Skip to Content

Helping Your Grandkids Learn to Play and Work Together

As grandparents we love being around our grandkids as often as possible. What we don’t like? Fighting, yelling, teasing, and kids being bad sports, right! In this podcast, we talk about how to help your grandkids learn how to play and work together, making everyone much happier.

Another way to listen is to subscribe to one of these services:
Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Disclaimer: Some of our articles may contain affiliate links; when you click on these you can purchase a product or service at no extra cost to you, but doing so provides us some income to run the blog, and we thank you.

Show Notes

07:30 – Teaching collaboration through play

09:50 – Taking turns and sharing

13:23 – Working together to do one job

15:40 – Verbalize the thought process

18:01 – Give the reason before the request

20:10 – Explain the rules

25:16 – Giving choices and learning decision making

30:05 – Bringing it to the work ethic

33:11 – Break the job down into smaller tasks

37:22 – One step, two step directions

40:23 – Reading the instructions

41:57 – Teaching these skills through cooking

45:00 – Problem solving

Worth Mentioning

Here are some great games to share with your grandchildren to learn cooperation and working together strategies.

Join our Community

Grannies Go Digital - join our facebook group.

Full Transcript of Podcast

Corinne  0:00  

Welcome to Modern grandparenting. We are on episode 20. Yay. We are talking this week about helping our grandkids learn to play and work together. Now we all know one of the biggest problems is sibling rivalry and sibling fighting and teasing, and just getting kind of out of control. So what do we do as grandparents? Let’s talk about it. 

Welcome to our weekly podcast, modern grandparenting, where we discuss issues that grandparents must deal with in this changing world, from maintaining the best relationships with both their children and grandchildren, to giving you all kinds of ideas of what to do all year long, and hopefully making memories that will last a lifetime.

Jim  0:51  

Well, hello, everybody. So we are back in the swing of things where you’re getting our weekly podcasts online, and just having a lot of fun with it. It’s been a pretty fun week with AJ as well. He seems to have like, really absorbed all the sun and the energy from our trip to Hawaii. And he’s just making all kinds of developmental progress, leaps and bounds, sometimes actual leaps and bounds.

Corinne  1:22  

Where we really see it is in his speech and how much he’s learning to talk. Now, AJ is almost two, he’s got mid-April as his birthday. And so he’s only got a few more weeks. And at first it seemed like he was gonna be a slow, slow talker. 

Maybe he is, but he’s doing great and he is making his points come across. Oh, problem. It’s just so much fun to see him grow and to learn and practice a word for example, you know, one of the things you always do with little kids is teach body parts. And we were going through his body parts the other day. And Jim says, “elbow” and he gives Jim this blank look like that one where you’re making it up. 

Come on. And so of course, we started teaching him about the elbow, this is my elbow, this is your elbow, this is Grandpa’s elbow. And we did it a couple of times. And he said elbow, perfectly elbow. And now he knows where the elbow is. And you can see how proud of himself he is. 

He loves learning because he knows that there’s something new that he learned. I mean, it’s very cognitive that for me as a prior educator, I don’t know, I just love that. Look, I love that look on a child’s face when you’re teaching them something and they get it.

Jim  2:46  

We call that the “aha” moment. That’s right, and you can see it and it really is an incredible thing to see. It’s so rewarding. Yeah, that’s really, I think, where a lot of the reward for us comes from being grandparents, and hopefully for everybody else, too. 

Corinne  3:01  

I’m sure. I mean, everybody loves to see their children grow. So that brings us to this week’s podcast.

Jim  3:07  

That’s right. So that’s really what we’re talking about today is helping children, helping your grandchildren, to learn to play and work better together – collaboration, cooperation, all that stuff. And not just with other kids, but in the family as well. 

So with you or with their parents, all of that kind of needs to work together to teach your children to become just, you know, have a better work ethic, and become better team players. 

Corinne  3:43  

I guess someone who is contributing to society in the long run, right? I mean, that’s what our goal is, is to grow them up, make them independent, and make them wage earners. And people who want to get by in this life, not just get by, I mean, that’s, that’s wrong, to be successful in life. 

And so we thought about this quite a bit as we were on vacation, just seeing how AJ was going through different developmental tasks and going through things where he wants to share. He wants to take turns but he doesn’t really understand why you have to take turns. 

It really got us thinking, all the different ways and things that we do as parents and grandparents to help our kids reach that point. And I would say that it takes time; time is important. And that’s what as grandparents, that’s what we as grandparents want. 

