to find grandparents visits increasingly difficult

(75 Posts)
kalms1971 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:52:01

Our son is 7. He has enjoyed playing with friends all summer. Now he has a bit more freedom we are finding it hard to manage him when we visit grandparents and when they visit our house. At their house he gets frustrated and to be honest, bored. If they come to our house he just wants to be in the garden or out with his friends (they are allowed to play in front of our house) He doesn't want to play on the floor with toys in the living room anymore. He isn't allowed in their garden and when they visit our house they just sit on the settee for 2 hours. Help! same problem every weekend

cushtie335 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:55:10

I've just had a horrible flash back to the 1970s at my Granny's house every fecking Sunday, bored stiff and desperate to go home and play in my garden.

Why can't he go outside in their garden? Only thing I can suggest is taking board games or a pack of cards and give him some adult interaction.

countingdown Fri 06-Sep-13 15:55:37

Why isn't he allowed in the garden?

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:55:43

Why can't he play outside when they visit? It's their responsibility to make their visits enjoyable for him, not his. If all they want to do is sit on the sofa they can't expect him to remain on show for two hours, surely?

Why isn't he allowed in their garden? Unless there's some strong reason, why do you visit if they aren't going to make him welcome?

BlingBang Fri 06-Sep-13 15:57:58

When they come is there a nearby park or somewhere where you could all go to, one with a cafe etc.

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:59:25

"Only thing I can suggest is taking board games or a pack of cards and give him some adult interaction."

Or not going.

As I've said on another thread, I'm entirely resistant to this idea that there's something magical about grandparents which mean that bad relationships which upset children should be maintained. If the grandparents want to see their grandchild, they should make sure he's welcomed and treated appropriately. If the grandparents want to see their child, they need to accept that grandchildren (of 7, at least) are part of the deal, and they need to deal with that. If they want to pretend it's the drawing room of a middle-class family circa 1870 (which is odd, given that grandparents of a 7 year old are probably boomers brought up on the Beatles) then fine, but they can do it on their own.

When they visit, within reason, they fit in with the household routine. If they were visiting once a year from Australia, then it's different, but a weekly visit doesn't require a 7 year old to be corralled. And if they aren't welcoming, there's nothing forcing the OP to visit them at all. Relationships are two-way streets.

I would cut back on the visits a bit, does he have a handheld game thing, if so take that and let him play on it or an ipad, not ideal but they still het to 'see' him and he is happy. At home let him carry on with his life at normal, as long as he spends a bit of time talking to them I don't see the problem. My children never really enjoyed visting my nan, their great grandmother, bt I didn't hurt them to have to go once ever few months and made her happy, as long as they were there, she didn't mind if they sat reading their books or played outside.

kalms1971 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:03:11

No they say its too cold, or one of them has an ailment (but they manage daytrips) done the board games thing to death now. We have asked then to come here tomorrow. At least he can go outside or play on the tablet. Whe he plays outside they are annoyed and ask him "don't you want to see us?" he just gets bored and wiggly and that's the end of it. The small talk bores me too tbh

BackforGood Fri 06-Sep-13 16:07:11

Why not invite them over for tea on a weekday - then everyone gets to see each other regularly. Everyone can chat over the meal, but there's a kind of 'limited time' to it, and obviously he will need to get ready for bed / practice his reading, or whatever, which they can help with, but he's not missing out on playing with friends as he'd be eating tea / doing his reading / getting ready for bed anyway.

Refoca Fri 06-Sep-13 16:08:05

You could all do a craft/ activity...any old fascinatination with airfix, mechano, sewing, crocheting, baking or similar they could pass on to DS?

Refoca Fri 06-Sep-13 16:10:34

Even better, take it in gets small talk, the other gets fun activity, then swap half time or next time...sitting down and spending quality time, and different experiences to discuss when they get back home. Win win! (She says, naively with a much younger DS...)

Loa Fri 06-Sep-13 16:11:04

I was going to suggest a hand held game thing -

When I was young my Granddad took us for a walk or played board games or got toys out. It all abruptly stopped around 8-9 - despite me having a younger sibling.

Then on it was 2 hours plus sat listening to the small talk, that used to bore my own parents, rigid every weekend followed by 30-40 minute argument/bitch session between my parents on way home. Oh the joy.

