Holiday visits with grandparents who live in a condominium
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
Many grandparents living in condominiums and apartments in warm climates look forward to their grown children and grandchildren visiting them over the holidays. In fact, many grandparents buy a unit with a second or third bedroom in anticipation of these visits.
However, many young parents think twice about these visits because some of the other residents make it known that they don’t appreciate having other residents’ grandchildren around. They show their disapproval with stony looks and meant-to-be overheard comments, e.g., “Must be school vacation time. That takes care of our peace and quiet.” More than one young parent has thought about staying in a local hotel, or not visiting at all — actions that deprive the grandparents of special time living with their grandchildren and fussing over them.
Three suggestions to make these intergenerational visits more enjoyable:
Align with other grandparents
Many condominiums come with a ready-made support group for grandparents.
For example, according to the 2010 US Census, in many counties in Flordia, the 65+ population comprises 20%. This statistic can work to advantage because it means that there are lots of other grandparents around who also want their grandchildren to visit. Get to know these other grandparents, chat with them, learn the names of their grandchildren and arrange for your grandchildren to play with them. A large group of grandparents and grandchildren socializing together in common areas like the pool or beach can intimidate even the grumpiest of the grumpy ones into silence!
Get out in front of potential problems. For example, if there is a group of people in the pool taking a water aerobics class or just “bobbing” together, approach them and let them know that your grandchildren would like to use the other end of the pool and that you just want to make sure the children won’t be bothering them. Then every now and then, circle back to the adults to make sure your grandkids aren’t disturbing them. This show of respect for them can go a long way, especially when one of the grumpy ones begins to complain about your kids. Typically, someone will say something like, “Oh, I have grandchildren! Don’t worry about it. They’re fine.”
Teach lobby manners
Teaching this simple phrase, “I want to see lobby manners, please,” when the grandchildren are young can short-circuit all kinds of situations in condominium or apartment living. The kids know the phrases means, for example, no racing in the lobby or hallways, no shouting or roughhousing, no pushing all the buttons in the elevator.
These three suggestions can help make it possible for the grandchildren visiting their grandparents in their condos and apartments to have fun together while at the same time being respectful of the other residents.
Read more from Gramma Karen here
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – KAREN RANCOURT, Ph.D.
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes an advice column for parents and grandparents at Mommybites.com and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts.