Whether they’re the “spoiling” or more traditional type, their first role is to pass on memories to future generations. However, grandparents are free to choose the nature of their relationship to their grandkids. Here’s our advice to find the right balance for every member of your family!
Grandparents are more and more involved
Healthcare progress, lowering of the legal age of retirement, sociological changes…: grandparents are more involved in their grandkids’ lives than they’ve ever been! In 2011, there were 15 million grandparents in France. For the most part, they are active and dynamic, sometimes they still have a job, today’s grandparents are well-equipped to play an important part in their grandchildren’s lives.
When they live closeby, they’re often solicited for last minute babysitting or regular supervision on wednesdays. When they live further away, they’re also on call for exciting holidays away from the parents and the daily routine!
But in reality, it’s not always as smooth as it seems: relationships between grandparents and grandkids can be rather complex.
You live closeby, you get together on a regular basis; your children grew up close to them. But make sure the situation is clear for everybody.
Grandparents are the ideal babysitters, especially when they live nearby… And they’re free of charge! But be careful not to abuse this situation: your parents/in-laws have a life of their own…
For small children, spending a lot of time with their grandparents can lead to confusion: who’s Mom and who’s Grandma? In which house did I leave my teddy bear?
Make sure boundaries are clear: requesting help from your parents/in-laws all the time may cause misunderstandings, in education too. Your are the parents: it is your duty to make it clear and curb all will to interfere in your education choices. It’s okay for your kids to follow slightly different rules when they’re with their grandparents, however, your education principles should not be questioned by your parents or in-laws.
Also, beware of signs of fatigue… For most grandparents, spending time with their grandchildren is all pure love and joy… But keep in mind that it also takes up a lot of energy, especially when they’re around a lot! Even if they’re active and healthy, seniors are more easily tired and may be embarrassed and shy about it. It’s your responsibility to anticipate and bring it up if necessary.
Grandparents who live away
They’re often roped in to take care of your kids during the holidays. It’s essential to maintain the bond, despite the distance: first, because both grandparents and grandkids ask for it, and also because it allows to maintain a balance and a link between generations. But be careful: distance is not always just a matter of kilometers…
It’s all about communication: you were counting on your parents to take over during Easter holidays, but this year they’ve decided to go on a cruise… Even when you don’t feel that close to them, try to synchronize your schedules to avoid bad surprises and stress.
Sometimes grandparents don’t seem very eager to take care of their grandchildren, but it is not due to a lack of interest: they may just be a little concerned… Scared about the responsibility (especially if your kids are small), scared that they don’t have enough stamina and that their health might fail them… In this case, all they need is for you to show them other options: shorter durations, only one child at a time, or wait until the kids are more independent.
Certain grandparents imagine their role in a somewhat oldschool manner: they might not be that interested in taking care of little children. In this case, don’t force it on them. Stay attentive and let them show their interest when they feel like it.
Grandparents and grandchildren: it’s a never ending love story. Their presence, either steady or occasional, is essential for your child’s development. But the relationship must be fulfilling to all of you: no need to force anybody if it doesn’t go smoothly. And when your kids do spend the holidays at their grandparents, don’t forget to pack the Weenect Kids GPS tracker, to stay in touch and avoid anxiety, on both sides!65% of families ask grandparents to take care of the kids during the holidays. Click To Tweet