5 Things Every New and Expecting Grandparent Should Know
Congratulations Grandma and Grandpa! Were you aware that 72% of grandparents care for their grandchildren on a regular basis? Big number, right? Think about where you fit in to that number. Most often in preparation for the new baby, everyone begins buying new furniture and gadgets and search Pinterest for the latest and greatest nursery ideas and parenting tips. Childbirth and breastfeeding classes are booked and bags get packed but what about you, the grandparents? You are too often left in the dust on how to prepare yourself for this exciting time, but alas! We’ve got you covered with 5 things every new and expecting grandparent should know.
1. YOU Need a Class To
Not every class around is developed specifically with grandparents in mind and that can be a small issue. If it has been some time since you last cared for or even held a baby, then you definitely need to find yourself a class to take. It’s not tosay you don’t know what you are doing, but a dedicated infant refresher class for grandparents can help you regain any confidence you may have lost and allow you to ask questions that are specific to becoming grandparents. Trust us, you willlearn a lot.
2.The New Baby IS NOT YOURS
So now that you have your very own class on the calendar, let’s say this part together…”This is NOT my baby.” Sorry, but as much as we love you to pieces, it can be difficult for some new parents to say. Let’s not make them. This may seem a bit harsh, but sometimes you can unintentionally step on the new parents’ toes. Your way of doing things and statements on their type of parenting can affect your relationship. They may not be as likely to invite you over or visit when this happens and we truly don’t want that. There may be times from pregnancy to birth that you may not be included, that needs to be okay with you. Knowing that the new parents need their time alone before the baby and once they are born will go a long way. Your patience, support and understanding will speak to them more than you can imagine! Being the grandparents is your reward for the great job of parenting you have already done!
3.Things have changed
Literally every month there is something new rolling out about new babies and for new babies. There are updates in safety and new research happening everyday. What you did back in your day, which may not have been long ago (wink, wink), is not always what we are doing today. Ask the parents to be or the instructor of that Grandparent Class you take what’s new. Or you can always come back here! Keep in mind that learning is a forever process and be open to hearing about and implementing changes when you around to help care for your grandchild.
4.We Truly NEED You
There comes a time when we just need to pull on our big adult panties and say it - We NEED YOU. Often times more than we let on. We want to feel like we have this parenting thing down from day one, but the fact is we don’t without you. The problem, though is that...well...reread #2. We want you around and need your wisdom, but it not every time you are around. We want to parent our way, but with your advice and experience when it's asked for. Learn to be there the way the new parents need you to, rather than how you want to be there. There is a bit of a difference. They may not need you to babysit, but instead might need a great home cooked meal from grandma's kitchen (hint hint). Talk with them before your grandchild arrives and get to know what’s on their mind!
5.You are the GRANDPARENT
One of the best parts of becoming grandparents is exactly that! You are not the parents, which means you may have to set your boundaries early on. Now this isn’t in every case, but there are many grandparents (you might be one of them and that's ok) that don’t want to be on babysitting duty all of the time. It’s important that you enjoy your grandparent time the way YOU want to versus the way others may want you to. Have a conversation about your expectations for having your grandchild in your care so that there are no questions about your role when they are born. While it’s a sure thing that the new parents will have to pry their baby away from your hugs and love, let’s not leave anything to chance.
Enjoy your new title, you've earned it!