When your children were growing up, you had to make up the rules and ways to enforce them. But when you’re a grandparent, it’s your children who are in charge of the parenting. It can sometimes be difficult to let go, but it’s necessary to wait until you’re asked before handing out your wisdom.
PREPARE EARLY FOR CHANGES
Before the baby is born, discuss your expectations and concerns with the new parents. Ask how you can help.
REMAIN A POSITIVE INFLUENCE
It’s crucial not to undermine your children’s authority with their children. It’s normal to disagree, but avoid reprimanding your children in front of their children. You can openly discuss what’s bothering you when you’re away from the grandchildren.
TIME AND ATTENTION ARE IMPORTANT
Spend quality time with your grandchildren. Get to know their interests and talents. Your enthusiastic acknowledgment of their activities will mean a lot to them.
Don’t miss out on special events because you’re afraid of imposing. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate your involvement.
LINK TO THE PAST
Share your childhood and adult experiences. Give your grandchildren an understanding of your life, past and present. Record your family history on tape or in writing, and show your grandchildren photographs of yourself and your family when you were a child.
Take time to childproof your home. Put breakables and dangerous items out of the reach of grandchildren.
USE APPROPRIATE FURNITURE
That old crib may be beautiful, but is it safe? New cribs are required to have spaces no wider than 2 and three-eighths inches between the slats, no cutouts on the headboard and footboard and a mattress that fits snugly. (If you can fit more than two fingers between the mattress and crib, it’s not safe.)
Use a car seat that meets federal guidelines for children up to 4 years or 40 pounds. A secure highchair should have a broad base, locking tray and safety straps. Don’t use old furniture with peeling paint or loose or small parts that can cause a child to choke.