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Top Tips for New and Expecting Grandparents

By Barbara Pronin

If 2016 will bring a grandchild into your life, congratulations to you! To help you get off to a good start, with both the baby and his or her parents, the editors at Babycenter.com offer timely and topical tips:

  • Set the stage for smooth relationships – Be flexible in planning for showers, purchases and visits. If there are other grandparents around, consult with them about plans. If you are no longer married to the baby’s grandfather, do your best to mend fences now as you will be co-grandparenting. Most of all, respect the wishes of the parents-to-be. Their preferences come first.
  • Listen and defer – Your adult child and his or her spouse or partner are in charge of the childrearing. Be cautious about offering opinions or advice unless asked directly – and even then, tread lightly. Intervening with contrary opinions will likely set you up as an adversary rather than as a loving grandparent.
  • Go easy on the shopping – Some expectant parents welcome all gifts, but others prefer to make most of the choices about clothing, toys, and gear. Before you go on a shopping spree, ask what they want and if there is a wish list or registry to consult.
  • Don’t take their choices personally – They're advocates of co-sleeping? Don't want to circumcise? Want to name their baby boy Peach? Honestly, it's not your problem. You may feel a tad embarrassed sharing your grandson's moniker with your friends, but you didn't name him, right? Just raise your eyebrows and say it with a smile.
  • Let the bonding happen naturally – You will be anxious to hold the new baby, and it’s distressing if the little one wails when she is passed to you. Take your time. Understand that many babies are uncomfortable when held by anyone but Mom or Dad. Keep trying, but not insisting, until she gets accustomed to your face.
  • Follow their rules – Okay, so grandparents may have a little leeway – but only a little – with the rules. Try hard to adhere to the rules the baby’s parents set about feeding, playtime, and bedtime.
  • Give the parents a break – They will be overwhelmed and tired. Do what you can to help – like the laundry, the dishes, or the occasional dinner. But don’t overstay your welcome. Take your cue from them.

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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