DEAR ABBY: I am a 62-year-old grandfather of a 5-year-old granddaughter. The other day I had her for the entire day. I decided to make a list of the things we were to accomplish throughout the course of the day. It turned out to be a great success. After completing each task, she would ask, "What's next on the list?"
The first item, No. 1, was to do our "strong" (that's what we call exercise). No. 2 was to write her alphabet and numbers. No. 3 was to "go on an adventure" (that's what we call walking the dog and exploring the nearby field).
Nos. 4, 5 and 6 -- go to the bank, get the car washed, then go to the park to swing, slide, etc. After the park, she asked if we could go to our favorite restaurant across the street. I replied, "How did you know that was next on the list?" Her expression was priceless.
After lunch we went home and did No. 8 -- another adventure, which was take the dogs for a walk again. No. 9 was painting time (what 5-year-old doesn't like to paint?). After cleaning up it was time for No. 10, wash the dishes and Swiffer the floor. No. 11 she could choose something to do. We spent the next two hours playing with her dolls.
At about 5:30 my daughter came to pick her up from an exhausted grandpa. Lists will be part of our routine from now on. I slept like a log that night and hope to have many nights and days just like it in the future. -- GRANDPA ROBERT IN LEXINGTON, KY.
DEAR GRANDPA ROBERT: Your grandchild is lucky not only to have such a loving and dedicated grandpa, but also one with your stamina. I sometimes hear from grandparents -- and other adults -- who ask me for suggestions about how to better connect with their young children. Your letter is a road map that will take them in the right direction.