Benefits of Grandparents Babysitting

Benefits of Grandparents As Babysitters

Babysitting benefits are no surprise to me as a grandmother. Grateful is the word I use to describe how I feel when I am with my grandchildren whether babysitting or just visiting. They are the light in my life and I am proud to admit that.

It amazes me when I hear grandmothers say…”I have my own life”…and I don’t want to be a babysitter almost as if babysitting their own grandchildren is demeaning and takes away from “their own life”.

My grandchildren are a unique part of this stage of my life and I am both happy and proud to grandparent. It has been a blessing to see our family grow to include another generation.

GrandparentsWhen you’re a grandma, there aren’t many things better than spending time with your grandchildren. And, according to research, babysitting your grandchildren doesn’t just add joy to your life — it can also help keep you sharp as a tack in your golden years.

This blog’s name reflects the fact that parenting is indeed a “loop” handed down from generation to generation in a family.  Grandparents are a significant part of that “loop”. Sharing among generations to me is one of the important parts of being a family.

Now, a study has shown an added benefit to “babysitting”…you can actually stay more mentally sharp in these “Golden Years”. Grandchildren for me put the “gold” in these years.

So bring me the grandkids ..I cherish my time with them!

Source: Grandmothers and Dementia – Benefits of Grandparents Babysitting

Holidays and Indulgent Grandparents…

Grandparents and Gifts

grandparents

The holidays are almost here and gifts will be pouring in from relatives to your children especially well meaning grandparents. It can quickly get overwhelming for you as parents and your kids. This is not a good feeling.

What if anything do you do to control the amount and type of gifts your kids receive at Christmas and Hanukah?

Let’s assume that most grandparents are well meaning even though you may think that sometimes they have lost their minds when it comes to gift giving.

grandparents

If it is not too late, try to have a conversation with them about what your children would like for gifts and what actually might be some really great gifts. This is not always a comfortable conversation to have but if you sandwich your points between two positive comments, it can soften the discussion. You might begin a conversation by telling them how helpful they have been recently, being specific and then swing into the gift topic.

Always end discussions like this with another positive thought as it leaves the conversation with an upbeat feeling instead of a decree about how you are raising your children and what grandparents can and cannot give them as gifts. To me, it is a blessing to have a grandchild.

My motto here, is to be kind as you never know what kind of day your family members are dealing with…we all have our difficulties to negotiate each day.

 

“Up and Away” for Grandparents

Are you an Up and Away Grandparent?

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Becoming a grandparent has been the greatest highlight of my life.

I always knew the grandparent-grandchild relationship was a powerful and special one, from my own close relationship with my maternal grandmother.

grandmother and granddaughter

She and I were very attached, in fact, my mother, brother and I lived with her.
As I recall, she was very careful to explain to me that I must always ask before I ate anything, whether it was candy from her special candy bowl, cookies from the cookie jar or food from the fridge. I learned her rule early on and knew, most times she gave her permission for treats if I simply asked her. Hers was a simple rule. I guess it made me realize that I mustn’t eat things unless I asked first.

In the 50’s when I was growing up, medicine containers did not have special lock caps on them, children’s medicine always tasted like some sort of candy and adult pills looked like M&Ms. Except for today’s lid lock containers not much has changed.

As I recall, in my childhood home alll medications were kept very high up on a shelf so I could not reach them. When I had my own kids I kept the same habit of putting bottles up high, I took care to refrigerate medication on the highest shelf in the back of the fridge, as inaccessible as possible.

During my work as a pediatric nurse, I had personally seen what improper use of medications could do to both adults and children.  So even aspirin was off limits to my teenagers since there is a connection to aspirin and a potentially life threatening illness known as Reye’s Syndrome.

Today, I guess you would call me a helicopter grandparent when it comes to medications in my home where my grandchild is a frequent visitor. She spends time with us and has her own room so she feels very comfortable going to cabinets, getting snacks and raiding the refrigerator at 6 years of age.

Just as any good grandparent, I worry about her safety. You see, she has a nut allergy as well. So at a very young age, she was made aware of her need to stay away from any and all nuts.

