Being a new grandparent is an exciting time. It’s completely different to having your own children – some even argue that it’s more fun.
Whether it’s your first grandchild or your seventh, no two experiences are ever the same. It’s an emotional time for everyone in the family, many are excited, some are nervous – but it’s a time that your family share together.
We’ve gathered some advice from our community, other parents and grandparents, and here are some of tips they’d share with anyone who’s expecting a new grandchild in their life.
They’re Expecting! Respect the parents’ wishes on how they tell everyone.
Finding out your child and their spouse are having a baby is exciting news. You may want to tell everyone you know – of course you want to share the great news and your excitement! But remember that the news is not yours to share. Let the parents tell everyone when they ready in the way they want to share the news. If they want to tell everyone via Facebook or wait until two months before the baby is due, that’s their choice.
Be supportive of the mum-to-be.
Don’t tell her about your difficult pregnancy or traumatic child-birth story, the expectant mother (especially if it’s her first) is probably nervous enough as it is. Instead, try to be supportive and let her know that it’s okay to be worried and that you’re there for her for anything she needs.
Some expectant mums are calm and collected, others may be rather stressed and nervous in light of all the preparations they have to do. Most will probably happily accept help when you offer it. There’s lots you can do – offer to help with the older children, help your children choose/buy baby goods, some might even appreciate your opinion in choosing a baby name.
This new baby is your grandchild – not your child.
One of the key things about having a strong bond with your grandchild, is maintaining a healthy bond with the parents. Remember that though you have decades of experience under your belt, that these are not your children – they are your grandchildren. Though you mean well and it comes from a place of love, your children and their spouses may not always appreciate unsolicited parenting advice. They will raise them the way they see fit, just because it’s different to what you did, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.
Bond with the older grandchildren.
As a new grandparent, you’re going to want to spoil and shower the new baby with lots of love and attention. It’s only natural. But don’t let that get in the way of your other older grandchildren, should you have any.
Children can get jealous, make sure you let them know that even though there’s a new baby that you are still their grandparent and that you love them. In fact, a new arrival is a great time to bond with the older grandchildren as their parents are busy with the new baby.
Be Flexible and Be Present.
There are no rules about being a grandparent – nowhere does it say you have to be there everyday. In today’s society many people live on the other side of the world from their grandchild. Some grandparents are still working and have very busy schedules (or vice versa of the parents). This is not something you should feel guilty about.
However, it’s still important to be there for the child and to let them know you are thinking of them. There are many ways of doing this. Some people write handwritten letters that their grandchildren can collect and read, some people call regularly to ask their grandchildren how their week was. One of the most popular ways of keeping in touch is video calls (such as Facetime or Skype) which you can enjoy even when they’re still a baby and can’t talk yet.
Being a grandparent is a very special role. It’s unique, you’re not their parent and you’re not their friend. You get to be the one they have fun with, who spoils them, the one they run to when they’re mad at mum or dad.