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Activities for Grandparents & Grandkids

Aside from an effort way back to unite grandbaby-grandparent pairs with other like pairs, does anyone have suggestions for helping a grandma and her grandchild make some meaningful connections? Julie emails:

I have an amazing mother-in-law who takes care of my 14-month old full-time. My in-laws are relatively new to the area, having moved to Portland my son was born and are still getting settled in. Does anyone have any recommendations for play groups or activities that would be fun for my son and also provide a social outlet for grandma?

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I dont have any comments but I am interested in this post and what others may have to say. My sons Grandfather will be moving out here and taking care of my son after school this fall. He is new to the area and this will be a new job so to speak, to provide after care.

I would love hear more about what is out there for involved Grandparents. I have met a Grandma at the playground who is raising her granddaughter. It sounded like she might not have much of a community and is a bit surprised doing this the 2nd time around.

I'd love to hear others thoughts on this.

The SW Community Center (and others I'm sure) have holiday related parent/child classes. Singing classes, dancing, cooking classes. They offer anything from 6 week long classes where you go once a week to one time events; for instance I am taking my 19 mo. old to a St. Patty's day cooking class in a few Saturdays. It's basically a cookie decorating opportunity.
I know that 14 mo. is a little young for those types of things but the times goes by fast and before you know it they'll be 18 mo.
And in the meantime you can utilize the Centers for their indoor playpark. That is great for the kids and its a room full of (for the most part) stay at home moms, dads and other caregivers.
Tell your in-laws to just have fun! Portland is a GREAT place to be in their position!

I second the indoor playpark suggestion. They are all over town and I often see grandparents at them - you can also start the child there young. I have met a lot of people at them and there are somne that have "regulars" so you get into a rhythm with people. The one at Northminster Church is like that.

I've taken our daughter to library storytimes all over the city and I always see grandparents there! When we finally found the one storytime that fit our schedule and ended up going there weekly, there were 3-4 sets of grandparents that would be there regularly as well. It became clear as the weeks went by that those grandparents were starting to socialize together outside of the library.

Perhaps this is a subject for another thread, but on a related note ... does anyone else financially compensate their grandparent-nannies? We do, but I am really trying to find some good advice for the BEST way to direct these funds. We love keeping the $ within the family and our grandma-nanny (my mom) *really* needs the income - but I wonder if we're maximizing the tax situations on both sides - should we use a flex spending account for our own benefit? contribute directly to a retirement investment for her benefit? Can those two things work together? Is it better to just keep it off the books? Any other thoughts on how this arrangement can benefit the whole family money-wise?

Otherwise, I'll be following this thread closely, as I know that my mom feels a bit isolated at times, since her "profession" doesn't allow her much chance of meeting people in her age group or building a network.

Hi Amy,
We financially compensate my mom for taking care of our children during the week. Like you, we like keeping the funds in the family, and my mom also *really* needs the income to supplement her retirement. In our situation, we rent a house for my mom to live in. I, too, initially thought about a flex spending account, but I believe that she would have to provide us receipts, get a tax ID number, etc. Although our current arrangement isn't tax advantageous for either of us, the peace of mind we have knowing that our children are with her during the day, and knowing that she has a beautiful house to live in, is good enough. I would be interested in hearing how other UMs handle this arrangement though. On another note, is anyone still interested in putting together a playgroup for nanny-grandparents and their grandchildren?

My dear mother in law moved to pdx after her retirement to be close to us and her only grandkid (our 18 onth old son). The fact that she helps taking care of our son was allowed me to go to work at least part time. I know my son is in the best possible hands when he is with her, but I also know that she feels lonely since this is not her city and all her friends are back in her hometown. I would be MORE that glad to hear about the nanny-grandparents-grandchildren playgroup...

@S - you know, I didn't quite realize how disconnected (without community?) I have felt around the "we compensate our mom to watch our child" issue. There is so much concern, long term decisions to make, etc, wrapped up in it - in our case, this is a fortunate thing that has risen from an unfortunate circumstance. So ... Thank you for writing! And I have often wondered if it wouldn't do my mom a lot of good to connect with others in a similar situation - back to raising babies (albeit her own adored grandchildren) in her late 50s, needing the income, etc. - so if you think your mom would be interested in getting together with her, let me know!

And, we'd be interested in a grandparents-grandbabies group, especially in SE PDX. Not sure how to start such a thing!

Hi Amy,
It would be great to get our moms together. I, too, think that it would be really helpful for my mom to connect with others similarly situated. If my e-mail address doesn't post with this comment, please let me know the best way for us to get in contact.
Thanks!

i am definitely interested in organizing a grandparents-grandbabies playgroup, on behalf of my very fun (yet slightly lonely) mother has been here for almost 2 years and has still not found her people! she is with my 2 year old from 8-1:00 every day and we live in the NE.
so how should i go about doing this? if that time frame sounds good, please email me at rhapsody1110@hotmail.com and i will get back to you with a date, time, and location. sound good?
thanks! megan

I notice all these posters are for infants. My dad is moving here and will take care of my son after school 3-6. At that age do events just naturally evolve from school activities? My dad has never lived close or taken care of my son. So this is a new topic for us. My son is 5 and I was wondering most of the posts were for infants or toddlers. Any school age kiddo/grandparent pairs out there?

@S - you can contact me at ermsmails@yahoo.com - I wonder how our moms will feel about their daughters "setting them up" (-: Also, I contacted Megan from the above comment, to see about getting a group together ...

I am so glad we are setting something up for our parents-mother/fathers in law-caregivers. What I am undestanding so far is that there is a common interest to come together this monday, march 3rd at the indoor park at peninsula. All are welcome to attend!

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