a basket in the living room where devices are deposited before children come to the table for a meal. Set aside a couple of periods during the day when devices are OK (you can discuss times and time-limits with the grandies so they don’t feel dictated to). And remember – no one is asking you to share your wifi code, or to keep the router switched on. Mobile data doesn’t come cheap – so use this knowledge to your best advantage!

However you do it, help the young people in your life take a break from their devices, so you can all enjoy being together, even more.