Every grandparent will tell you all about their grandchildren. They’ll tell you how they are their pride and joy as well as how much they LOVE spending time with them. However, what they won’t tell you is how hard it can be to keep up with the grandchildren and deal with the aches and pains once they’ve left. It doesn’t matter if you are the fittest grandparent in the Midwest; lifting and carrying the grandkids or crawling around playing hide and seek can do a number on your neck, knees and back.
So how can you stay pain-free around the grandkids? Here are a few things to keep in mind next time the they come for a visit:
We already know regular exercise is good for us, but now there’s even more incentive. Staying active when the grandchildren aren’t around will keep your joints lubricated and your muscles strong, making it easier to get on and off the floor and decreasing the soreness factor after the visit. Remember – you’ve got to use it or you’ll lose it!
When you’re doing things you don’t normally do – like playing catch or shooting hoops – you typically aren’t thinking about how many times you’ve thrown the ball or the number of lay ups you’ve shot. The repetitive motion is what can cause torn rotator cuffs or Achilles tendinitis. It can be hard to say no when those puppy dog eyes beg to keep playing, but it’s important to listen to your body and stop or take a break when you are tired.
Whether it’s lifting the grandchildren on and off the potty, or carrying their squirmy little bodies out of a store when they’re in meltdown mode – lifting the extra weight in compromising positions can wreak havoc on the back. Make sure you get a full demo from your kids regarding the strollers and carriers so you know how to use them properly and then do just that – USE THEM instead of your back! Remember to employ good lifting techniques when you must lift or carry the grandchildren – feet shoulder width apart or more, bend at the knees (not waist) and keep the child close to your body so there is less strain on your back. Encourage them to be as independent as possible by having them walk on their own and utilize a step stool to get into the car seat or high chair.
For all of those moments in which your body is saying “enough!” – take a break by engaging in a creative activity that focuses on stimulating the mind. Here are a few interesting ideas to get you started:
Every snowflake is unique and you can prove it to your grandchildren by growing your own ice crystals together. You don’t even need snow, just some Borax, scissors, string and a pencil. Click here for instructions.
Melting and cooling chocolate is not really an art form – it’s actually science. Create treats for everyone as you uncover the science of the “tempering” process. Click here for instructions.
Energy and how it’s derived is a great conversation, but an even better conversation is the story of how you created your own battery power using a lemon, a dime and a penny. Click here for instructions.
Fog is always pretty mystifying even if it is just a cloud closer to the ground. Have fun generating your own fog with hot water, rubbing alcohol, an ice cube and a bottle. Click here for instructions.
Activities found atwww.aarp.org
Research & Community Education