Building a Role of Grandparents in Children's Lives
We understand every family dynamic is different, but we have heard from our grandparents that they would like to know how to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. Here are some tips from both sides of the relationship. The goal is to establish communication and the role of grandparents in a child's life that make both the parents and children happy, safe and satisfied.
- Check in with all of the grandparents involved as there may be multiple sets. After you and your significant other, there is no one who loves or wants them to succeed as much. Don't overlook the grandparents' role in child development and parenting help, if that is what you want. Grandparents can be a wealth of knowledge and can teach life lessons. Sometimes the children are more receptive hearing certain messages from the grandparents.
- It is so important to let the grandparents know your expectations for your child. Sometimes this is difficult to do, especially when it surrounds skincare. How do you tell your own mother or mother-in-law that you would like things done differently? The answer is with honesty and respect.
- Find out your child's (and their partner's) expectations for grandparents and grandchildren time.
- Are there routines that they'd like for you to maintain as the grandparent? Knowing just the right schedule for meals and at bedtime may make the time so better for you and your grandchild.
- Learn your grandchild's daily schedule and skincare routine (if that is ok with them). Knowing when they usually eat, how much time they need to get ready for an event, when outside playtime is okay (keeping in mind overheating and sunscreen needs), will allow you to provide more consistency for your grandchild.
- Are there some activities that are off-limits?
Does this mean grandparents have to follow the rules at all times? Probably not. We know grandkids love to stay up late at Grandpa's house, get another scoop of ice cream, or rent another movie? Grandma's house can be a very special place with its own set of routines but be certain that the fun is still within the parenting parameters set by the child's parents.
Whatever your grandkids lovingly call you - understand the special importance of grandparents in the family. It is always best to remember that your children are now the responsible adults who have created an entirely new family, with new rules and boundaries. You went through this process years ago, so remember how good it felt to be respected and have your decisions validated as parents.
Enjoy the relationships you have built!