Grandparents can be helpful to parents, not just by helping them take care of their grandchildren. In the modern world and with modern technology, it can be easier to live further apart while providing an opportunity for grandparents and parents to be closer to each other. However, it can also make it easier for them to drift apart. Finding a balance will be significant for grandparents to be a helpful resource in helping parents.
Perhaps the key to finding that balance is communication. Parents need to communicate to find out if grandparents are interested in helping; otherwise, it may sour the relationship instead of making it sweeter and better.
Grandparents can help in several ways. Here are some practical ways how grandparents can help parents with childcare:
Regular and trusted daycare when parents are at work.
Especially when grandparents live nearby, they can help with childcare when parents work. Most grandparents are willing to help out, but it is still crucial to communicate first before dropping the kids off.
Babysitting so parents can take a break by going out or simply rest.
Grandparents can also help parents to take some time off and relax. This can be especially helpful so parents can take care of their relationship and have a date or movie night. This can also be particularly helpful if there are some emergency situations or when parents need to do some errands or simply want to rest.
Caring for the family if parents are sick.
Grandparents can play a significant role in caring for their grandchildren, especially when one parent gets sick and the other needs to take care of the other. When grandparents take care of their grandchildren, parents will feel confident that they are well cared for.
Join the family on holiday to share the childcare load.
Plan ahead during holidays to discuss the expectations for the day and how grandparents can help with any childcare. If parents are to cook and host, the grandparents can babysit. Or if the family is going on a trip, grandparents and parents can take care of the children alternately.
Chats for a sympathetic ear and tap helpful experience.
Grandparents already have years of experience; thus, they can provide insights and opinions on tackling a particular issue or situation. They can be there to listen to a parent’s woe or just be someone you can ask any random question on parenting.
Grandparents helping care for their grandchildren allows them to become a part of the action at this exciting time when their grandchildren are growing up. It also becomes a memorable and unique experience for the grandchildren.
However, advanced planning prepares the grandparents for any expectations and routines concerning the grandchildren. And since parents consider that money is saved by having grandparents help with childcare, parents must find a way to compensate them (which they may refuse) or at least cover any incidental expenses.
Remember to always be tactful and have a way for them to take a step back anytime from the arrangement. Ultimately, caring for the child lies squarely on the parent.