SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
And they say you can’t learn anything from TV: We recently found ourselves taking in some old episodes of “CSI: Miami” (the one with David Caruso, David Caruso’s sunglasses and David Caruso’s incomparable and monotonous one-liners), and we couldn’t help but notice that the more we watched, the more lessons we picked up about… well, grandparenting. And life! And everything! But don’t take our word for it. Click here to see how “CSI: Miami” can make your life … (puts on sunglasses) … grand.
Lesson 1: Maintain your cool at all times.
Grandkids are the brightest blessings on Earth, but they can also be manic, deafening, troublesome, and shouty. When dealing with unruly, possibly dessert-fueled children, raise your voice only when necessary. Save your visible frustration for when you really need to make a point. And speak clearly and calmly, like what you’re about to say is the most important knowledge humankind has ever known.
Lesson 2: Invest in quality sunglasses.
You may or may not live in Miami, but it's a universal truth that the sun is not to be messed with, especially if you’re headed to a lot of ballparks or fall sports. Find a pair that complements your face, blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays and, of course, looks cool. All the sunglasses on the show look cool. We’re not sure how they did that.
Lesson 3: Keep your team close.
When it comes to grandparenting, you may feel the urge to handle everything yourself, because you’ve been down these roads before and you’re confident in your knowledge. Just remember, now and again, to delegate to your team members, such as your spouse, your kids or — you may want to sit down for this part — your son- or daughter-in-law. They’re on your team for a reason: They know what they’re doing.
Lesson 4: Encourage the truth to come out.
If you have ever been a child or talked to one, you know that kids tend to … bend the truth, and by that we mean lie outright. (Mine did it like three times since I started typing this sentence.) This, of course, can be exceedingly frustratingly, but moreso when it becomes an ingrained behavior. Try addressing your grandchildren’s lying not by interrogating them under harsh lighting and levying punishments, but by giving them positive reinforcement for telling the truth. Acknowledge their honesty. That doesn’t mean abandoning punishment, but it does mean letting them know your house is a safe place to tell the truth — and that you still love them unconditionally.
Lesson 5: When taking videos, hold the camera still.
Seriously, what is with this show? It’s like a third-grader shot this thing after drinking from a five-gallon bucket of coffee. ATTENTION, CAMERAPEOPLE OF “CSI: MIAMI,” WE ARE NOT ON A BOAT. And when shooting videos of your family, keep your back straight, legs shoulder-length apart, and elbows close to your body. This will help stabilize your picture. Frankly, we wish someone would have told this show about it in like 2005.
Lesson 6: When being serious, squint a lot.
Grandchildren, like all kids, can read facial cues and body language, sometimes more than the words you’re saying. So when you’re serious, when you’re REALLY not messing around, narrow your eyes to barely visible slits and pretend like you’re thinking about something very important. The kids will respond. Try it the next time you’re warning them to stay out of the ice cream freezer.
Lesson 7: Nicknames can be helpful!
Everyone knows that grandparents occasionally, um, mix up the names of children or grandchildren. Solve this problem by inventing clever nicknames! For instance, everyone calls Horatio Caine “H,” because someone named him Horatio. Use this tactic for your grandchildren, ESPECIALLY if someone named one of them Horatio.
Lesson 8: Dress for the weather.
Guys, it’s Miami, it’s like a million degrees out there. Why are all of you wearing jackets, shirts, and ties? That is a good way to get yourselves dehydrated, especially since no one on this show apparently sweats. Whether you’re walking, relaxing by the pool or investigating gross, baffling murders, be sure to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Lesson 9: Follow the evidence.
As Horatio Caine knows, probably (it’s hard to tell, because he doesn’t have facial expressions), sometimes where you start bears little resemblance to where you end up. Much like a case involving a tornado touchdown can involve an ROTC cadet, stormchasers, and a golf bag for some reason, your grandchildren may respond to a question about who broke a dish with a tale about leprechauns, ghosts and, probably, guilty younger siblings. These stories can be tough to follow and might not make any sense, ever. But if you follow the trail of the evidence, and offer calm but persistent questioning, the truth will always come out. Usually.