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I Want To Be A Good Grandparent!

As a new grandparent you want to be the best you can be! Your new role is not as daunting as becoming a first time parent but many things have undoubtedly changed since your own children were little. With so many more mothers returning to work childcare is required more often and many grandparents find so much joy in helping to look after the new additions to the family.

In terms of setting off on the right foot with your child and his or her partner you can look at these helpful hints:

•    When the baby is born send a present to the mother. Make sure it is a gift specifically for her like a back cushion to ease her comfort or flowers and bath smellies to keep her spirits uplifted
•    Offer to help especially during the first three months after the baby’s birth when both parents will be tired
•    Ensure that you ask the parents when it is convenient to come and help as they will need time alone as a new family
•    You need to be direct about how much time and help you are willing to give because if you are over burdened and tired you could become resentful
•    Do not criticize your child’s partner as this could begin to negatively impact on your relationship with both of them
•    There are sometimes four grandparents so be understanding that all of you will have your own opinions, ideas, requirements and capabilities

When it comes to looking after your new grandchild in your own home make sure that you have written down all the information you need to do so. It is a good idea to make notes about feeding times, bed and nap times and formula quantities. As your grandchild becomes older make a note of what programmes they are allowed to watch. It may be a good idea to baby or child proof your home in a similar way that your child has done to his or her own. The more relaxed you are looking after your grandchild the more joy you will receive from the experience. Have healthy snacks at hand and try not to bribe the children with sweets. If your grandchildren misbehave it is a good idea to defer to their parents. Give the parents the high status they deserve; do not have secrets between you and your grandchild.

Collecting and ferrying around your grandchildren in a car means you need to know how to safely buckle them up. Ask your child to show you the proper and safe use of the child seat, pram and or push chair. Remember that children’s experiences and memories are more valuable than gifts so think of fun activities to do with them. Nature walks are great fun where you can look for and identify plants, trees and wildlife. Or if you are strolling around the neighbourhood you can play a game giving scores out of ten to people’s front gardens you walk past. Always ask the parents whether they agree to your suggested activity. Reading to your grandchildren is a wonderful pastime which they will treasure. As they become older show them that there is more fun to be had with puzzles and board games than watching television programmes.

Remember not to favour one grandchild. Love and nurture them equally. Remember their birthdays! Your role is invaluable and your grandchildren should feel they can talk to you openly so encourage them to do so. There is a saying ‘There’s no place like home except grandma’s’.

By Eirian Hallinan

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