As a nurse, I am a consistent medication label reader and with a nut allergy in our home, I now had to carefully read food labels as well. To be on the safe side, I choose not to buy food items that are exposed to nuts in their processing so I do not have to worry about nut exposure from contamination.

For many “older adults” medications are a fact of life. Some of us take medication on a daily basis so it becomes imperative for these medicines and other over the counter medications to be stored “up and away” from “little hands” and curious “little fingers”.

Up and Away

It is my honor to have been included in the Up and Away program to help grandparents like myself keep grandkids safe and healthy all year long.

 

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Up and Away recognizes these important facts about grandparents and grandchildren:

  • 5.4 million kids of today are being raised in households headed by grandparents.
  • 1 in 8 grandparents in this country provide care to a grandchild on a regular basis according to SafeKids Worldwide

Our goal as parents and grandparents is raising a happy and healthy child. This can be challenging through all the developmental stages of childhood. Toddlers pose a special concern as the notoriously possess a need to explore their environment.

Facts to be aware of:

  • Each day 4 bus loads of kids are taken to the ER for accidental medicine ingestion.
  • Annually that is 60,000 kids, who have ingested medicines that belong to parents (39% of the time) or grandparents (38% of the time).

Education is a key factor in the prevention of accidental medicine ingestion by children. Do not leave grandparents out when it comes to baby proofing or child proofing homes and remember it is more than electrical outlets that should be of concern.

A Grandparent checklist priority should include:

  • Storage of all medicines and vitamins “up and away” and out of sight when young grandchildren are around. I would include all children including teenagers as well.
  • Keep purses, bags, and coats that contain medicines or vitamins out of reach and sight..
  • Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a table, countertop or sink.
  • Always make sure that caps are tightly locked and medicines put away after every use.
  • Weekly pill reminder kits usually do not come with locked tops so these are of particular concern. They must be stored out of reach.
  • It is a good idea for grandparents to set a reminder to take medications, since the  pills will be safely out of sight and therefore perhaps out of mind.
  • Program the national Poison Help number 1-800-222-1222 into your phone and post it in your home in case of an emergency.

Grandparent to do list:

  • Take inventory before babysitting or traveling to a grandchild’s house or before grandchildren visit your home.
  • Share Up and Away‘s grandparents’ medicine storage tip sheet with readers and friends.

Grandparents and parents who are reading this blog post, it is meant to be shared.

This is grandparenting in the digital age.

We are so fortunate to be able to educate each other through e-mail and social media. I know personally, I have learned a tremendous amount from my online virtual friends, some  are professionals in healthcare and child growth and development, others are moms, who are not afraid to share personal experiences in order to make the world a little safer for each and every child.

Please join me and…

Log in to Up and Away and Take the Pledge – ask your friends to do the same.

You may save a life!

 

 

Disclaimer : Up and Away is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. It is an initiative of the PROTECT Initiative, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. I am being compensated for this blog post but my opinions are all my own.

Do Maternal Grandparents Have it Better?

Since I wrote this post my feelings about maternal grandparents have not changed much.

I am really interested in what others think… especially, moms, dads, grandmoms and granddads, themselves.

Grandparents

 

Do maternal grandparents have it better…maybe, is all I have to say.

It truly depends on the relationship that a mom has with her daughter. If the relationship with your daughter is marginal then I believe the relationship with your grandchildren has a greater chance of being marginal. As a grandmother, you will have to make more of an effort at your relationship with your grandchildren as well.

Relationships are work…grandparent-grandchild relationships are no different in many ways than relationships with other relatives or friends.

Grandchildren should not, in my belief, have to “kowtow” to their grandparents. I have said this in other posts.

To me, it is nice to have grandchildren who respect you, but if you want to have them visit, call or talk to you, then you will have to be the engager.

Sorry to say, but I remember being really bored by my paternal grandparents…even though I loved them dearly…they just were not fun and to top it off, most of the time they spoke Italian which I did not understand. I remember thinking this, was kind of rude.

