Is being a wonderful grandparent nature or nurture? Maybe a little of both. Here is a list of ideas that will help you become grandparents sent from heaven.
The excitement of a new baby is contagious. Everyone wants to be part of the event. Offer your help immediately but understand that the baby and parents may want to spend time together alone. Be respectful of the wishes of the parents. Take your cues from them.
Grandparents often have the impulse to spoil grandchildren, but it is important to remember the rules.
If the majority of ground rules are broken, it can spoil the fun for everyone.
The proper balance of spoiling and discipline is still important for grandparents.
Similarly, don't encourage tantrums. Experts agree that when children have meltdowns, trying to soothe or distract them sends the message that it’s okay to lose control.
When watching your grandkids, don't forget the details. Ask about nap time, bedtime and meal schedules.
Also ask about other ground rules like video preferences and discipline strategies. Knowing this information will help you reinforce the hard work of parents and will make your job easier because you won't have to guess so much.
Tell stories because you are a bridge to your own life, their parents' lives and other important family stories.
Talk to them about their parents and provide details. Tell about how styles have changed and how toys are different. Share embarrassing and funny stories.
Tell stories about your own lives and experiences. It helps create a family bond.
And don't forget the pictures.
Bottom line: don't get frustrated. Join along in the fun with your grandkids, and make a fool of yourself; they'll love you for it.
Make room for finger prints, relaxed schedules and a constant bombardment of questions. Be prepared to slow down and enjoy the small moments.
If possible, child proof your house. It can be stressful for parents when they bring children into a home. Knowing a house is child proof allows parents and grandparents to relax.
Don't forget to 'child proof' your food. Along with all the cookies and chips, have healthy snacks on hand.
Kids like expressing themselves, but it often takes them a little longer. Be patient and let them finish. You'll be able to understand their needs and wants this way and avoid a lot of frustration from both the grandchild and grandparent.
With older grandchildren, encourage them to open up and express themselves. You can provide important insights and knowledge through your life experiences.
If possible, defer disciplining children to their parents. Children are more familiar with their parents' disciplinary style. It also helps parents build confidence in their own parenting abilities.
Sometimes parents aren't around. In this case you should not let your grandkids break too many rules.
Instead of buying your grandchildren more things, spend more time with them and create memories. These memories will last forever.
In addition to birthdays and holidays, remember to call on the "every days."
Baseball games, piano recitals and a fun family event are all reasons to call and say hello.
Remember that there are usually four grandparents. Each set of grandparents has different needs, abilities and opinions.
It can be hard for parents to navigate the different opinions, time demands and advice. Be understanding and remember to let parents have their space and raise their own children. Trust them; after all, you did raise one of the parents yourself.
"When choosing toys for children, parents and grandparents often select those with the highest-powered computer chips, or the most convincing claims of educational benefits. But it's not about what toys can do for your grandchildren; it's about what they can do with the toys. A set of blocks, in the right little hands, is more interactive than the priciest computerized play set. Follow your instincts and let the children's imagination loose," according to grandparents.com.
Grandchildren have a lot of energy, and grandparents aren't as young as they once were. Grandparents need to make sure they don't overdo it when spending time with their grandkids. If necessary, set appropriate boundaries.
"Grandparents rarely offer their children [assistance without interference]. Within the family, assistance and interference come as a package," said Bryan Caplan, author of "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids."
Instead, grandparents should try to be "quietly useful."
"Don't bundle your babysitting or other assistance with unwanted advice about how to raise your grandchildren or run the household."