WafflyVersatile Fri 06-Sep-13 16:14:17

I have a very depressing image in my head now of you all sat down with cups of tea (with saucers) and anti macassars on the furniture, the silence only broken by the ticking of a clock, the clinking of spoon against porcelain and grandad slurping his false teeth back into position.

Mealtime seems like a good idea then let him go out to play.

They do seem a bit inflexible. My DSs 6 and 8, would find that very difficult, and they are generally very good.

Can you give them a run round prior to GPs arriving (or stop at play ground en route to theirs?) I think you need to explain to GPs, that while sitting and talking at lunch is fine, he is an active little boy and needs to go out...they are very welcome to join in!

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:19:52

"Whe he plays outside they are annoyed"

So what?

kalms1971 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:21:07

And mil fast asleep with her head tilted back and mouth wide open. She's done this for 20 years!

cushtie335 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:22:33

Are they your parents or your DP's? Why are they acting like something out of a Victorian novel, they can't be all that old as others have said.

As you've tried various tactics to amuse your son in their home and it's still not really worked, I would either suggest meeting on neutral ground...a stately home cafe/garden centre/any other fucking thing that has suitable distractions for you all or cut back on the meet ups for a while.

cushtie335 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:23:04

x posted, I see it's your in laws.

starfishmummy Fri 06-Sep-13 16:26:27

Its the opposite if ds goes to his grandparents for an afternoon. Mil will do non stop activities with him - there will be a new toy, gardening, cooking, playing on her ds, computer time, just sitting playing talking games, looking at all the catalogues she has requested especially for him........sometimes they go to the shops

Oh and I forgot, the dreadful next door neighbour will have popped in been specially invited so that she is still there when I pick him up so that she can tell me how wonderful mil is

Of course by the time we get home, ds is totally hyper

starfishmummy Fri 06-Sep-13 16:27:34

I shuold add it is all of those activities, not just one.

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 16:28:45

I used to have relatives like this, who wanted to 'see' me and my sister when we were kids. However, the 'seeing' didn't seem to involve taking any interest in us whatsoever, or making any effort to interact with us in an appropriate way. Like other MNers, I have many memories of going insane with boredom in some person's house who I didn't really know from Adam, feeling like I would never get to go home ever agaiin!

The mealtime idea is a really good one. But don't feel obliged to do all the work in the relationship, they are being unreasonable here.

kalms1971 Fri 06-Sep-13 16:29:22

Lol they wouldn't cope with a playcenre. Mil hates noise. I am going to let him run free and see how it goes lol :D

daftdame Fri 06-Sep-13 16:38:05

Sounds like they are just grumpy.

Maybe let DS on tablet / i-pad, draw. Take photos to look - he might like sharing them.

Limit visits, have somewhere else to rush off to, book a swimming lesson or something that you have to take him to (but it would be a shame not to see them - visit done).

MadeOfStarDust Fri 06-Sep-13 16:53:59

what is all the "can't be that old " business...

when my kids were 7 their grandad was 75 (died at 80 last year), their gran 70 - maybe they have no energy for kids running round - maybe they see it as a slight that the child can't be with them companionably for a couple of hours without needing constant stimulation of other people ...

a board game, a card game a DVD the generations can share.... our girls love being with their gran - even though they tend to sit and do some colouring/drawing/watch a DVD/play rummy/play dominoes whatever... it is only a couple of hours, and they do need downtime, and chatting away with their gran gives them a rest and a lift.....

RenterNomad Fri 06-Sep-13 16:57:35

Our DP/DPIL day visits generally involve a meal AND a walk AND some sitting about. Your visit regime would send us all bananas!

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 16:59:03

Hear hear MadeofStardust

This thread makes quite depressing reading tbh.

Sometimes youngsters need to learn that it's nice to please older relatives.

Maybe I'm a bit old- fashioned but did teaching children the manners to hide a bit of boredom stop somewhere along the way?

It's only for a couple of hours.

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 17:01:03

When I was that age I used to love listening to my grandparents reminisce about their lives in "the olden days".

