Extended visits with small grandchildren can be exhilarating or exhausting. These are 10 dos and don’ts for grandparents.
Don’t Set a Bad Example: Small grandchildren will spot any lapses in healthy or polite conduct. Extended visits may be a good opportunity for grandparents to revive their New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t Disrupt Routines without Consulting the Parents: Respect the parents’ wishes on any routines that must be enforced. This could include special diets, naptimes, or wearing matching socks.
Don’t Overspend: Grandparents may feel pressure to compensate if long distances, remarriages or other factors limit the time they can spend with their grandchildren. It’s better to lavish attention on them than to go overboard with buying things. It can backfire by causing unrealistic expectations and making the parents’ job harder when they return home. If you want to be generous, make a contribution to their college fund.
Don’t Forget Down Time: Everyone needs time to adjust to a new environment. Give small grandchildren a chance to settle in for a long visit instead of scheduling too many activities at the start. Bringing a favorite toy or other possessions may also help them to acclimate themselves.
Don’t Be a Stranger: If circumstances make it impossible to see your grandchildren on a regular basis, find ways to stay in touch to make infrequent visits less awkward. You can set up scheduled phone times or weekly emails. Exchanging cards and letters is also great practice for children who may not get much other opportunity to do so.
Do Child-proof Your Home: Check your home for any hazards including medications and any small objects that could be a choking hazard. Always provide adequate supervision around swimming pools, bathtubs, and electrical appliances.
Do Check the Guidelines if You Live in an Age-Restricted Community: Senior communities usually allow children to visit but make sure you follow all the rules.
Do Get Free Tech Support: Small grandchildren can be a priceless source of free tech support. It will help their self esteem to explain your remote control to you.
Do Get Educational Toys: Retailers like Educational Toys Planet have beneficial and inexpensive toys and games recommended by teachers and child development experts. Check their top 10 lists categorized by interests and ages from newborns to children over 10.
Do Read Together: Extended visits are a great chance for grandparents to help small grandchildren develop a life-long love for reading.