10 Tips for Good Grandmothering
1. Before the baby comes, sit down with the parents and talk about what role they envision for you in the life of their child. And let them know what your hopes and desires are in becoming a grandparent.
2. Agree in advance on some basic boundaries. What will determine when, where and how often you’ll be able to see your grandkids? Will your arrangement be flexible, casual and spontaneous, or will advance notice and planning be required?
3. Resist the urge to overindulge your grandchildren. Sure, it’s a grandmother’s prerogative to spoil them occasionally, but respect their parents’ wishes when it comes to the frequency and monetary value of gifts. You want the children to love you for who you are, not what you bring them.
4. Enjoy your time with your grandchildren. Make your time together as loving and as fun as possible. Find creative ways to surprise and delight them.
5. Offer your support, but don’t interfere. Remember, you’re not the parent… your son or daughter is. Give advice when they ask for it. Or gently encourage. But don’t push the envelope and risk your relationship with your grandkids’ parents.
6. Never say, “I told you so!”
7. Be a source of inspiration to your grandchildren. Teach them valuable lessons, moral truths, and pass along cherished family traditions.
8. If you’re called upon to babysit, make sure you’re in the know, from the names of their favorite cartoon characters to their favorite snacks. Brush up on your basic first-aid, and know who and where to call in case of an emergency.
9. If you are a long-distance grandma, find ways to keep in touch with your grandchildren. Consider getting a web-based phone service that will allow video conferencing so you can see your grandkids and they can see you. Call them, text them if they’re old enough to read, and send them cards and letters in the mail. You can even create a family web page where you and your grandkids can post pictures from time to time.
10. Build a foundation of availability, open communication, trust and security. Participate in their lives consistently, and you’ll create a lasting relationship that will continue throughout their lives and into adulthood.
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