6 Tips for Becoming the Best Grandparent EVER!
Happy Grandparents Day and CONGRATULATIONS on your new grandbaby on the way…..or nestled in your loving arms!
Welcome to the Grandparent Club Nana/Mimi/Grammy/Grandma and Papa/Grampy/Gramps/Grandpa!
Becoming and being a grandparent is a wonderful adventure. I know, I’m the grandmother of 6 (almost 7!) and love this time of my life. There are so many things I did wrong and wish I could change now. What I can do is share with all of you grandparents or grandparents-to-be a few secrets that will make you a welcome guest in your grandbaby’s home.
Things have changed A LOT since your now grown babies were babies. I mean, A LOT. Where do you find good information though? Start with solid websites like the AAP or WebMD or even the CDC. Here is where you will find accurate, up to date information and references backed by scientific studies. Knowing current, factual information is imperative in supporting today’s new parents.
DON’T OVERSTEP AND ALIENATE
You are gathering information, not TELLING the new parents all of this gathered information. File it away until the topic comes up. New parents, especially your own adult children, hate being told what to do. But if they ask…..share the information you’ve gathered, but only about the topic they’ve asked about. Keeping this boundary will protect your relationship!
CREATE A SAFE GRANDPARENT HOME
I’m sure you’re so excited about your grandbaby coming to visit, maybe even having a sleepover. Be prepared. Know the latest safety standards for babies and IMPLEMENT them! Read up about Safe Sleep, and create a safe place for your grandbaby to sleep. Really, it’s as simple as a modest Pack and Play….no bells and whistles, no special anything. Then grab a couple of tightly fitted sheets and some good swaddle blankets and that’s it for a safe space for your grandbaby to sleep.
Look around. What needs shored up or covered to protect your moving grandbaby. Is there a clean space to help care for feeding supplies? Are you going to be the caregiver for your grandchild after their parents return to work? If so, you might want to gather these simple supplies.
HONOR THE PARENTS’ CHOICES
Today’s parents are (sometimes) overloaded with information and want to sort it out themselves. They are deciding on parenting styles, cloth or disposable diapers, breastfeeding, pumping or formula feeding….. the list is endless! Their choice may not remotely be your choice. The bottom line: they are the parents and they get to choose. Unless your grandbaby is in immediate danger, step back, take a breath and wait for them to ask your opinion. And when you give it, be gentle. If your grandbaby is on a tight schedule, keep it. If your grandbaby is fed on demand or not allowed to have solids until one year old, honor that preference.
DON’T BE A GUEST
I know, you can’t help yourself! All you want to do when you go for your first visit to see your grandbaby is to HOLD THAT SWEET BABY. I say, earn that privelege like you earned allowance as a child. Do a task. Make a meal. Tidy up. Then….and only then….offer a shower or time to eat a warm meal or a nap while you hold the baby. See where I’m going with this. In my experience as a postpartum doula (and grandmother), I don’t know a new parent out there who wants to “host” guests while recovering from childbirth, adapting to a new baby and surviving on little sleep. This is your time to take care of your “baby”. They need your help and don’t want to ask.
TAKE A GRANDPARENT CLASS
YES, there is such a thing. If you want to gather all of the latest greatest information, learn all of the new techniques and philosophies, find your nearest grandparent class like the one offered by Family Tree Doula Services .
Now you know all the secrets to being the BEST GRANDPARENT EVER! Enjoy that sweet grandbaby!
Sheryl Cooksley is the CEO and a Certified Postpartum & Infant Care Doula at Family Tree Doula Services serving Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area. She knows first hand the ins and outs of being a grandparent and loves supporting new grandparents by offering a private Grandparent Boot Camp. Find out more here.