Since my parents were divorced, my paternal grandparents were visited only on weekends with my dad. It was kind of an obligation of his and he brought me along for the ride.

Since I lived with my maternal grandmother, I loved her like she was my mother and sometimes, she was my “stand in” mother. She taught me to cook and do things around the house like ironing and making hospital corners on the beds. All girls need to know these things…Right?

Divorce or any rupture in a family does nothing to enhance the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Of course, it does depend upon the age at which the rupture takes place and to how extensive is the animosity between father, mother and family members.

In these situations, grandparents may find it difficult for various reasons to remain in contact with their grandchildren, because of loyalty to their child, conflict with daughter-in-law or son-in-law and the trickle down effect that all of this has on the grandchild.

Even if there is a seemingly amicable situation, there will be unspoken feelings that a child may sense, which will interfere with a developing relationship between them and their grandparents. Grandma and grandpa will have their work cut out for them in this family scenario. But hopefully the work will be worth it in the end.

Being a grandparent is the best thing that has happened to me. I cannot imagine any thing better. Being a mom was great and yes, I definitely had more energy but not more wisdom or patience…those I have acquired with age and life experience. For me, being the maternal grandmother has been a perk because I had and still have a good relationship with my daughter.

Do I have to walk on egg shells?… sometimes, certainly… will my relationship with my grandchild continue to be as wonderful as it currently is…well that will depend on me now won’t it?

 

Do maternal grandparents have it better?
Posted on October 8, 2012
Like I said: Its complicated.

via Do Maternal Grandmothers Really Have It Better? – Grandparents.com.

Related posts:

http://parentingintheloop.com/2012/07/25/grandmothers-discuss-among-yourselves/
http://parentingintheloop.com/2012/07/26/grandparents-in-the-loop/

Commentary: July 2014

Grandparents when it comes to you, there are boundaries just as in any relationship . If these boundaries were not established with your own children first, you may have a hard time establishing them with in-laws and even with your own grandchildren.

 

There is no entitlement that goes with the status of grandparent…just like every other role in life it must be earned. Your place in the family genogram or family tree is fixed but your role is not…

 

I would like to go back to Jackie Kennedy for a moment…she said, “if you bungle raising your children, nothing else matters much.”

 

So grandparents, if your relationship is not what you would like it to be with your grandchildren …. maybe you need to look at your relationship with your own children and see if you did “bungle” somewhere. Then look at the relationship with your grandchildren’s parents.

 

Remember, it is not about you and what you want, it is about your grandchildren and their parents.

 

Life is not easy…

 

 

Children, Holiday OverIndulgence…Grandparent Style!

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 Do your children have Santa Claus for a grandparent?

Is there an overindulgent relative in your child’s life?

And do they disregard your requests about gift giving?

I am not quite sure how to handle this type of situation except to be very direct in your requests as a parent.

It seems that there are many parent ideas about what is appropriate when it comes to their children.

In some cases parents do not even agree with each other when it comes to defining what is “overindulgent”.

It seems that grandparents may be the biggest group of overindulgers when it comes to  children, Christmas and Holidays. At least, that was the recent consensus of a group of parents discussing the holiday stresses at my grandchild’s preschool.

It seemed that the grandparents were not deterred by requests of their sons and daughters in their gift giving habits.

As a grandparent, I can understand both sides since I was also a parent of young presents and childrenI remember requesting certain things for my children and making suggestions to their grandparents. I guess I was lucky in that my husband agreed with this approach. So for the most part we did not get “stuff” that was inappropriate and not useful.

Some suggestions

  • Be honest about your feelings
  • Have gift suggestions
  • Perhaps suggest college fund donations, even small ones so as the kids get older and more appreciative of money as a gift, this might become a habit of their grandparents.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful
  • Be empathic and understanding that your relationship with your kids is different than your parents’ relationship with them which is what helps to drive the overindulgence.
  • Be realistic if you have really difficult grandparents…and try to make the best of the situation.

Aunt Annie’s Childcare: When grandma won’t do it your way- Part 1: The overindulgent relative.

Celebrate…Four Seasons Chicago Staycation!

