25 Tips on Being a Better Grandparent
"Have children while your parents are
"When a child is born, so are grandmothers." ~Judith Levy
1. Get off on the right grandparenting foot by sending a gift specifically for the baby's mother. Flowers, bath goodies, and even a nice cushion to support her now-aching back are all good ideas.
2. Despite the rush of excite of a new grandchild, realize that your baby and the parents need to spend time alone. Ask the parents how much/little help they want and when.
3. Offer to be available in the early months after a new arrival to give the new parents some respite. Think of ways you can make their days (and nights) a little easier.
4. Be clear about how much involvement you would like and do not wait until you're resentful, feel burdened upon or left out.
5. Do not criticize, especially your child's significant other. What you might think is helpful advice might be perceived by them as veiled criticism and affecting your relationship with them.
6. Do no turn up uninvited at your child's house - wait to be asked. At a minimum call first and be sensitive that this might not be a good time.
7. Be respectful that there are usually four grandparents with different needs, abilities, and opinions.
On Babysitting Your Grandchildren
"There's no place like home except Grandma's." ~Author Unknown
"A grandmother is a babysitter who
8. Make sure you write down the information you will need about nap time and bedtime, feeding schedules, off-limits food and television programs.
9. Child proof your house (including your valuables) so the parents can relax when the kids are there and always have healthy snacks on hand.
10. Defer to the parents for disciplinary procedures for misbehaviors.
11. Don’t bribe your grandchildren with sweets instead of reasoning.
12. If you are going to drive, have car seats and have someone show you their proper use
Activities With Your Grandchildren
"Grandma always made you feel she
had been waiting
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do." ~Alex Haley
13. Understand that the parents make the rules. Ask before hand on activities you plan to do and what are appropriate gifts.
14. Experiences are better than possessions - give your grandchildren fun things to do, rather than just buying them something.
15. Find unusual things to do; things that will stick in their memory.
16. Read to them - all children love being read to and it's a great bonding exercise.
17. Show that there are alternatives to TV (which some busy parents will over-rely on as a baby sitter). Try board games, card games and puzzles.
18. "Adventure" walks can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood or as involved as driving to a place away from civilization are loved by kids and sometimes hard for parents to do. Collect bugs, identify plants, and in general have fun.
19. If you live nearby, and if your time permits, offer to be the driver to one of their regular sports or activities.
"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation." ~Lois Wyse
"Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things." ~Author Unknown
20. Be sensitive to not play favorites and to give each grandchild a little separate one-on-one time.
21. Remember birthdays! Send a card and a gift. (Money and gift cards are acceptable if you are unsure what to get but parents usually know).
22. Listen to your grandchildren and encourage them to open up to you. You are an important outlet for them.
23. You have the important role of family historian--telling stories about your childhood as well as ones about raising their parents. It helps provide continuity between the past, present and future.
24. Don't limit telephone calls to specific events like birthdays and holidays are great fun any time of year. End of school year, big games, etc. are all reason enough to get on the phone.
25. When you're talking to your grandchildren, make notes about their interests, pets' names, books they've been reading, doll's name – anything you can repeat in the next conversation so they know you've been listening.
"A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend." ~Author Unknown