Grandmother - Grandkids
I’m going to be a grandmother this summer – again. The baby girl arriving in July will be my ninth grandchild, and I’m super excited! Grandparenting is just about the best thing that’s ever happened to me, even though I had to somewhat "dust off" my parenting skills a little when the first grandchild arrived. My mother always said that grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your own kids when they were teenagers, and I think she was correct. Currently, I have five grandsons and three granddaughters, so the new arrival will help “even the score,” resulting in five boys and four girls. Grandkids can be loads of fun, but you might not think you’re quite ready to be a grandparent. Don’t worry. Chances are that your reared your own kids, and many of the same parenting skills you used then can be applied to being a good grandparent. Hopefully, my experiences involved with grandparenting will help you learn how to adjust to becoming a grandparent and will enable you to be a wonderful grandmother - or grandfather.
You probably reared your own kids, so you're accustomed to parenting. As a mother or father, you were probably used to making all the rules and decisions regarding your children. With grandchildren, however, you have to remember…they’re not your kids! The grandkids have their own mommy and daddy, and their wishes, views, and rules should be respected. It’s easy to want to do everything your way because you have years of parenting skills under your belt, but you’ll have to learn to give up much of that formerly held power to the parents – even if you think you know best. It’s fine to offer parenting advice and suggestions along the way, but the parents have the final word. Of course, in the case of abuse or neglect, it’s a different story. In that case, legal grandparents’ rights might come into play.
Your level of involvement in the pregnancy might begin a tug-of-war. For example, you might want to be super involved in choosing the baby’s name, designing the nursery, and choosing clothes for the new arrival. You might want to go to doctor’s appointments with the mother-to-be and even be present in the delivery room when the baby is born. The parents have the right to “adjust” your level of involvement. Don’t get your feelings hurt if the mom and dad want to be alone in some of these decisions and events. Remember - such events are s ome of their first steps at parenting.
You've already learned some good parenting skills. Sure, it was a couple of decades or longer since you had kids, but good parenting is good parenting – whether it’s with an offspring or with a grandchild. Many of the same parenting tips you employed and parenting advice you used with your own kids can be applied to grandparenting. Be patient with the kids, and never punish them without explaining what they did wrong. Don’t threaten them with “I’m telling your mommy!” Handle minor infractions yourself, fairly and consistently.
Another good piece of parenting advice for grandparents is to be a good role model. Children learn better by example than they do by simple words or lectures. Kids will pick up quickly on the kind of person you are, and this is the best way to teach honesty, compassion, kindness, determination, goal-setting, and other positive traits. You might be surprised to discover just how much importance you have as a role model for your grandchildren!
As a grandmother who's a retired teacher, learning and teaching are near the top of my list of parenting skills. I love teaching my grandchildren about the world in which they live. And even though my grandchildren are still young. things they learn now can help them to grow into happy, responsible adults. This doesn't have to be in the form of "formal" lessons. Drop in tidbits of facts and information as the topics arise naturally from conversations, movies, books, music, and television. As a grandmother or grandfather, you have the chance to make your grandchildren life-long learners.
You might have a lot more free time than the parents have. Use that time to help mold your grandchildren into the best adults they can become. Take them to visit aquariums, zoos, libraries, museums, and historic venues. Teach them about other cultures and other cuisines. Help the grandchildren to learn to care about our world and to appreciate Nature. Instill in them compassion for other humans and for animals by going with you to volunteer at soup kitchens, nursing homes, and animal shelters. As a grandmother, I try to teach my grandchildren that one person can make a difference, and that even small acts of kindness are important.
I think parenting skills should include responsibility, too. Teach your grandchildren to be responsible while they're still young. Of course, the lessons have to be age appropriate. But when such skills are started at a young age, they'll serve as the foundation for future learning. Start by encouraging the grandchildren to "fess up" when they've made a mistake. Teach them making mistakes or committing misdeeds is human, and that they're growing experiences. We all learn from our mistakes, if given the chance to do so.
