We're about to become first-time grandparents and would like to hear tips from others to make this the best experience for our new grandbaby and our son and daughter-in-law. We have a good relationship with the kids and live close by. I want to be supportive and helpful, but don't want to overstep boundries in my role as mother-in-law.
The fact that you are concerned about overstepping shows you are sensitive to the possibility. Don’t make the mistake my daughter’s in-laws made. They were way too involved, dropping in all of the time, telling them how to do every little thing. In a time that should have been joyous for all, they ended up alienating the kids through their controlling, nitpicking behavior. Remember what it was to be a new mother, and support their decisions and privacy.
On the day the baby is born buy a New York Times and take the baby’s picture with the front page. Do this each year and you will have a historic chronicle that shows how the child has grown year to year. Use the pictures to make a scrapbook for a perfect high school graduation present the child will treasure forever.
As they get accustomed to becoming new parents, respect their need for lots of alone time. Ask how you can help, and follow their wishes. Doing errands for them (shopping etc.) is a great way to give them more time to enjoy the baby. You’ll have plenty of time to babysit later.
Have they chosen names yet? They may want to check babynamewizard.com. It is a great resource for meanings, popularity trends, etc.
But whatever their choice, even it it’s a name that holds unpleasant memories for you, remember it is their decision, not yours. Supporting their choice (even if you have to be fantastic actors) is a great way to start off on the right foot as grandparents
Today’s economy is a wake-up call for parents about how difficult it can be to afford to send their children to college. Start a college fund for your grandchild and contribute to it every year. Your gift will help ensure your grandchildren will be able to realize their dreams. For a comparison of 529 funds go to Morningstar.com. They rate them on a number of factors
People have given some good advice. I would say, though, do NOT start a college fund if you cannot do so for each and every grandkid that follows. (I don't believe in parents paying for their children's college anyway. I put myself through, my siblings did, I firmly believe "where there's a will there's a way.")
Best advice...take this knowing that I have a BIG SMILE on my face... BUTT OUT!!! Realize that you have NO rights and grandparenting is a privilege that you can lose very easily if you nag. You need to be the cheerleader, not the encyclopedia. They want to breastfeed the baby till it's four years old? Fine. They want to raise the child as a vegan? Great. They want to homeschool the child until high school is finished? Offer to do some of the teaching! Be their biggest supporter and do not speak of their parenting practices behind their back.
If you are honestly morally opposed to any of their parenting practices, it's best to step back and not visit but a few times a year. It would be better for both parties if you just did that.
Also, realize that times have changed since you have raised children.....
Babies and kids (sometimes up to 8-10 years old) have to be in a carseat. I know, I know, you didn't use them and your kids turned out fine. But it's the law now and never ever try to get around using carseats. You will regret it and it will break your relationship with your children.....today's parents are passionate about car safety and they will not compromise.
"Breast is best" I know, I know, you fed your kids formula and they turned out fine. Most moms are breastfeeding today, at least for the first few months. Breastfeedng is different than bottlefeeding.......bottlefeeding needs to be scheduled; breastfeeding can be done at any time and in fact is encouraged to nurse a LOT in the first few weeks. Educate yourself by going to La Leche League, with your daughter/dautherinlaw if possible. I repeat, breastfeeding is DIFFERENT THAN BOTTLEFEEDING. Do NOT discourage your daughter/dtr in law if she chooses breastfeeding.
(Conversely, if you breastfed and the new mommy has chosen to bottlefeed, don't say anything! Just smile!)
Today, parents are encouraged to put babies on their BACKS to sleep. Dont' argue with the new parents, even though your babies slept on their stomachs. I repeat, DONT ARGUE with the new parents on this subject, either.
Walking....today's parents are told that babies should learn to walk BEFORE they get their first pair of shoes. It's supposed to be better for foot and ankle development or something like that. Don't criticize and don't offer to buy some shoes for junior before he learns to walk.
Don't read parenting magazines and then give them to your children.
Here's a fun activity for you to do with your new grandchildren!
Making Personalized Kidlandia Maps is a wonderful activity for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy spending time together while making a family keepsake. Kidlandia.com allows participants to create custom imaginary kingdoms on maps and puzzles. The names of the regions are custom made to fit into your family, like "Anna Island" and "Tucker River." Include every member of the family, including pets and nicknames.
Your grandchildren will love these maps for the fun and personalization as well as the memory of making something truly unique with you!
It's said that being a grandparent is the best job in the world. And while most seasoned grandparents will readily agree with this statement, the prospect of becoming a grandma or grandpa can be daunting for first-timers.
Much has changed since you were a parent: New technology and evolutions in medicine have forever altered the landscape of parenting. In addition to these countless changes, how do you walk the fine line of being supportive without overstepping your bounds? Such thoughts can overwhelm grandparents-to-be.
Thankfully, there are thoroughly tested pieces of advice and an assortment of classes to help ease the transition into the world's best job