We want time with our grandchildren. I just think that we need to make that time very mindful and, and sort of, you know, think about ahead of time how we’re going to encourage them to be the best they can be,

Jim  4:56  

I like to use the word intentional. Planning the things that you do, so there’s a certain amount of intent behind what you’re doing. It’s not just wasted time, I think that’s really the key. We’re gonna kind of talk about this in terms of playing, and also in terms of work. 

Then what to do when things go wrong, things aren’t working out as well as they could, among the team members or among the family, when it comes time to when you’re doing these chores, or when you’re playing together.

Corinne  5:31  

We’d like to say that it’s usually kid to kid but that’s not always the case, is it? No, mom and child have a lot of issues together or dad and the child. And you know, if you’re around your grandchildren enough, you’re going to be seeing things that you either don’t like, actions that you don’t like, or behaviors that you find inappropriate. 

So how can you deal with them so that everyone is happy? Because let’s face it again, beat that beat that pole, You want to make everyone happy, not just your grandchildren but yourself as well. That’s right. Older kids as adult parents, new adult parents really don’t want to see you yelling at their child.

Jim  6:15  

Well, you know, I guess it’s a good time to throw in our plug for open communication, which we kind of talked about every time… incessantly. So yeah, of course, everything we’re talking about here should be done with the idea that you do have that open communication, and everybody knows what’s going on. That way everything can be reinforced at home or with you at the grandparents house. No surprises for anybody. That’s the big key.

Corinne  6:47  

Getting back to our own experience with AJ, we were just this morning having dinner. No, this morning, having breakfast with our daughter and her husband, and AJ. Well, AJ didn’t eat anything. 

So I guess he didn’t have breakfast. But anyway, he’s almost two, as we said, and he’s starting to rebel. He’s starting that terrible two phase, where he whines a little bit more than he used to wine. He wants things to be his way, or he’s gonna throw a little tantrum.He’s playing it up. He’s doing his job. That’s he’s right where he’s supposed to be. And we’re all noticing it as well. 

Jim  7:26  

We’ll have a separate podcast on dealing with that. I think that’s a good topic.

Corinne  7:30  

Okay. Don’t you think? Yeah, sure. But this one plays into it, for sure. So one of the things that we want to talk about is playing. I mean, that’s what we do mostly with our grandchildren is play, play, play, play play, right? That’s what I always want to do.

Jim  7:45  

And that’s their major avenue for learning. That it’s appropriate play, the more play the better.

Corinne  7:52  

That’s right. So what do we play with, we read books, we lay blocks, we play very simple games, patty cake, you know, things that really are just him at this point, if there were other kids involved, I think it might be a little easier sometimes. And I also think it might be a little harder. 

Jim  8:13  

Sometimes I wish that we could come up with something that we are really looking at. We have more time now that the pandemic is over, especially where we can find a playdate or another playmate that we can have him join in with some of this stuff. It’s really critical to learn to play with others.

Corinne  8:36  

Being with other kids is very critical for growing children. And unfortunately, AJ is going to be an only child. He’s really the only child with six adults around him. That’s really an only child.

Jim  8:49  

So that means that we have to step in. And as the grandparents, you know that that kind of becomes our rule. If you’re in a similar situation, we have to step in and become the playmate, a child that sits on the floor with him and plays the age appropriate, whatever level they’re at, game. For a lot of people that is something unexpected, that they don’t really think that they have to do it, especially sitting on the floor.

Corinne  9:16  

And I think it’s been worse during this pandemic. A lot of grandparents haven’t even been able to be with their grandchildren at all, and maybe have forgotten how much it takes out of you to get on the floor and play with them. But let me tell you, it makes all the difference in the world. And it’s well worth going through a few aches and pains to get down there and try and get up. 

Jim  9:36  

It’s very rewarding for me. Just playing with him. It’s like you said that’s when you get to see those moments.

Corinne  9:43  

Exactly. So one of the things that always is an issue is taking turns.

Jim  9:49  

And like we’re talking about here. We’re going to talk about what we do with AJ to kind of start to develop these skills, but they go along with others. Kids playing at the same time. 

So one of the things that we do for taking turns is play with blocks. We have those shaped blocks and a little bucket that has a cap on it to put them in. There is a plus shape, a heart shape, a circle shape, hexagon shape, a square shape, all cut out. And then there are three dimensional objects that have that same shape that you have to put in the different holes. 