JessieMcJessie Fri 06-Sep-13 17:05:13

Agree with all the other posters who say you should invite them at mealtimes and all sit round the table together. Seems odd that you don't do this.

kerstina Fri 06-Sep-13 17:09:53

I agree with Salmotrutta older relatives will not be around forever and children should be taught manners and empathy.
I used to spend all day at my granddads as we had lunch there and my mom would do his shopping and help him with the garden or whatever he needed help with. Grandad used to buy me a comic called Tammy and Misty and lets just say I read every inch of it! My pet hate was watching the boring wrestling on a black and white tv as my grandad loved it. Also hated having to catch two buses home sometimes having to wait in the freezing cold. I don't remember complaining.

QueenArseClangers Fri 06-Sep-13 17:10:00

Regarding the age thing, my DM is nearly 80 and she loves taking grandchildren on the field across the road to run about whilst she potters. She also takes them in bug hunts in her garden and encourages them to climb trees.

kerstina Fri 06-Sep-13 17:11:47

I should have said all day every saturday.

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 17:12:41

My maternal Gran was a watcher of the wrestling kerstina!!

Jacki Pallo, Mick McManus etc. etc.... <reminisces>

SueDoku Fri 06-Sep-13 17:15:04

starfishmummy Grandparents really cannot win can they? Your Mil obviously puts a lot of time and thought into making her GS visits enjoyable for both of them - and you complain that 'he's totally hyper' when he gets home - while the OP complains that her DC are 'bored' .... I'll just go and bang my head on the wall now......confused

maras2 Fri 06-Sep-13 17:51:55

Oooo Salmo.What memories.Mick McManus and Steve Logan tag wrestling.Jackie < Mr. TV > Palo,Joe Murphy and Johnny Kwango;all richly commentated by Kent Walton.My Gran ( Fanny ) her sisters Ivy,Ada and Eva using the strongest language that their strict Methodist upbringing allowed 'You Dirty Dog'.Sorry for the hijack OP.Got caught up in the moment.

kalms1971 Fri 06-Sep-13 18:00:38

Ds has ADHD. He cannot stand inactivity and he has a poor attention span

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 18:07:42

Well, visits sitting round a table eating a meal would work, and I think he should sit with them some of the time for a chat, but not 2 hours straight. And tell them they're welcome to follow him and see what he's playing etc. Do they chat to him?

Perhaps a couple of short phone calls to them in the week, if you don't do this already, would help them feel connected?

primroseyellow Fri 06-Sep-13 18:25:02

YANBU. I think every weekend is too often. I know families differ but I would have thought once a month was enough, for an hour or so of conversation (assuming GPs are able to adapt to talking to 7 year old) or maybe a board game if not. It seems incomprehensible to me that a 7 year old is not allowed in GPs garden. If GPs stick to this I would just stop visiting (or reduce visits to say once every 3 months). For visits of GPs to your house I suggest doing what you would do if GPs weren't there apart from say an hour or so of conversation/game. Let DC out with friends, why should he be expected to sit with GPs for a long time?
Queen's DM sounds like a wonderful GM, hope I manage to be like that!
But I do also think that DCs should, at intervals of eg 3-6 months, be expected to visit GPs whether they want to or not.

LemonBreeland Fri 06-Sep-13 18:30:50

The posters who are saying that children need to learn to be polite and spend time with older relatives are being a bit unfair. I don't think a child should have to sit and be bored for two hours. If the gps are not showing an actual interest in the child, or speaking to him, why should he sit around bored.

Is there any way yu can encourage game playing OP? If the gps really won't make an effort then I would try to make visits at a meal time, or I would cut back a bit.

It doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs for the adults either.

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 20:39:04

The reasons why the child can't go into the GP's garden haven't been explained. It's hard to see how that isn't unreasonable.

dietcokeandwine Fri 06-Sep-13 21:07:10

Salmotrutta of course they should be taught that it's nice to please older relatives. That sometimes they will need to participate in activities that may not interest them particularly, just to be polite to others. Whenever we visit relatives I always stress these things to my children and wo betide them if they dare to say they are bored! Of course it is good for children to put themselves out for the older generation occasionally.

But this is two hours every single weekend and from the sound of things they just expect him to sit there and be 'observed' by them. Doesn't even sound as if they interact with him that much. My older DS is 9 and would find that incredibly difficult. I suspect many children would.