Happy Anniversary Champagne Toast – Four Seasons Chicago!

My husband and I have been married for 35 years.

Over those years, we have celebrated many memorable occasions together with our family at The Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago.

Birthdays, Mother’s Days, Christmas and even St.Patrick’s Day are some of many family holidays and events made more memorable by the wonderful staff at the The Four Seasons.

For our anniversary we agreed, it had to be something special and our 4 year old granddaughter needed to be with us. We also wanted a “stay-cation” in Chicago because we love to spend time enjoying the City that is so near and dear to us.

So it was natural for us to choose to stay at The Four Seasons …something for us and something for our granddaughter.

Jeff, “Welcome Home” Four Seasons Chicago

“Welcome home!”, Jeff said as he greeted us on our arrival.

It was so perfect that Jeff would meet us at the door. We have been met by him many times over the years. Even when we come to Chicago for the day, we stop to say hi to Jeff and ask about his family.

At check-in, we were greeted warmly and our granddaughter was treated to a small gift from the “toy chest” conveniently located at the front desk.

She was ecstatic!

We then made our way to our room in the sky…with a beautiful view of Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan. Truly, one of my favorite corners of the city.

It is this view that is so spectacular when it is lit up at night and even more beautiful at sunrise!

 

“Room with a View”

After relaxing and enjoying lunch in our room…we were ready for “pizza making” with our granddaughter…so off we went to the Four Seasons kitchen…

Pizza Making with Chef Matt”

Thrilled is the word to describe our granddaughter when she met Chef Matt and the staff of the Four Seasons kitchen… donning apron and hat she went to work creating gourmet pizzas which were to be our appetizers at dinner later in the day.

“Afternoon Milk and Cookies”

After the “hard” work of pizza making she was treated to a delightfully refreshing chocolate milk shake which she made with the help of her “Papa” and fresh cookies which were waiting for her in our room…

“Happy Anniversary Grandma and Papa” from Four Seasons Chicago

My husband and I were greeted with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from the Hotel staff along with some beautiful flowers from friends!

After our snacks, we headed out to the 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue.

Conveniently, the hotel directly accesses one of the premier shopping areas in the country. Our first stop was Galt Toys…a favorite for unique children’s items…a definite “don’t miss” on my trips to Chicago.

Then it was time for an early dinner at Allium. This was our first time dining there. For appetizers we enjoyed our granddaughter’s pizza….they were delicious as was the rest of our dinner.

The “Pappardelle & Chicken Thighs” was my entree choice, my husband feasted on the “Wisconsin Walleye”…just superb!

Pizza Appetizer compliments of our Granddaughter

A surprise Anniversary dessert arrived to  complete our delicious dining experience!

A beautiful Anniversary dessert!

Hello …Ice Cream Man!

Then it was time to retire to our room ….where our granddaughter was surprised by a visit from the Ice Cream Man.

After a bedtime sundae…it was good night to all of us!

 

Early morning quiet time on the window seat!

Sunday sunrise did not disappoint!

Our little one was enjoying a relaxing moment on the window seat while we enjoyed an early breakfast in our room.

At quick trip to LEGO Water Tower Chicago!

These days a trip to Chicago is never complete without a visit to LEGO in Water Tower Place!

A quiet lunch before heading home!

After Water Tower Place we sat down for a quiet lunch at Allium before leaving to return home.

Since we were also running a little late…our server, noticing we were concerned, arranged for us to have a later check-out so we could relax a little bit longer and enjoy our meal.

After lunch it was time to leave…

Good bye and Thank you…Four Seasons Chicago!

Our weekend was wonderful…The Four Seasons made our stay so memorable. We left with smiles and stories to tell … this being one of them!

Disclosure:

I was not compensated for this review. We were given a special rate on our accommodations. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Grandparents in the Loop

A continuation to yesterday’s post…. some valuable information from  ZERO TO THREE

Grandparents—whether living near or far—enjoy a special relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents are the ones who are often willing to read the same story over and over, play a silly game, or say “who’s there” to a knock-knock joke more times than they can count.

via ZERO TO THREE: On Your Lap, In Your Heart.