He’s learning a lot from that. He’s learning shapes. He’s learning colors. He’s learning motor skills. All of that’s really good stuff. Once he starts to learn those things, once the child starts to learn those things individually, then it’s time to start bringing in other players, in this case, myself or you, where now we take turns with different things. 

At first, we were just helping him learn the things. But now it’s my turn to do the circle. Let me put the circle in and I’ll put the circle in. Now it’s your turn, and actually verbalizing the idea that we’re going to take turns doing things. 

You’re going to reach a frustration point, at some point you’ll always do when there’s learning involved. And you know, not pushing too much further from that point. But at least getting to where you’re understanding the concept of, we each have a different time to do things. And we need to let the other person do them. And you just keep working on that skill over and over until it’s learned. And then you add the next step. And I think that works really well.

Corinne  11:42  

I have an example of something that I came across, very unexpectedly. I was looking at some old video of when our kids were little. And we were in Alaska, and we were camping in Denali National Park. And it’s just a funny little video that lasts, I don’t know, a couple minutes. And we sat back Jim and I,  and we had told the kids, they were, I would say nine and 11. They had a friend with him who is also 11. And we had told them they could build the fire. 

Well, if you’ve lived in Alaska, building fires is always something that you’re doing. And especially while you’re camping, so we let them build the fire, which they are pretty adept at. When it comes to lighting the fire, which as you know is, you know, it’s the big part of life making the fire everybody wants to light it. So we told them, here’s the boxing matches, you get one match, and you take turns. 

Hilarious, this video is just so funny. They actually passed the box of matches from child to child with one swipe of a thing. It goes in they try it might it and it took, I don’t know, 10 turns or something. But they did it so well. And I thought to myself, Wow, I don’t remember this. It’s not a memory that I actually recall having until this video. I mean, it obviously happened. We have it on tape. Right. But it’s such a, I think a great example of kids, taking turns and they working together. And they did it well.

Jim  13:09  

You talk about just the act of lighting the fire, but they built the whole fire as a team and collected…

Corinne  13:17  

The firewood and that all the you know, different levels of firewood that they needed.

Jim  13:23  

So that’s really what we’re talking about here today is building that collaborative skill, not just cooperating. But working together to do one task or when one goal or a job in this case, building the fire and then lighting it. And it’s always been a focus of ours as educators. That’s definitely a skill that you’re always trying to bring out in students at any age. And it’s just never too early to start. In fact, the earlier the better.

Corinne  13:53  

I like what Jim said about anything that you’re doing with kids, you have to verbalize what’s going on. I mean, you need to be mindful and say, we’re taking turns. Now it’s AJ’s turn. Now it’s grandpa’s turn. Now it’s grandma’s turn. Now it’s Daddy’s turn. Now. It’s mommy’s turn. 

With that repetition, they get to see that not only is everybody having a great time, because they’re equally involved, but that it’s an expectation. This is what it’s called. And this is a normal thing that we’re going to do. So I think that a lot of times we do things and we don’t verbalize what we’re doing. So sometimes it gets lost or it takes longer to learn because we don’t actually we just show we don’t say and I think they work together.

Jim  14:42  

They definitely do. Showing while saying and modeling, I think are super critical skills when it comes to this. So not just when you’re doing things with the child, but when you’re doing things with it with each other and the child’s there but not part of it. Still verbalizing these things, and practicing the same skills together within the family or with the group that happens to be there. Always remember that children are always absorbing, they’re always observing, even when it seems like they’re not. And everything that you do to reinforce these skills is always going to pay off.

Corinne  15:21  

And one thing I’ve noticed about AJ and talking about talking, is letting him know ahead of time, what’s going to happen. So, as we all know, kids really love routine, adults really love routine. Everybody loves a routine, and we all get a little bit cranky when our routine is disrupted.

We also get a little bit cranky when we have to stop doing something we want to do. If I’m reading a book, and I have to go cook dinner, I might not be the nicest person. I want to read my book. We know we have to do it as adults, and we just sort of get up and we do it, but kids will kvetch and complain and you know, maybe whine or throw tantrums, depending on how old they are, and slam off or what have you.

So it’s important to always verbalize what we’re doing. It’s time to do it, and we do. Just talking all the time, and explaining what you’re doing is so important to kids. I think it’s a huge change from when I was growing up. 

My parents said get in the car, I got in the car, right? I didn’t ask where we were going. I didn’t ask,  if we could stop at McDonald’s? Oh, no, you were told to get in the car. You get in the car. Why? Because I said so. 

