Tips for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Caring for your grandchildren has many benefits, such as directly affecting their path in life, helping them develop, and being their unwavering source of stability. But with this responsibility come many challenges and hardships. Here are some tips to help overcome some of these obstacles:
Care of the Caregiver
You can’t take care of your young loved ones if you neglect your own needs. Making you a priority is something which many “grandfamilies” struggle. Here are some things to consider when prioritizing how to take care of yourself so you can better care for your loved ones:
Exercise regularly. Even small things can make the biggest difference in your health. Anything from taking a walk, pushing your grandchild on the swing set, or taking a bike ride all help promote exercise for you and your grandchild. Be sure to choose activities that you enjoy and look forward to, and include your grandchildren whenever possible. The more the merrier!
Get plenty of sleep. When it comes to falling asleep, the cards are stacked against you. Things like avoiding large meals right before bedtime, establishing a bedtime routine, and going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help make falling asleep a little easier.
Don’t skip out on your doctor’s appointments or any prescribed medications.
Carve out some time for you to regain your sanity. Sit outside with a good book, work out in your garden, or take five minutes to stretch in the morning. Things can get overwhelming and frustrating, or you may be harnessing anger or guilt. Discovering ways to let go of those negative feelings can make a world of difference.
Create Structure and Stability
Structure and stability add a level of predictability to your busy lives. Also, children need structure in their lives, plus it can be a constructive way for them to help you run your home.
Be clear about your house rules, and enforce them from the start. While there may be some resistance, establishing who is in charge and giving them a structure to follow will help them feel safe and secure.
Launch a routine. Consistency reassures the child, and they will be much easier to handle when they know what to expect.
Discipline with love, patience, and understanding. Take note of what worked and what didn’t and adjust accordingly.
Get them involved. Giving them some responsibilities that have value and contribute to daily life can show them a sense of their worth within the family. Dole out age appropriate tasks like taking out the trash, turning off all the lights when you leave the house, or setting the table. Make them feel like they are a huge help and that their contribution is invaluable to you.
Find ways to bond. Whether you share one of your own passions with them, build a fort with them in the living room, or take them to the library every week for story hour, find constructive ways to spend time together. These opportunities are a great way to build a well-rounded, loving relationship.
Don’t isolate yourself. Maintain friendships, even if it consists of venting about your situation. You can work through your feelings by leaning on someone else.
Look in your community for support groups, parenting classes, or childcare help. Your neighbors, the moms at the supermarket, or your local church may have ideas and resources on ways to get you the help you need.