I, too, can't understand why on earth the poor child is not allowed out in their garden (or in his own garden, when at home). And bollocks to the 'oh they could be in their 70s and have no energy' argument. My lovely parents are in their 70s, my inlaws in their late 60s, as are various aunts and uncles who have not actually had children of their own. And none - none of them would even remotely expect a child of 7 to simply sit for two hours. And - shock, horror - if either of my older two DSs ask to go out to play in the garden during visits, the relatives will, you know, go out to play in the garden with them.

FeedTheBirdsTuppenceABag Fri 06-Sep-13 21:11:43

friday16 Agree with your posts, spot on. smile.

I too have memories of sitting in a 60's sitting room with little old lady on sofa looking at me! I did sit polity, bored, looking round the room, watching my mother.

BUT this was a few times a year! For an hour or two at most.

I would have loathed my mother had she made me sit there like that every bloody week FFS.

Its up to you OP as the parent to speak and be diplomatic for the child and find a middle ground!

I would never make mine sit like this every week, what a torturous experience.

I totally think young children or any children should be taught to appreciate the older generation but i think this is a classic example of where any child would think Fuck This.

WafflyVersatile Fri 06-Sep-13 22:18:18

Maybe you can train your child to ask them about the war or something? Or prime them with a few questions to ask each week about family history. hmm

People are usually happy to talk about when they were kids and come up with funny stories etc (aren't they?) or about how different things were.

What toys did you have when you were a kid, grandad?
Were you ever bombed in the war?
What was your first car?
Was mum good when she was a kid?

2rebecca Fri 06-Sep-13 22:47:43

I think 2 hours is a long time to expect a 7 year old to sit in a room and play nicely for. Surely they are coming to see you and your husband as well. As long as he is there for half an hour or so I'd just let him play as usual after that otherwise he'll dread grandparent visits. If they moan then just say "he's getting older and has stuff to do, I thought you'd come to visit us as well, let him play" They have to accept he's growing older and has his own life. If I visit my nephews I expect them to say hello and then get on with doing stuff not sit on ceremony for hours.
If you visit them he has to learn to take things to occupy him. I'd visit less often if they are that restrictive.
If your son is only 7 they sound a bit prematurely old unless you had him late in life. They're behaving like great grandparents.

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 23:16:21

I expect quite a few 7 year olds manage to sit through lessons in school?

I certainly did when God was a boy.

And, amazingly, life is often a wee bit dull. I learned that quite early on.

I had plenty of running about with friends/in the garden/going to Brownies/hobbies etc. during the week but knew that we would be visiting grandparents/aunts and uncles for an hour or two at the weekend. I survived hmm

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 23:21:17

Waffly - your post reminded me again about the amazing stories my grandparents (and parents!) used to tell us about their childhood.

...isn't it odd how many "celebs" on "Who Do You Think You Are?" have no idea about their antecedents?

I do know about my antecedents because we visited Grandparents and heard their stories. And I found it fascinating.

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 23:27:50

"I expect quite a few 7 year olds manage to sit through lessons in school?"

Yeah. But what the OP describes is the child being ignored for two hours, which isn't the same thing at all.

"but knew that we would be visiting grandparents/aunts and uncles for an hour or two at the weekend. I survived"

Kids survive all sorts of things. But it still doesn't explain why there's any need for them to.

2rebecca Fri 06-Sep-13 23:40:24

Have just seen it's every weekend. That's mad. If you choose to see them that often then they have to accept their grandson has a life to get on with. We just saw my grandparents every 3 months or so. I'm surprised you don't have stuff to get on with as well.
I'd just make him say hello and then get on with whatever he's doing and just tell them he's getting older and has lots to do. Life doesn't stop just because you want to visit someone especially if you visit every week..

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 23:44:34

Oh well.

I must have been very unusual in enjoying my grandparents visits/visiting them at age 7.

I only really got a bit self-absorbed when I hit my teens - to my eternal shame...

Salmotrutta Fri 06-Sep-13 23:51:40

friday - just curious, where exactly does the OP state that the Grandparents ignore the child?

I can't find that bit.

friday16 Fri 06-Sep-13 23:57:01

"when they visit our house they just sit on the settee for 2 hours. "

"And mil fast asleep with her head tilted back and mouth wide open. She's done this for 20 years!"

Salmotrutta Sat 07-Sep-13 00:05:09

Sitting on the settee sofa for two hours does not imply "ignoring".

And neither does someone nodding off.

I'm in my 50s.

I have grandchildren.

Sometimes I nod off.

