There comes a time during the senior years when your adult child, out of necessity, would ask you if you could come and look after their children-your grandchildren. After retirement years, with only your husband or yourself to look after, are you ready for this? A more important question is, would you be able to do things at your son- or daughter-in-law's house their way instead of yours?
Here are some coping suggestions from grandparenting classes that you may find particularly helpful:
Remember to be supportive.
Your children's ideas may not match yours, especially in the areas of discipline and pediatric advice. But each generation has the right to bring up its children as best they can, and grandparents must realize that these efforts should not be undermined. Most of us born in the 60's or 70's experienced an occasional swat to the backside, and some have employed this method to their own children. But times have changed. Now, children are more vocal and many behavioral techniques can be done to discipline without hitting a child.
If you take a wrong step, admit your mistake.
Some doting grandparents would reason that "just one cookie before dinner?" wouldn't hurt, even though the parents of the child have instructed not to feed the children such. Repetition of this kind of behavior may result in fewer visits from the grandchildren, until the air is cleared by proper apologies. If a conflict occurs, explain to your children that grandparenting is a new experience to you and you will try to do better. This humble confession to being human may make closer family bonds.
Try to keep a light heart.
A sense of humor will ease your babysitting duties and endear your grandchildren to you. For example, have you tried to induce a toddler to do something he isn't interested in doing? Making a game of the task is fun, works much better than coercion, and you'll feel less exhausted.
Take special pains to enjoy your grandchildren.
They grow so quickly there is little time to savor their infancy and early childhood. You can make memories to enrich the lives of the whole family by planning special time with your grandchildren to read, watch videos, play games, and explore for nature objects. Be sure to remember their birthdays, and if possible send gifts at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and other important holidays that your family is observing if you can't be with them during those occasions.
Try to foster close family relationships.
Photographs are one of the best ways to remember family relationships. With the technology nowadays, it's very possible to keep in touch in various ways. Keep in touch by sharing pictures and stories either through email or social networks.
Keep in mind that a good grandparenting is nurtured by love and the rewards are great.