Whether this is the first grandchild or the fifteenth, many new parents wonder what to do about grandparents. They mean well and they want to help, but their definition of help may not be the same as yours. And they want to see their grandchild and be a part of their lives. So how do you keep everyone happy? We have some ideas!
1. Set Boundaries
Does the idea of daily visits make you question your decision to become a parent? Then set boundaries around visits and family time from the very start. While grandparents might not be enthusiastic about being told they can only visit once a week, everyone will settle into the routine quickly. In no time at all, you, your baby, and the grandparents will come to love and appreciate the routine of Grandma time on Tuesday afternoons.
2. Give Jobs
Is the constant bombardment of advice getting to you? Most of the time, new grandparents think they are helping by telling you all of the advice they were given, or discovered, when they were raising you. But we know that can be a bit of a drag for you! One way to redirect grandparents is to give them a job. Giving advice is their way of trying to help, asking them to do things that will truly help you, gives them something to do. And they get to help you and their grandchild in the process!
3. Meet Them For Errands
Grandparents love to show off their grand babies, why not meet them for an afternoon out of the house? You have an extra set of hands for those first, fumbling, ventures out into social occasions, and they get to show off their latest grandchild. Lunch, walking the mall, even getting their help going to a well-baby check.
Much of the advice that was common when you were little has changed. Sometimes trying to tell parents that can look and sound like criticism, which of course it isn’t. In this case, deflection can be a helpful tool. A simple, “thanks for the advice, we’ll definitely consider it” helps grandparents feel like they are contributing without being criticized and helps you to avoid committing to trying something you know isn’t currently recommended. Another easy deflection is, “thanks, our paediatrician suggests ____________, so I think we are going to stick with that for Jr.”.
5. Sign Them Up For A Class
Are you trying to be proactive and catch your parents up before they become grandparents? Sometimes information from a third party is easier to swallow than from your own kids. Toronto Family Doulas will be launching a Grandparents 101 class with West Coast Kids Toronto, starting in April. Check out our Education page starting in April for all the details!