Camp Grandma: Next Generation Grandparenting — Beyond Babysitting
By Marianne Waggoner Day
I received a free review copy of Camp Grandma from BookSparks. However, all opinions are my own.
Not being a grandmother myself I wasn’t sure I would get much out of this book. But by the end of the first chapter I knew I was wrong. Not only did the author help me look at my own daughter’s needs in a new way, but I realized that my parents were only just learning about their own role and working out how they fit into our new family. As soon as I finished the book I shipped it off to my mother, knowing she’ll get a tremendous amount out of it.
This book talks about grandparents not as babysitters but rather as caretakers, role models, teachers, historians, storytellers, confidants, mentors and trusted examples of how to love and be loved.
Thinking about my own grandmother, I’m inclined to agree with the author that multigenerational distance gives grandparents a perspective that is very different (and valuable) to that of parents. And also, that characteristics often to skip a generation, making children much more similar to their grandparents than their own parents. That is certainly the case with my own daughter, where she even looks just like her two grandparents, but nothing like my husband and myself.
Kids thrive on structure, and Marianne’s Camp Grandma, which is structured similarly to a corporate retreat, helps them learn a host of skills that will serve them later in life. She helps her grandchildren set agendas and goals, and talk about their expectations. Then they split their time with her into three main categories:
1. Presentations: where they show and tell, teaching them preparation, public speaking, communication, and listening skills.
2. Things to Learn: where they might focus on manners, family history, or resume building. You might think writing a resume is a strange thing for a child to do, but it helps them identify their skills, areas of strength and the experiences they’ve had so far, all of which help build confidence and pride.
3. Activity Time, which can include swimming, baking, crafts or any other activities they vote onto the agenda. These activities allow for physical movement, develop motor skills, teamwork and allow them to express themselves.
The book is written in a story-telling way that is entertaining to read while being clearly segmented for ease of finding information. It would make a wonderful gift to new and established grandparents alike.