The last statement does not indicate that I ignore my grandchildren.

There is accurate interpretation of the written word... and there is extrapolation.

WafflyVersatile Sat 07-Sep-13 00:10:21

If you are going to nod off in the company of visitors you can't really complain if they seem a little bored.

2rebecca Sat 07-Sep-13 00:18:51

I think wanting to visit someone every week and then falling asleep is rude. Why not visit less often if you get bored and sleepy or go home when you start to feel tired and have ran out of conversation?
I think just plonking yourself on a sofa and not moving for 2 years is as good as ignoring a primary school age child. Why not get down and play lego with them or do stuff. Play with them rather than just expecting to be passively entertained.

Salmotrutta Sat 07-Sep-13 00:20:58


I'm interested in the fact that the grandparents (MIL?) have been nodding off for 20 years?
This suggests they are less than youthful surely?

If OP has known them to nod off for 20 years she must have been with their son for that long at least.

So they may actually be quite oldish.

When you get to be 60ish and beyond it can be a bit tiring if you work full time and someone expects you to be all singing and dancing at the weekend.

Salmotrutta Sat 07-Sep-13 00:23:33

Are you a Grandma 2rebecca?

I am.

I get tired sometimes.

"Go figure" as our transatlantic cousins might say.

AgentZigzag Sat 07-Sep-13 00:39:17

I must have been quite lucky because I liked listening to my mum talk to my GM, they must have forgotten I was there when they were talking about suspected murder, adultery and abandoning children in the family shock

It was great at 8/9 YO grin

The OP drip feeding saying her DS has ADHD must mean he's cut some slack? It's horrible at any age to have to routinely sit through listening to that ticking clock, and you can only get the techniques to deal with it by learning to be bored as a child, but not every single week.

olidusUrsus Sat 07-Sep-13 00:47:43

I agree with Salmo et al.

Being with my grandparents was boring as fuck sometimes, especially when they played games with rules I didn't understand, or got cross with the noise I and my sisters made.

But our parents had taught us empathy and that our grandparents had limited time with us, so we sucked it up (and our maternal grandmother always gave us a fiver each which helped wink)

She is my last remaining grandparent and I occasionally send her flowers between visits to remind her I'm thinking of her, which she pretends is silly but she loves.

I agree kalms's DS should be cut some slack for being unfortunate enough to have ADHD, so perhaps he could try to engage them a little more, rather being sat on the settee and listening to the clock tick.

I know it goes both ways but sometimes very old grandparents are a bit rubbish at that mine were because of the gaps in generations, so the least you can do is teach him to be polite. That means maybe starting some conversation, asking how they are and perhaps not playing on the iPad until they've left.

If he's shot down, well he can't be blamed. At least he did his bit. I'd agree with inviting them over at a different time for tea to see if they're a bit more lively about the whole visiting thing.

Perhaps they're nodding off because they're bored.

CharityFunDay Sat 07-Sep-13 05:02:53

Who was it said: "You should be a grandparent first, then a parent"?

This thread is so sad. There's plainly a communication gulf between child and grandparent.

But the onus has to be on the grandparents to build bridges.

Perhaps the OP could suggest some things the grandparents could do that a kid might appreciate?

One thing that springs to mind is: A subscription to his favourite comic, so that he has something to look forward to when he visits and something to occupy him while he's there?

Do they have a local shop they could take him to, to pick up groceries (but secretly to buy him sweets)? This would help distract an energetic child.

Pocket money: He may already be getting pocket money from OP but a top-up from gran and granddad is always welcome, however small.

Food! Kids are always hungry. Organise with the grandparents to eat together at the table, and then make sure he turns up hungry (or at least peckish, if 'hungry' would lead to a meltdown!).

Explain to the grandparents that they get the enjoyable end of parenting, with the bonus that the child goes home after a bit! So they should make the most of it.

I speak as someone who had a hugely enriching grandparental relationship while I was growing up. My paternal grandmother was like a second mother to me. And yes, they spoilt me rotten. But that indulgence set me up for a lifetime bond with them. I have a picture of them on my bedroom mirror (with my granddad proudly wearing the scarf I knitted for him for Christmas when I was ten) and there isn't a day goes by without me looking fondly at it, despite the fact that my granddad died in 2001 and gran died in 2010.

OP, I hope it's not too late to salvage a decent relationship between the generations. Good luck.