If you did ask a question. That would be the answer you would get? It’s important to just go about your business and explain what you’re doing in all walks of life. Whatever you’re doing washing the dishes, well, now I have to rinse my dishes. And now I’m going to put them on the drain or to dry or I’m going to put them in the dishwasher. And now I’m going to empty the dishwasher. 

Okay, so normally, you would do that to yourself, and you wouldn’t verbalize it. But if your grandchildren are around, you know, verbalize it, even if they’re a little bit older and it’s not something we’re used to. It’s still important for them to not only see that you’re doing these things, but that you’re doing them purposefully. And it’s an expectation and you don’t mind doing it because it’s what you have to do.

Jim  17:42  

Yeah, so you’re helping them understand the reasons why you’re doing the things you do. So that’s one of the things I came across when I was doing the research for this podcast. One of the tips that someone was giving out was to give the reason before the demand or the request. 

Instead of saying, now it’s time to put our toys away and clean up, instead of approaching it that way, say, Okay, well, if all these toys are left on the floor, someone’s going to step on them at night and fall down and get hurt. 

I think it’s time to put them away so that we can start getting ready for dinner. Instead, I mean, it’s a small thing. But instead of stopping what you’re doing and saying now, we need to do this, you’re kind of working in the transition of why something’s going to change, what’s the reason for it, and then how it’s going to change and what needs to be done. So that you’re kind of preparing the child for it. They start to reason themselves about why things need to be done.

Corinne  18:49  

And you can see them doing this. Even at a young age, they’ll shake their head when they’re doing something. I’ve seen this happen many, many times when, for example, we have a friend who had a baby with long before AJ was born, nine years or so ago.

 And we were so close to this little family. As the baby was growing, she of course wanted to put her fingers in the sockets, or bang on the door jamb or whatever, it was very age-appropriate. 

AJ did the same thing. We would always say, it’s not not for the baby. It’s not for the baby. That’s not for the baby. And we would shake our heads. One time I saw her go up to a socket with her finger out, shake her head and do something else. 

She wasn’t talking; she wasn’t even walking. It just sort of reinforced to me that it’s so important to really verbalize what you’re saying to a child and to be consistent. 

And like Jim said, telling the why is definitely important as well. We all know that if we’re told something, we’re not necessarily going to accept it until we get the reasons why. Take this pandemic and vaccinations as an example. We know that’s what people need to know, not only why it’s important to do so, but everything that we can to tell them about it so that they are convinced about the importance of something well.

Jim  20:19  

At some age levels, giving a demand is an automatic is going to, is going to incur an automatic response of maybe not rebellion is the right word, but resistance. Essentially, like teenagers. Actually preteens and teenagers it’s really an important thing to do with them – to present a reason before you make the request or the demand. 

Corinne  20:49  

I have an example about rules. I’m a rule follower. And I don’t agree with every rule. But I definitely am a rule follower. And I am such a rule follower that you can ask Jim, I get very upset, very agitated, very anxious, if a rule is starting to not be upheld, because they’re there for our safety, usually. 

I don’t know, I’m just a rule follower. I’m one of those goody two shoes type people. So I was teaching a school class one time. And the rule at the school, which was in northern Japan, where there’s always heavy snow, the kids had to wear their jackets out on the playground during the winter. 

That makes sense. But you know, as I do that, kids get hot, run around, they’re playing, especially towards those warm days of winter, where the sun is really shining. It feels a lot warmer out there, the teacher says, but it’s not really cold, but it’s still technically winter, and they still technically had to wear their winter coats. 

I had a few kids come in from recess, and they were all upset. I asked him what the problem was. And they said, Well, we took our coats off, because it was so warm, and it was windy that day. The sun was shining bright. It was I mean, it was probably 45 degrees, okay, maybe that’s not warm enough to just stand out and do nothing in the sun in the winter. But for kids running around and playing basketball and stuff, it was warm. So they took their coats off, even though they knew they were breaking the rules, they got in trouble. And they had to stand against the wall, which was the punishment. So they were very upset. They didn’t get to play basketball any longer. 

So I said, well, you know, it’s a rule. Why is it a rule? We get to talking about rules and how to change them and do it correctly so that you don’t get in trouble. We had quite a discussion about it, it got to the point where they had some really good input about why they can make their own decision whether or not they should be able to take their coat off when they want to take it off. I said, if you want to, I will call the principal up here. And you can present this to him. 

So I called him up. The principal was very good. He comes up and he sits down and I tell him what he’s getting himself into. And they start to present their case. And I guess they talked with the principal for about 15 minutes, I didn’t interject at all because they already had their stuff together. 

