Family Entertainment

By Doug Mayberry

December 23, 2019 4 min read

Q: My wife and I have been getting excited to have all of our children and grandchildren over for Christmas. This is the only time all year that we all get to be in the same room at the same time.

It doesn't happen every time, but often at least one grandchild gets worn out from the party and gets fussy. We have one grandson who's 14, but the other six are all under the age of 10.

Past a certain point, the kids start to want attention and bother their parents. Last year, our youngest grandchild threw a complete fit after about three hours — one bad enough that our youngest daughter and her husband had to leave abruptly.

We've not yet figured out a good way to entertain the young ones while we spend time with our children.

What can we do to prevent a meltdown from happening?

A: You need to readjust your expectations.

Children need to be supervised and occupied, but you can distribute the responsibility. Have one adult at a time in a separate room with all the children, and rotate as necessary.

Older generations were taught that children's place was to be quiet and out of the way during adult events. A common solution was to leave the kids home until a certain age.

Unfortunately, that's not feasible during the holiday season, when everyone's traveling.

Give your grandchildren something to do while the adults chat. If you make accommodations for the kids, they will be much better behaved.

Sometimes the simplest activities are the best. Stock up on games, construction paper, crayons and child-friendly scissors. If you give them options, the kids will find something to do.

Additionally, ask your youngest daughter what happened last year. She's likely feeling wary about being judged for it, or afraid about it happening again!

Avoid past pitfalls, and plan ahead for success.

For the next couple of years, your holiday parties may have to be a little shorter. Even if it's frustrating, remember that your grandchildren will eventually grow up. Now is your chance to build strong relationships. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: I like to keep active, but I find it really hard during the wintertime. It just started to snow, and I feel nervous about going on my regular walks. The ice makes me especially nervous about falling and getting badly injured.

What can I do to keep active during the cold-weather season?

A: Even if the cold aggravates your arthritis, it's worth it to get out there. Regular exercise is essential for keeping you mobile, and studies have found that it's even helpful for staving off cognitive decline. Keeping active is the best thing you can do to benefit yourself against memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer's.

Find ways to exercise indoors. Balance exercises are a great option to keep you in shape at home.

Have you considered joining a gym or going to an exercise class? You might be surprised to see how many daytime classes are full of seniors with your same goal.

Mental flexibility is one of your best assets. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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