With our lifestyles so geared towards health and longevity these days, it’s little wonder that grandparents are fit and healthy enough to take on the role of main caregivers to their grandchildren. This, coupled with tough economic times, has become an almost inevitable role that grandparents assume.
Other than you and your spouse, there is probably no other person on this earth who will love, protect and cherish your child as well as one of your own parents would.
Revel in their company
Removed from the chaos of a busy home life, your child will more than likely revel in the stability of his grandparents’ company and learn from the words of wisdom offered. Your parents could even be seen as role models, with values and principles not seen at home because life is so busy and sometimes chaotic there. A busy home life with both parents working and the overwhelming task of running a home at the same time has simply become a way of life and it happens in most households.
Children who have grandparents are truly blessed, because grandparents play a vital role in their lives. They link families, smooth over ruffled feathers, overflow with the wisdom born of age and experience, and provide an emotional anchor.
Being with Grandpa or Grandma can provide a different perspective for children, teaching them to see situations from a different, and sometimes much calmer angle. They can also act as a sounding board, and when the child is very young, going to Grandma’s house can be a fun and exciting time and provide a break of routine for both parents and children.
For the grandparents
Although being caregiver to your grandchildren can be totally awesome, it’s also a role that is clearly defined and one which you will be carrying out on behalf of your son or daughter and their spouse. As a grandparent you play a very specific role. You are not the child’s parent, so do not try to fill those shoes. And recognise the boundaries that have been set by the children’s parents and abide by these when your grandchildren are in your care. You may not always agree with the rules and limitations, but nonetheless should abide by them.
Having said that, your grandchild needs to be fully aware that when due punishment, or any other policies or rules the parents are trying to enforce, cannot be destroyed or even stretched, by you.
You and your grandchild’s parents need to work as a team, remembering all along that your role is that of grandparent and not parent. Should there be any conflict between you and your grandchild’s parents, this needs to be dealt with in private so your grandchild is oblivious to the problems.
A grandparent’s love
But at the end of the day, looking after your grandchildren gives you the chance to love someone new, to appreciate a new developing mind, and to be needed by someone again. A grandparent who is also a caregiver to their grandchildren can:
- Open the mind to other passions in life
- See the world in a new way through younger eyes
- Have good old pure fun again by dragging out the old board games, experiencing nature, reading together and even baking together
- Use your experiences and the time you now have to avoid the pitfalls you may have encountered as parents the first time around
- Watch your grandchildren develop through the various stages of their growth and development
- Learn about your grandchild’s passions, likes and dislikes
So parents: if you’re looking for a caregiver for your youngster, perhaps you’re looking too broadly when the answer may just lie closer to home with your own parents.