Upon leaving the principal made a new rule that sixth graders, this was a sixth grade class, and sixth graders only could make the determination whether or not they needed to wear their coat while they were outside. And so they changed the rule. And to me, this is something that I think is so important, because I feel and you can agree with me or disagree with me that so many people are just anti-establishment to the point where rules are ridiculous. And no matter what this rule is, it’s just crazy. And I don’t need to follow it.

Jim  23:58  

And not in not just the way you’re talking about is rebelling against it, but not doing anything about it other than deciding not to follow it complaining and not following. So you turned that around and turned it into a collaboration session where they had to figure out why the rule should be changed and how to change it. And what are the goals? they’re working together, which was to change that. So that’s really a great example.

Corinne  24:30  

Well, I think that in teaching, sometimes you have excellent lessons that have nothing to do with the curriculum, and that would be one example of it.

Jim  24:38  

That’s right. Well, because like I said, part of our job as a parent, grandparent or educator, adult, is to teach the younger generations, the children to be team players and to work together.

Corinne  24:53  

But also to understand why and if you are following steps are directions and they’re wrong, which we’ve all found to be wrong, that we annotate it, or we change it, or we, and we tell other people about it, and how to handle that as well. Yeah, just how to be a very contributing part of our society. 

Okay, so one of the ways that I think you get there is to give choices. So I have lots of stories about giving choices as well. Yeah. I think giving choices is so important for children. Raising two daughters, I never seem to have any problem with him making decisions. But I’ve run into so many people that cannot make a decision. I find it perplexing.

Jim  25:46  

Yeah, it’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? It all starts with giving children choices. Now, you can’t go crazy. You can’t give them like, for instance, choices for breakfast, you can’t give them 10 different things to choose from. And at the same time, you need to be prepared to honor the choice that you’re offering. So start small with these younger children, of course, give them a choice between this or that. Maybe if you’re talking about play, do you want to play with your truck now? Or do you want to play with the game cards right now, and then honor that choice. But you’re starting to build up that whole independent decision making process. And that’s really key.

Corinne  26:34  

As you’re doing that, of course, it starts with giving a choice of this or that. And then you move up to three and four, and even more, and eventually, maybe there is a choice of 10 things. For example, when you go out to breakfast, the child is reading on the menu. Even if it’s on the kids menu, there’s probably going to be five or six choices. So that’s a lot of choices for someone to make. on their own. They need to be ready for that. 

When I was a kid, if we did go to McDonald’s, my parents would say you have a choice, you can either have a shake or fries. So we always would get a burger that was given, right. But then as a sandwich, whatever the sandwich of some sort, but whatever was to go with it, it would either be a shake, or fries. But we knew this going into it. We always knew what we were going to get before we got there. Which of course, when you have a family of seven is important to your parents, so they don’t get annoyed at the drive thru. 

It’s just important that people can start to break down choices. And when things get harder and harder to look at, you know, what’s good about it, what’s bad about it. And Jim and I, and my parents did this when I was younger. So that’s how I learned to do it. I assumed Jim’s family would do the same type of thing if we would sit at the kitchen table, whether it was dinner or whatever. And we would talk out all our problems or big choices. 

We would just talk it out for as long as it took to figure out how much time it took to to solve this problem, whether it was moving to a new place or taking a job. I can’t even think of all the things we discussed, there’s tons of stuff. Daily, there was something, and we never sheltered our kids from that. We modeled that decision making process. And as grandparents, I don’t think you’re going to have as much of that while your grandkids are present, unless you have them on a daily basis.

Jim  29:03  

But you will still have the opportunities.

Corinne  29:05  

I definitely think you’ll still have opportunities. For example, our last podcast was about traveling with your grandchildren. And this is an exceptional example of getting them involved giving them choices. Look, we want to go to Zuma. Excuse me, Yuma, Arizona. What do you want to do while we’re there? Do you want to stay in the pool? Do you want to go horseback riding? Do you want to go and find some saguaro cactus? What do you want to do?

Jim  29:31  

Yeah, do the research. So that you understand what the choices are. Make sure you understand what you’re offering when you make the choice so that you can honor it. Limit it so it’s not too crazy and too difficult to choose and then present it to the child and let them make their choice after they understand what the choices are and then honor it and just have to go with it. 

