Kesson Physio

Keeping Up With The Grandchildren

July 6, 2021

Being a modern grandparent isn’t easy.  It is becoming more common that you are heavily involved in childminding duties and helping to bring up your grandchildren.

With the summer holidays around the corner chances are you’ll be excited about spending quality time with your little ones. However it’s also normal to feel nervous, out of practice or worried about getting run off your feet.

Before they descend ask yourself “is your body ready for the grandkids?”

The good news is that spending time with your grandchildren can improve mental health, give you stronger cognitive skills and enhance your mood. But the physical stress can be considerable for an aging body when you consider the physical demands of lifting and lowering a small child, as well as keeping up with that rambunctious pace.

In order to stay healthy and active as a grandparent, you need joints, muscles, and an immune system that are prepped, primed, and protected. 

Here are some quick tips to help boost your strength, stamina, and safety so that you can enjoy your time with the children:

Avoiding the germs. Children have a knack for picking their noses and dirty things off the ground. What might be a case of the sniffles for your grandchild could take you off your feet for a few days. 

  • Don’t just wash your hands after playing with your grandchildren.  They can be liberal with their kisses so after spending time together, wash all the parts of your skin that may have come into contact with your darlings.
  • If your grandchild is feeling under the weather, reschedule your time together. If you must see one another, limit exposure by setting up the play and sleep area near you, rather than on you.

Limit your lifts and ‘carries’. It’s easy to forget just how heavy babies and toddlers can be. Not to mention the awkward ways that we lift them from such low places as cots or pushchairs.

  • If you do need to carry your grandchild for a long period use a sling or baby carrier to help distribute the weight.
  • If they are able to climb onto a chair, help them stand on the chair and pick them up from that height rather than the floor.
  • When picking up your grandchild hold them close to you in a big cuddle, they will cause less strain on your back than if you pick them up with your arms stretched out in front.

Build your balance. Balance is one of those fitness factors we often undervalue until we experience a fall. As your body matures, a stumble or trip (maybe on a child’s misplaced toy) can have catastrophic consequences that might not only impact your safety but your independence, as well. 

  • Practice standing on one leg while brushing your teeth.  Build up to being able to stand without wobbling for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time.
  • Practice walking heel to toe  as if you are on a tight rope for 20 steps
  • Stand behind a dining chair, lift your right leg straight back, don’t tilt forward or bend your knees. Alternate with each leg repeating 15 times each side.
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