When you buy a new car, it comes with an owner’s manual – even a toaster includes an instructional pamphlet, yet babies are a learn-as-you-go endeavour. Many new parents feel overwhelmed at the responsibilities of caring for their infants, yet are hesitant to reach out for help and advice.
Grandparents can offer their help, but they must be careful not to offend their grown children and make them feel as though the offers imply that they are less than competent parents.
Making Yourself Available
Today’s grandparents are often busy people, with assorted career and social obligations. While some grandparents may fit the traditional mold of rocking chair seated providers of home baked treats, many have schedules that prohibit them from spending very much time in their kitchens.
Despite the changes in grandparents over the past few generations, one thing hasn’t changed – grandparents have a great appreciation for their grandkids and are often willing to go to great lengths to spend time with and make the children happy.
Grandparents need to let their grown children know that they hope to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives and that they are willing to make themselves available to help if and when they are needed.
While offering help is a great thing, grandparents should avoid behaving as though there is only one correct way to raise children.
It can be natural for experienced parents to feel that they know the right ways to handle all child related situations, but unless parents are putting their children in harm’s way, there is plenty of room for individual expressions when it comes to sound parenting.
Grandparents need to give their grown children the respect that they deserve when it comes to the decisions that they make regarding how they care for their kids.
Making suggestions can easily be misinterpreted as being judgmental, so whenever possible, grandparents should wait to be asked for advice before doling any out.
Offering Parents a Break
Grandparents are often enamoured with their grandchildren and crave time with them. New parents are often stressed, sleep deprived, and in need of a break. Clearly, the two generations have the ability to give each other exactly what they want and need.
New parents would be wise to allow their own parents to take care of the babies for an occasional evening or weekend afternoon, taking that time relax and socialise (or just catch up on sleep!).
This arrangement benefits not only the new parents, who can take some much needed time for themselves while knowing that their children are in good hands, but for the grandparents and new babies, as well.
The relationship between children and their grandparents is an important one, and spending time together right from the beginning can help the generations to build strong, loving bonds.
Ask most any new grandparent about their grandbabies and you’d better be ready to listen to endless stories about how beautiful and brilliant the children are.
Most likely, these stories will be accompanied by the presentation of a large variety of photos of small, smiling people.
Grandkids are one of the purest joys in life and most grandparents are thrilled at the notion of adding a new generation to their families.
By making themselves available to their children and grandchildren, grandparents can help their families to grow happily.