Cerisier Sat 07-Sep-13 06:14:59

Years ago my PIL built a golf course round the garden, made a shed for playing in, bought a table tennis table, toys and various DVDs all to help entertain the grandchildren when they visited. Our DC learnt all the card games they know from MIL, and they still can't beat her at table tennis!

I think your PIL need to make a lot more of an effort and you need to make a plan of things DS can do while they are at yours. Jigsaws, cards, films everyone likes might be starting points?

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 07-Sep-13 06:33:01

This brings back horrible memories of my childhood and going to visit various elderly relatives. I had to sit quietly on the sofa - not allowed to read, as that would be rude, just to sit there - seen and not heard, while the adults all talked about people I'd never met - Old Renee and Old Doll. It was utterly, mind blowingly, screamingly boring. I had a lot of old aunts, all of whom had to be visited in rotation, and my Gran, who only ever used to laugh at someone else's misfortune (she told us she was going to die on Christmas Eve and ruin Christmas for everyone, and she did precisely that, although my mother did say to her "What makes you think it would ruin Christmas?" grin). Not allowed to play in gardens - all neatly manicured with lots of ornaments, just to sit, for hours. If I was especially unlucky, the trip would also feature a trip to Brentford Nylons seconds shop, and/or MFI.

friday16 Sat 07-Sep-13 06:44:43

"When you get to be 60ish and beyond it can be a bit tiring if you work full time"

So why also demand two hours per week? Why not have a rest one weekend, if it's so tiring?

FriskyHenderson Sat 07-Sep-13 06:51:22

I have every sympathy with the OP and due to a similar situation, DH visits his mother with a different child in rotation. I really don't think it's fair to take them on a 3 hour journey then sit them in a small front room where they are supposed to not move/talk while MIL goes on about someone none of us have ever met who has died, over the tv on at volume, then go for a meal they won't like where again they are expected to sit still and listen to her telling them again about someone none of us has met who has died, then go back and sit still in the front room until it's time for the 3 hour drive home.

If the DC do move, it provokes comments about how lively they are; if they want to talk about anything it's a comment about how chatty they are. If we go to the park, she stays in the car; if we go into the garden she makes comments about how noisy they are. Basically because they are not like an 87 year old.

Grandparents are people who should have some manners. Sleeping with company is rude unless you let them get on with it. Not insisting they stay in one place etc.

My DCs grandparents are nothing like this. They're in their 70s, full of energy, you're allowed in the garden etc etc. the children love going there.

The op has just stated her son has ADHD. It must be extremely difficult for him and tbh if letting him have a run about in the garden would help I honestly don't see why he can't. Surely making him sit there for two hours is torturing the poor kid.

I really don't see why he can't just go out. He's old enough to not need anyone out there with him can't you just watch from the window.

MrsLouisTheroux Sat 07-Sep-13 07:57:54

The OP really should have stated that her son has ADHD at the start. I have no idea in that case. You would be better off talking to the GParents about the situation.

Generally speaking. a 7 year old child should be capable of taking 2 hours out of their day to do things that they wouldn't normally choose to do. If the GPs aren't active and just sit on the sofa then sit with them and talk to them. What's wrong with playing the same board games over and over? It's 2 hours not a whole day.

Even if the visit is so dull even the gran falls asleep?

I don't see how it's rude for the boy to go outside but acceptable for them to fall asleep.

hettienne Sat 07-Sep-13 08:43:55

I would compromise that he stays in for the first half hour of the visit and you all have a drink and some cake or something, and then he can go out and play.

If visits to their house are really dull then bring some DVDs or a tablet for him and keep those visits to monthly at most.

friday16 Sat 07-Sep-13 08:55:31

"Generally speaking. a 7 year old child should be capable of taking 2 hours out of their day to do things that they wouldn't normally choose to do. If the GPs aren't active and just sit on the sofa then sit with them and talk to them. "

Firstly, why should the child give up two hours of their day for people who won't make an effort themselves and often fall asleep?

And secondly, adults rarely "sit on the soda and talk" for two hours. Some do. Most don't. To expect that of a 7 year old is ludicrous. Two hours a week is a hundred hours a year. You could deliver a GCSE in that time. What the hell does a seven year old talk about, to the same people, for a hundred hours a year?