Now. Okay, so here’s a funny thing that’s happened with AJ. We’ve started giving him choices for things as he has started to verbalize the choosing process with a sound. Um, and it’s probably because he heard one of us say, when we were given a choice, we said, I think I’d like this one. So that’s his verbalization for choosing time, is he’ll say, um, and then he’ll look at those choices, and then he’ll choose one. 

Well, it’s turned into a little game that he plays now. Yeah, he’s made up this game, and we all  it. And it’s not really a choosing thing. It’s just more of playing with sounds and words that he’s learning. So his favorite one has to do with objects of transportation, because he knows a lot of words for transportation.

Corinne  30:49  

This is how it goes. If I’m playing with AJ, I say, airplane. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then I’ll say hotel. And he’ll just pause, so I have to keep going and say, helicopter. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim  31:11  

It’s funny, and he’s actually started playing it with himself. He’ll be in the backseat, for instance, and say airplane, and then he won’t want someone to join. Anyway, it’s a lot of fun. And you can see him making those decisions just within his head. I mean, it’s very cool. So we like to give him choices. Like I said, two or three things, he’s still very young. And you can’t really say, the older the child gets, the more choices they’re going to get on something. Because it’s not always the case. Really, it’s the complexity of the choices.

Corinne  31:50  

That’s right. Well, all this works into having a good time while you’re playing, hopefully not fighting or saying somebody took my turn or what have you. But then it automatically sort of transitions to how that applies to work, right? Whether that’s chores around the house, or whether that’s getting a part time job as a teenager starts to spread their wings, or picking a college and working alone on their homework to you know, going off into the real world. And hopefully, his grandparents will get to see this transition and how it plays out and, and be very proud of our grandchildren as they grow up. But we still do chores, we do chores with AJ every day,

Jim  32:38  

He helps. And we give him his own little chores to do, or, more, more likely, at this age, what we’re doing is giving him a small task from the chore. So for instance, with laundry, he’s not doing the laundry, of course, but he’ll help carry things or his job is to pick up the things that fall on the floor, when we’re going from the washer to the dryer, or another one of his parts of the laundry job is to put the dryer sheet into the dryer. 

So the switching of the job is how you’re going to start out early on. This is the case, if it’s an older child that hasn’t been doing these things and hasn’t been doing chores on their own. This is how you can start to build that into their world is to give them smaller tasks of a larger thing. And that really is good. 

Now be aware that this is a learning process. They’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to make messes, even though the job might be cleaning up, you might find that they’re making more mess cleaning than they’re actually cleaning. That’s okay. They’re learning. You know, maybe the first 10 times that he helped with the laundry more laundry ended up on the floor after being folded than actually ended up on the stack.

Corinne  34:06  

The same with using the broom and dustpan. He wanted to do it so badly, but let me tell you whether it’s gross motor skills or what have you. It’s just a hard thing to do. And so we end up sweeping the same little pile of dust, I think at least five times. And finally you kind of take it over and tell him what a great job he’s done helping you and move on. But we did have to spend some time doing it because he really wants to help.

Jim  34:33  

Keep repeating that process every time you do it with him so that he gets better at it and better and better at it. And eventually the child will know how to do the laundry and fold the clothes and put him another. They have to do them every time but you know at some age that at some point they’re going to grow up and move out of the house and they’re going to need to know how to do their own laundry.

Corinne  34:55  

And even if your children are bringing their kids out, we only say once a week for dinner, for example, which we also do with our kids. It’s important for the grandchild to know that they’re a part of the family, and then they need to help out with the dinner. 

In our case, we invite them over, usually on a Monday, because going back to work, and mom’s been teaching all day and dad’s working on the computer all day. It’s just drudgery day. So Jim and I are already home and having a chance to cook dinner. We’ll cook dinner for the kids and AJ. And so he’ll come and we haven’t, we’ve got dinner mostly ready. But we haven’t set the table. And we haven’t, of course, cleared the table or anything like that. 

All those little tasks we do together as the family, we give him the plates to bring to the table, and someone will grab them from him and spread them out or whatever, just little tiny step by step chores that everybody’s involved in, so that he sees a number of things, he sees that he’s part of it. He sees that everybody’s part of it. And he sees that this is an expectation that just because grandma and grandpa are making dinner, doesn’t mean that they’re gonna sit there and you know, you’re gonna walk in, sit down, eat, leave. Oh, no, no, no, no, that is not what the expectation is.