Grandmothers…”Discuss Amongst Yourselves”.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a grandmother.  Several friends of mine including myself are now grandmothers. All of us agree, it has been an awesome experience, one that cannot be imagined until it actually happens.

Recently, I read somewhere, as a grandparent “You actually are in love with someone else’s child”… how well put. But if this is so…how do you explain what being a grandmother is all about?

In searching for an answer, I came across a website…Grandparents.com…where a few contributing writers really nail down some controversial grandparent feelings, which let’s face it, we all at times experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

My grandmother friends just happen to all be maternal grandmothers, which seems to create a special bond between them and their grandchildren. I can attest to this since I was raised in a three generation home. My maternal grandmother was, for the most part, my primary caretaker since my own mom was divorced. She worked outside the home, had two jobs in NYC, which kept her away from early morning until after 9 pm at night. As a child, my grandmother was the person who was always there for me and my mom was a phone call away at all times.  I did not know any different and thought that all grandmothers were as caring as mine.

When I first met my grandchild…I did fall in love. At the same time, memories of my own grandmother flooded my thoughts. I wanted to be a grandmother just like her…warm, caring and always there, when needed. Fortunately, for the most part, I have been able to be present in my granddaughter’s life on a regular basis since her birth. She has been a joy beyond all expectations.

I have to say, my friends express feelings very much similar to mine. In particular, one close friend, who has been taking care of her grandchildren regularly since their births has loved every tiring moment of the time she has devoted to them. Both of us look at our grandparent experience as a gift, admitting to having more patience as grandmothers than we did as moms. As moms to two girls a piece, we find ourselves among the sometimes “coveted” group of maternal grandmothers.

Our styles of grandparenting are not seen as the same as own grandmothers. We think of ourselves as younger versions…whether this is true remains a question in my mind. However, we do not seem as “old” as our mothers were at our age and of course nowhere near as “old” as our grandmothers were either.

As maternal grandmothers, we enjoy a bond with our granddaughters much like the bonds that we have with our own daughters.

I, myself, remember my grandmother saying “a daughter is a daughter for life…a son is a son ’til he takes a wife”.  When it comes to being a paternal grandmother I am lacking in experience since I have no sons. For this, I have to rely on what moms of sons tell me.

At times, I can imagine grandchild/grandparent relationships can be lopsided for many reasons…multiple sets of grandparents can complicate situations, distance, and marital relationships all factor into the grandparent/grandchild picture.

In reading some grandmother blog posts, I found a few in particular to share…see what you think. In some cases, the comments that were generated imply some sensitive nerves were touched by these articles.

In general, I have learned, life is about balance and when the balance is off for any reason…it takes time to equate itself.

Grandparents are part of the family dynamic but they are no longer in charge. For many this secondary in command position takes some getting used to. It can be quite an adjustment, not necessarily on their terms or their schedule depending upon many mitigating circumstances

Many feelings and emotions are involved in family life, which make generational relationships tricky. Hopefully, due to some prevailing wisdom of age, grandparents are more equipped to gracefully accept their rightful positions in the family constellation which is in my opinion, supportive, emotional and yes, sometimes financial, providing unconditional love and attention to their grandchildren.

Eight years ago, when Ryan Adair Anderson, the cross-eyed little scrap of a thing, arrived on the planet to make me a grandmother, I was struck by how little the word “grandma” fit me. My hair was not gray. I held an iPod, not a lace hankie in my hand. I was a baby boomer. We had made middle age hip and would do the same with grandparenting.I was, in short, Grandmother 2.0.The experts agreed with me. Mattie Dychtwald of Age Wave and author of Cycles, How We Will Live, Work, and Buy said, “We’re the generation that’s going to transform the image of grandparenting.”

via Grandmother 2.0? Ha! – Grandparents.com.

