Grandparents can be vital role models for their grandchildren. In Australia, two in five grandparents with a grandchild under the age of 13 provide some sort of childcare to help out parents, and one in four grandparents with a grandchild under 13 provide childcare at least once a week, with more frequent childcare being typical for babies and toddlers. Older people can inspire kids and ensure they feel unconditionally loved and believed in. Of course, when it comes to grandparents, there are a myriad of myths and expectations that are a far cry from reality. If you want your parents to be key figures in your children’s lives from babyhood onwards, then the first thing to ensure is that everyone freely communicates their wants, needs, and time availabilities. This way, everyone will know exactly where they stand.
Setting Up a Schedule
Routines are vital in a baby’s life. They ensure that the baby sleeps well, is fed when they are hungry, and washed at the same time every day. As your child grows, you logically become more flexible and make more plans on the spot, but when they are babies, a schedule can be a lifeline. It ensures that you rest, get to work on time, and meet your personal and professional goals. Talk to your parents about the times when you would like them to lend a hand and make sure it does not interfere with their plans.
Respecting Grandparent’s Limits and Setting Your Own
Some grandparents are highly independent. They may drive, have their professional schedules and routines and a thriving social life. Others may wish to take a few daycare duties for a few hours or more a day, or on certain days of the week. It is important to recognize grandparents’ limits and boundaries, while also letting them know how and where you want your baby to spend their day. For instance, if you are dead-set on group daycare, then let your parent know why and try to maintain a little flexibility if they wish to play a larger role in their grandchild’s life. They might ask to do this by taking over one or even half a day a week, or by taking the task of picking your baby up from daycare and taking them to your home. You make the rules for your child, but a little flexibility can go a long way in maintaining happy family relationships.
Giving Something Back
You may wonder how you can enrich the lives of your parents, so they feel like they are part of a thriving age-inclusive community. If you live in the same area as your parents, there are many steps you can take to create a supportive community for them. A dynamic community should cover specific requirements, including good quality housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, good transport, social inclusion, communication, and community and health services. To boost your parents’ sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, set up a resident group that includes people of all ages. This group can include members of local volunteer groups, local government staff, and philanthropic business owners. Broach subjects that you feel would greatly improve your parents’ quality of life. For instance, if your area needs more green areas where grandparents and kids can relax, meet up with other families, and play, members of your stakeholder group can suggest the exact steps that will help you achieve this communal goal.
Seeking Support and Guidance
Grandparents are a treasure trove of advice, but sometimes, they may be reluctant to suggest tips and tricks because they don’t want to overstep your boundaries. You may be surprised with how much they can help with everything from swaddling a baby to soothing colic or helping a baby sleep. While you have to make vital decisions for your baby, letting grandparents know that their life experience and advice is valued can help them feel like a vital part of your family. You don’t have to take every piece of advice they give, but making an effort not to feel defensive when they suggest a different way of doing things will help keep the peace.
Making your parents important in your child’s life is easy, whenever you communicate freely. Openly discuss each other’s boundaries and expectations, and exercise a little flexibility where possible. Ensure your parents have a full life independently of their role as grandparents by working to create an inclusive, vibrant community that values people of all ages.
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:
Sara is now a freelance writer who pens pieces on parenting, and lifestyle but prior to this she worked as an holistic therapist and took a keen interest in diet and fitness. She lives with her partner and their daughter and a menagerie of pets