Jim  36:19  

In all those things we talked about earlier with play, like you said, they are part of this too. So explaining why things are happening. Maybe giving choices to which part of the task, he’s going to do all of that. And of course, taking turns for different things. So it all works together. So even though we talked a lot about play, of course, it’s all those things, meld right into working together as well. And, and so you’re also going to be working with how you’re giving directions and how much direction you’re giving, like right now, AJ is probably pretty able to follow it to step direction. Almost every time.

Corinne  37:03  

He does it if he wants to.

Jim  37:07  

And maybe that maybe that desire to do things will change, as he’s progressing through his, quote unquote, terrible twos. Well, I’m even older, understandable, and that’s part of the process going in. But yeah, he’s able to do a two step and even a three step direction now. But it started with one step, holding these plates, for me, might be how we started. And then once he got good at holding the plates, hold these plates and take them to grandma. And pretty soon it’s going to hold the plates, take the grandma, and then come back for the forks. 

But you have to work on those little by little, little by little, and just be ready for it and understand that the very beginning he might drop the plates, so they should not be the ones that are gonna break. Don’t use your good china. There’s going to be more time that you’re going to need. Sometimes it might seem like more work than what’s being accomplished. But it’s the process that you’re working towards. It’s the end goal that you’re working towards. That’s really important.

Corinne  38:16  

And I think it’s amazing that as they grow up, and they understand that they’re part of this process that they can then start to take over a little part of the job. I think all parents are extremely excited when their kids do things A. without asking, or B. that you just don’t want to do. 

I think a lot of times you see it when teenagers get their car, they’re willing to go on those little errands to go buy milk, they’re willing to go do all kinds of stuff. That’s right. I can’t tell you how happy I was to hand that job over to my teenagers. And let them, I mean, I would give them a list and they would do all the grocery shopping. They wanted to, they wanted to that was well, I mean, think about it, what kid doesn’t want to do the grocery shopping. So an extra bag of chips got thrown in there, who cares? It was well worth it.

Jim  39:08  

But at the same time, we’ve always kind of followed this process of growing up children and students to be independent, as collaborative independent, and to understand, you know, what they’re doing and why they’re a part of something bigger. If you don’t do that intentionally, it’s not. It’s not a skill that children have that people have. It has to be learned.

Corinne  39:35  

And is that something that always happens at school? 

Jim  39:39  

That’s why we’re talking about this as grandparents, right?

Corinne  39:43  

Teachers have so much on their plate as it is. And on top of that they’re dealing with Well, let’s not even talk about the pandemic but they’re dealing with behaviors. And they’re dealing with people with different abilities and they’re dealing with just so many things when You add, you know, 20 kids or 30 kids into a classroom, you don’t have time to always be teaching them manners. 

And I mean, they do, don’t get me wrong, it’s worked into so many different things. But at the same time, this is something that grandparents and parents can really step up.

Jim  40:30  

I’ve always seen this as our job. And if it gets reinforced at school, that’s great. But as teachers, we know that a lot of times that is turned around, and the expectation is that it is being taught at school and not at home.

Corinne  40:47  

One thing I want to talk about is reading instructions. I mean, think to yourself, Are you a person who reads instructions before you build that IKEA furniture? Or are you someone who just wings it?

Jim  40:58  

And then gets halfway through and realizes that something’s gone wrong?

Corinne  41:03  

One thing that we’ve been really trying to enforce is reading instructions. And so we got two couches, we just moved into this new house, and one of the things we did was have a more formal living room, we have space for that. 

So we bought two, matching couches, and we had to put them together because it was during the pandemic, and they were delivered by truck. Well, of course, AJ was with us. And the first thing he does, oh, my gosh, I was so proud of him was to grab the instructions, sit down and look at them. 

Obviously, we had done that enough already to make the point that when one of the first things you do is grab that little booklet and read it. Of course he can’t read. Of course, he had no idea what he was doing. He wasn’t really helping that much to build the couches, but he felt like he was part of the team. Exactly. And he couldn’t have been happier.

 Reading the instructions kind of goes along with explaining why things have to happen the way they have to happen. And if you have instructions, there you go, you got the start right there. So that’s good. So if you cook, I mean, you have to follow instruction by instruction by instruction. 

Jim  42:15  

We do that when I cook with him, which I like to do quite a bit. And I think that cooking is a great way to teach these skills. So if you can’t sit on the floor, which a lot of us older people can’t, you know, get cooking towers that your grandchild can stand next to you and cook with you. 

The first thing we do, if it’s a new recipe, is we pull out the cookbook, and we look at the recipe and he knows that we’ve got to find all the ingredients first, and we got to get them all together. Now, while I’m getting ingredients and putting them there, he’s oftentimes given the task of separating things, or maybe carrying an ingredient from here to the table. 