2rebecca Sat 07-Sep-13 10:47:27

2 hours is a large proportion of your day, especially if you exclude time for eating, getting dressed having a bath and getting ready to bed.
I wouldn't want to give 2 hours of my day up to sitting on a sofa every weekend. At least the parents choose this lifestyle. Let the kid say hello and then get on with his life.

fluffyraggies Sat 07-Sep-13 11:12:56

What 2rebecca said ^

I think the every weekend thing is a major part of the problem here. Now the boy is older. I wonder why it has to be 2 hours? Do the OP and the GPs live far apart? If not i'd suggest that if it has to be every weekend, then 45 mins to an hour is long enough.

Love to know why he cant go in the garden. Is it all given over to a veg plot or something?

When i was a little kid i would be expected to sit at both my grandmothers houses on visits for a while, quietly and politely chatting and drinking my tea (cup and saucer). The highlight of that bit was when the buiscuit barrel came out! After an age half hour or so i would be ok'd to go and play in another part of the house/garden with toys i had bought with me or the toys nan always had for me at her house (only child).

My DCs were expected to do the same when they were small. There has to be give and take. 2 hours is too long to sit quiet listening to small talk. But they had to keep their part of the deal and sit nicely for a while first.

To be honest i can still remember being under 10 and creeping about both my nans houses looking at her things like the old fashioned dressing table/massive wardrobe of coats/old fireplaces etd. Not big houses, just so different to my parent's. This would only be once a month or so though.

Just have to say shock, i remember Brentford Nylons MrsSchadenfreude! What a blast from the past grin

MadeOfStarDust Sat 07-Sep-13 11:17:30

2 hours is such a small time to the grandparents though ... and not every grandparent is a sprightly spring chicken - my FIL had emphysemia and my dad had a brain injury - should my kids not have seen them because they couldn't "engage" with them for all of 2 hours...

It seems to be too much to ask these days to just be with people - FAMILY - for 2 hours in a week.... do people not just do nothing but be with folks sometimes any more... maybe I'm not stimulating my kids enough, but sitting chatting, colouring, playing a card game or just being with their family is a normal part of their weekend... and sometimes they do these thing without their grandparents being around too....

fragola Sat 07-Sep-13 11:46:58

I think some people here are being very unfair re MIL falling asleep. Older people often suffer from disturbed sleep at night, making them more likely to fall asleep during the day. Also chronic health conditions and medications can also contribute to this.

I am constantly saddened by the lack of empathy shown towards older people sad.

hettienne Sat 07-Sep-13 12:16:38

Old people fall asleep, but young children go and play. I think there needs to be some consideration for everyone in the family! 2 hours of sitting quietly chatting isn't a good afternoon for a 7 year old.

Gunznroses Sat 07-Sep-13 13:11:20

I think some posters are seriously missing the point here, old people falling asleep during the day is not the issue, its the expectation for a 7 yr old to sit quietly whilst GP nods off that is the problem.

I think fluffys description of her visits i.e sit and have polite chit chat for half hr, followed by biscuits then playtime sounds like the ideal type of visit (if there's no other activity planned).

Jan49 Sat 07-Sep-13 13:33:16

When I was a child we saw my maternal gps twice a week and I loved seeing them and spending time with them. One evening a week, they came to our house, maybe for around 4 hours, which included tea, and every Sunday we went to them for Sunday lunch and stayed until the evening, so I suppose around 7 hours. We rarely went anywhere outdoors with them but talked and played games. They were in their 60s/70s. I used to particularly love Sundays at their house. I think the visits mainly revolved around eating food and playing games.

I think it's rude to let a 7 y.o. play outside whilst they are visiting, unless it's in the garden and the gps are joining in a game with him. I appreciate he has a short attention span but I think he should spend their visit with them. You just need more and different things for him to do. If you have a meal whilst they are there, that will take up quite a lot of the time so there wouldn't be so much sitting on the sofa. Rather than letting him go off outdoors, could you find activities which the gps will enjoy doing with him, or maybe an activity which he does and they enjoy watching, and then if they fall asleep treat that as the time for him to go outdoors. We used to visit a very elderly relative and there was nothing to do but sit, drink tea and talk, so we encouraged our son to draw. It's more sociable and you can do it whilst still being present and not separate. It kept him happy and he'd present the resulting artwork to the relative.

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