Respect will play a big role in your relationships with the parents. It’s important that you understand and respect the rules established by the parents regarding the grandchildren. Some parents are often willing to overlook minor infractions when the kids are at Grandma’s house because such visits might be viewed as special occasions. Examples might include staying up late or eating more treats than would normally be allowed at home. Some rules, however, are “hard and fast” and should not be broken. These might include playing certain video games or watching certain movies or television shows. Speak openly and honestly with the parents about their rules and guidelines. If you have a real problem, never argue with the parents in front of the child. Don’t let disagreements come between parents’ rights and grandparents’ rights. The adults should be on the same team and should exhibit mutual respect for one another. This can send a powerful message to the kids.
I'm sure you were very concerned with child safety when your kids were small, but believe me - you'll be even more concerned with child safety with the grandchildren. As I've grown older, I'm more aware of potential hazards. If your grandkids will be visiting your home only on rare occasions, you might not want to baby proof or childproof your home. On the other hand, if the babies and/or kids are frequent visitors, some baby proofing and childproofing are in order. If a baby, toddler, or child can reach it, it’s fair game. Babies and little kids seem inherently drawn to dangerous elements like poisons, electrical outlets, water, and cords of all kinds. They also seem to have an affinity for fragile valuables.
In addition to putting your valuables and possible dangers up and out of the reach of small children, there are other steps you need to take in order to baby proof and childproof your home. Some things, like cabinets and electrical outlets, can’t be moved. Fit your outlets with childproof plugs and install baby proof cabinet locks on your cabinets. If you have dangling cords on your blinds or drapes, loop them up high and secure them so that kids can’t reach them. Safe baby gates can be placed anywhere you don’t want babies and toddlers to go, like staircases and bathrooms. Of course, the most important aspect in baby proofing and childproofing is to keep a close eye on the grandkids at all times!
The Ultimate Gift
I'm sure you adore your grandchildren, and you'd love to give them the ultimate gift. What is the perfect gift? It's time. Yes, I know that probably sounds a little corny and cliche, but it's true. Spending quality time with your grandchildren is an investment that will reap huge rewards. It builds on itself, too, and it grows exponentially.
I can’t stress enough how quickly grandkids grow up! That little bundle of joy will be walking and talking before you know it, and in the blink of an eye, he’ll be graduating from high school. My oldest grandchild just turned ten, and it seems like just last year he was crawling around on my living room floor. I’m totally convinced that time passes more quickly once your grandchildren are born. Even if you don't have grandchildren yet, you've probably already noticed how each year passes more swiftly than the one before.
It’s easy to buy your grandkids toys and treats, but the best thing you can give them is the gift of time. It really is the ultimate gift. That time should be used wisely, too. Having the grandkids over and parking them in front of the Wii or the TV is not the same as spending quality time with your grandchildren. Think about all you have to share in the way of knowledge and experience. Teach the grands about their family history, take them to museums and galleries, visit zoos and aquariums, share your hobbies with them. You never know what might “stick.” I introduced my grandkids to saltwater fishing, and two of them have become ardent anglers. Whenever possible, be part of special occasions in your grandchildren's lives, and NEVER forget a birthday. I always stive to make holidays and any family gatherings fun, too. Most importantly, make the children aware of your unconditional love.
You might be a busy grandmother, like I am. No matter how busy your life is, it’s extremely important to spend time with your grandchildren. No doubt your life will change with the arrival of grandkids, and you might have to change your carefree schedule.You might be used to coming and going as you please, but having grandkids could throw a proverbial wrench into this way of life. If the kids live nearby, you might be asked to babysit on a frequent basis. I keep two of my granddaughter after school three or four days a week, which wasn’t part of my retirement plan. I admit that there are sometimes other things I’d rather be doing, but overall, I enjoy these hours spent with the girls. Life is short, and I’m amazed at how quickly the girls are growing up. It gives me peace of mind that the grandchildren will cherish the memories of the time we spent together, long after I’m gone. I'm giving the ultimate gift now. I want to be a grandmother worth remembering!