A lot of times those ingredients end up on the floor and we had to clean but you know, I know that that’s going to happen. That doesn’t mean that he’s not going to have a task. Because eventually he doesn’t, he gets to the point where he’s not dropping things, he’s not spilling things. 

The other day we were cooking together. And instead of having them do what I’m doing, I gave him a separate bowl, some flour and a little container of water. And he was just making his own little batter with a whisk. And until the very end, the cleanup time never dropped out of the bowl. Because we’ve been working on all of these skills individually as smaller tasks. And pretty soon, you know, I think around four or five years old, he’s gonna be making pancakes for us in the morning. Mm hmm.

Corinne  43:49  

I have a friend, another teacher, who always does a video call with one of her prior students, one of our prior students, and every week, they email each other and they say they’re gonna make X and they share the recipe.Whoever’s picking the recipe, and they both go out and get the ingredients. And then on a video call every week they cook together. 

I just think it’s such a wonderful bridge of generations even though they’re not related. The way they knew each other is because of their teachers and students and yet the things that they’re learning to work together. All the things that they have to do to prepare for it. They’ve got the preparation down, they’ve got the buy-in of ingredients down, then they cook together and then they have this product. I mean, I just what, what a great example of teaching kids how important they are to the process.

Jim  44:52  

Okay, so what about when things go awry, which will happen problem solving. You know they’re going to get frustrated?

Corinne  45:01  

Well, and their problems grow with the child. So, yes, at first, it’s just I don’t want to get my diaper changed, because I don’t have time for that. But it just snowballs. And, you know, I don’t want to do this or I can’t do that,  and maybe there’s backtracking involved. Or maybe there’s all these things that go into discipline and problem solving that are sort of intertwined. But hopefully, by doing it little by little, and working on some of these things, during play, and other chores, that problem solving becomes a little bit easier to deal with.

Jim  45:38  

Problem solving involves a lot of those skills breaking, breaking the problem down into its component parts, so that the child actually understands, you know, what really is the problem? If, say, two children are having trouble playing a game together, and it’s always ending up as a fight, you know, helping them to understand, well, where does the conflict begin? And what causes it is because you’re not sharing properly, or maybe they don’t understand the rules well enough. 

Depending on their age, they may be able to articulate that they may be able to verbalize, you know what’s going wrong, but they also might not, and they may have difficulty, breaking it down to where the problem actually started. So that’s your role is to talk through it. And to explain, you know, what the different things are, and help them to come to that idea of, you know, where do things go wrong?

Corinne  46:40  

I think, you know, getting up on my soapbox, it all boils down to communication. Communication is really the key to success in just about everything. And I think teaching kids to work with you to work together with others to play and really enjoy the fact that they can play ball with whomever is, is out there is such an important skill and such an important part of growing up. 

I think that we should feel honored as grandparents to be part of that. And I think this is maybe an exception to always telling your children exactly what you’re doing. This is where being a role model is not just for the grandchildren, but also maybe for the children as well. 

If you’re the type of grandparent who explains things, and then explains them again, and then explains it again, and just constantly kind of repeating so that your child sees you doing that. And maybe they’ll do that more or maybe they were good at it to begin with. I’m not saying they weren’t. I’m just saying that. I think it’s imperative to be mindful of both generations so that you’re still raising your adult children, in essence, as well.

Jim  48:06  

We’ve talked about this before, you as a grandparent can’t really tell your child how to parent for a lot of different reasons. You can model what you’re doing and let them see that and whether they choose to do it or not is up to them, but they’re at least going to see it happening. So that’s a really good point. Well, we’ve, I think we’ve done a really good job of covering ways that you can work with your grandchild to become more collaborative, more cooperative, team player, learning to play together and learning to work together. Hopefully, this has given you some good ideas that you can bring into your own lives. And just really,

Corinne  48:50  

And the cat says it’s time for me to eat. We really enjoy talking to you. And we hope that you will check out our website Grammys go digital, maybe join our private Facebook group and be part of the conversation and tell us what you think. We’ll be doing some lives there to start really opening up conversations with everyone. And we’d love for you to be part of it.

Jim  49:15  

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any episodes. You know, thank you for listening. We really enjoy having everybody be part of this community.

Corinne  49:26  

Absolutely. We’re all learning together. Have a

Jim  49:28  

wonderful week.

Transcribed by