Becoming a grandma is a fantastic experience. Babies are a blessing and welcoming a grandchild can be both exciting and rewarding.
It can also be a difficult time to navigate and you might worry about doing things wrong.
Whether it’s the pregnancy or birth, knowing how to interact with child and grandchild can be a tricky balance of offering your experience and allowing the new parents to figure things out themselves.
In this article, we will look at the top 10 tips for a new grandma.
Offer Advice If Asked
One of the trickiest parts of becoming a grandma is knowing when to offer advice, especially with first-time parents.
As a grandma, you will have years of experience in looking after your own child or children and it can be tempting to immediately jump in with advice whether you’ve been asked or not.
Always keep in mind that raising a child isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Every child and every parent is different and has different needs, so your experiences may not be relevant or helpful.
Medicine and psychology are always evolving and advancing so even some of the advice you were given by professionals can be out of date and incorrect.
Even something as obviously dangerous now as smoking while pregnant was commonplace a few decades ago.
Be supportive and offer advice when it is asked for. When you do give advice, try to be non-judgmental and free of criticism with your words, tone, and body language.
Remember that being pregnant and welcoming a new baby is a frightening time full of worry and uncertainty and try not to add to those negative thoughts with your advice.
Be Available But Not Pushy
Although it’s tempting to be a constant presence in the life and home of your new grandchild, don’t crowd the new parents.
Let them know that you are available and willing to help if required, but don’t push things.
Give the new parents time to bond with their baby without you being there and don’t arrive at their home unannounced.
Make sure they are aware that you are willing to give them as much, or as little, help as they need.
Although you may think that your presence will be reassuring, it can instead put the new parents on edge and make them feel like you’re watching over their shoulder and judging their skills.
For some families, your presence will be welcome at all stages of the pregnancy and the first months of the new baby’s life. For other families, occasional visits will be best.
The best balance for you, the new parents, and your grandchild will depend entirely on your family relationship, history, and your willingness to compromise.
Remember that your child is now an adult with a child of their own and trust their judgement.
Whether you are giving advice or just passing general comments, always be encouraging. It doesn’t matter if your child is a first-time parent or not, every parent can benefit from encouraging words and a confidence boost.
Be free with your praise when things are going well and offer encouragement when things aren’t.
Looking after a new baby can be stressful and isolating and it’s easy for a new parent to feel like they’re doing everything wrong, even if they aren’t.
Tell your child that you believe in their abilities and skills and help them regain the confidence they might have lost.
Let them know that they can handle any situation that comes their way and give them reassurance.
This can be difficult at times, especially if you don’t agree with all of their choices, but it’s an important part of being a grandma.
Being encouraging will help strengthen your bond and relationship with your child more than being critical and this will also help your relationship with your grandchild.
Keep Your Opinions To Yourself Unless Asked
This goes hand in hand with some of the previous tips but is important enough to warrant its own section.
There may be many times when your child makes a decision regarding your grandchild that you don’t agree with.
Unless the decision is going to cause direct harm to the baby, try not to jump in with criticism or disapproval.
No matter how strongly you feel, don’t tell your child that they are wrong or act like they are doing something wrong. This can be very, very difficult!
There may be reasons behind your child’s decisions or actions that you are unaware of and even if there aren’t, people rarely react well to being told they are wrong.
This is especially true of someone who is potentially emotional and tired, as many new parents are.
If you do feel the need to offer an opinion that goes against your child, try to be understanding.
Don’t criticize or accuse and instead try to see things from their point of view and understand why they are doing what they are doing.
Remember that something different isn’t necessarily something wrong.
Love And Protect Your Grandchild
This sounds obvious, but can be more difficult than you’d expect in practice. Every child is different and they will have their own personalities, likes, and dislikes.
Don’t get an image in your head of what you want your grandchild to be and then feel disappointed when they don’t reflect that image. Your love should always be unconditional and based on who they are, not who they should be.
Part of loving your grandchild includes providing them a safe place to be. If you’re going to be babysitting at your home, make sure that it is safe for them.
Look around your house for anything that could be dangerous and either remove or replace them.
You should also have all the supplies you need. It’s likely that your child will have all of the diapers and wipes that you need and will bring them with your grandchild, but having extras is never a bad idea.
You can even look into getting a blanket or some type of crib for your grandchild to sleep in.
You may be the grandma, but that doesn’t mean that you get to be selfish with your grandchild.
There will be other people in the life of your grandchild that will want to know them and share their life and they are entitled to this time just as much as you are.
Whether it’s the new parents’ friends or other family members, allow others to share the joy without feeling left out or like your time is being stolen.
Be considerate and allow your grandchild to learn from other people as well. Babies learn from their environments and the people around them and they have enough love to share with their grandma and many others, too.
Pick A Name
When your grandchild becomes old enough to understand language and talk, how do you want them to refer to you?
Your grandchild might be lucky enough to have two grandmothers and instead of having you both referred to by the same name, you can choose a name that will distinguish you from the other grandmother (see also ‘15 Super Fun Grandmother Shower Games‘).
If you have a good relationship, you can even discuss this with the other grandma and decide on names that appeal to you both.
There are so many names you can choose from, such as grandma, nana, granny, mimi, nonna, or gram.
They all mean the same thing, but can add some personality and individuality to your relationship with your grandchild.
NEED SOME IDEAS FOR GRANDMA NAMES? READ “WHAT TO CALL GRANDMA” HERE.
Keep A Camera Close At Hand
Children grow up so quickly. Before you are even aware that it has happened, your new grandchild will be walking and talking and soon they’ll be starting at school.
You can help to capture all of the stages of your grandchild’s life by making sure your camera, or your phone, are at hand to take photos that will last forever.
Although taking photos is a great idea, try not to get too distracted by capturing that perfect shot. Life in the moment and snap photos when you can.
Often the most chaotic photos are the best ones as they tell a story of their own. Try to get some photos of yourself with your grandchild, too.
Keep Your Memories Organized
As well as taking photos, there are other ways to keep memories of your grandchild. Consider making a scrapbook or photo album to keep photos or other items such as handprints or souvenirs from days out.
You could also start a diary or blog to capture your thoughts, memories, and stories of your grandchild’s life as well.
In future years, you will greatly appreciate the memories you have captured and they can help deepen your bond with both your child and grandchild.
Buy Some Children’s Books
One of the best ways to connect and spend time with your grandchild is through reading. It doesn’t matter how old your grandchild is, kids of all ages can benefit from reading with family members.
Young babies will enjoy hearing your voice and can become transfixed by large and brightly colored books as you snuggle.
As kids get older, they will enjoy the stories, learn to use their imaginations, and can enjoy spending time with their grandma.
You can instill a love of reading with your grandchild from an early age and this will help them as they begin their formal education.
SPEKAING OF BUYING THINGS, YOU WILL HAVE THE URGE TO SHOWER YOUR NEW LOVE WITH GIFTS. TO HELP YOU PAY FOR THESE PRESENTS READ ABOUT GREAT SIDE HUSTLES FOR MATURE WOMEN HERE.
Becoming a grandma can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It’s not without its difficulties, however, and it’s very easy to get things wrong or overstep your mark.
Always follow the lead of your child and don’t offer advice or criticism unless it is asked for and be careful with your words and tone.
New parents need encouragement, not condemnation, and you will create a better relationship with your grandchild if you support your child.
We hope that the hints and tips in this article will help you develop a great relationship with your grandchild for many years to come.