 

So much effort to go to, I think, when the mother of the mother is the real grandmother. I read that the mother of a daughter who then gives birth to a girl is the closest kind of grandmother there is. This is so obviously true that I am amazed some days to remember that the girls have only some of my genes. Ryan, certainly, is a little replica of me, right down to the crossed eyes, straight brown hair — and tendency to interrupt people. And Maggie clearly got her left-handedness from me. I don’t see the other grandparents in them at all. Also, both Trevor and Morgan, although they are now separated, live closer to me than they do to the other grandparents.

via How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Other Grandmother – Grandparents.com.

 

There is a mysterious transmission of accumulated wisdom and babycare know-how that seems to pass along bloodlines from maternal grandmothers to their adult daughters. No doubt this is biology at work, and paternal grandmothers are simply not part of that intimate loop. Still, I successfully raised a child myself and so when my daughter-in-law turns primarily to her mother for advice, I’m caught off guard. Feeling like a third wheel on a hot date is not something I anticipated.

via Are You the Left-Out Grandparent? – Grandparents.com.

Lazy, Hazy Summer…

Yesterday was a day spent at the village pool with friends and very young grandchildren..3 girls all under 5 years old. It was exhausting but so much fun.

We were fortunately able to spend time on both Saturday and Sunday watching our granddaughter get back into the “swim” of things.

At 3 1/2 years old, she is totally comfortable in the baby pool…playing with water toys and of course having squirt  and splash contests with us and who ever else will join in the fun.

However, the “big” pool is a challenge which requires some serious trust that we will not let go of her even with the promise that her “water wings” will keep her afloat….unlike last year there was no screaming and clinging to us for protection …there was just understanding that we would not let go of her until she was ready.

Surprisingly, it did not take long for her to want to be on her own…of course…with us nearby.

I am always amazed at growth and development even after so many years of working with children…they are so predictable and yet so unpredictable all at the same time. I love it.

Strides were definitely made in the swimming effort this weekend…”staying afloat” in a pool full of mostly strangers definitely takes on many meanings.

Have a happy Monday…

Attention: Grandma and Grandpa…

 

Tummy time” and “Back to Sleep” weren’t part of the playbook when Ginny Fountain gave birth a generation ago. This expectant grandma’s got a lot to learn about newborns, which is how Fountain, 64, wound up in a grandparenting class offered earlier this month at a hospital in Seattle.

……………….

But as it turns out, learning about all the new developments is actually the easy part; what’s trickier is figuring out how to play a supporting role and how not to bigfoot the new parents. If you think the birth of a grandchild is an opportunity to show off what you know, think again. The I-raised-you-and-you-turned-out-okay argument doesn’t cut it anymore. “Parents are very smart today,” Peel cautions her class.

via Grandparenting 101: Teaching Grandma and Grandpa About Modern Parenting | Healthland | TIME.com.

Grandparenting styles are something I often think about. I am a maternal child nurse and a social worker specializing in children. That being said…it is difficult for me to keep my mouth shut in my role as grandmother.

So that is one of the reasons I began writing  “parenting in the loop“. It gives me a voice and helps me understand the depth and width of parenting in 2012,  some thirty years after I began my journey as a mother.

Mothering and parenting have always been learning experiences. At times the learning  learning curve is a steep one. We had Dr.T. Berry Brazelton, who was preceded by Dr. Spock. They were the physician experts in the 60’s  70’s and 80’s.

But oh …how times have changed …with the advent of the internet, we are all able to share our experiences and personal preferences when it comes to parenting. The information is more than abundant, so it is no wonder that today’s generation of parents can have problems when their parents say,”we did it this way and you turned out okay”!

Here are my simple recommendations for grandparents:

  • Take a grandparenting class prior to the arrival of your first grandchild (even if your kids turned out okay).
  • If there are no ‘grandparenting classes’…go ahead and sign up for a parenting class like the one at your local hospital.
  • Learn how to listen to your children about their parenting preferences.
  • Incorporate your child’s parenting style into your grandparenting style.
  • Respect your grandchild’s parents…listen…think before you make comments or suggestions…smile often.
  • Visit some of the mommy blogs to become familiar with contemporary parenting styles.
  • Enjoy the heck out of your grandchildren.