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Surely, by now we ought to be accomplished at sharing, so why can it feel difficult to share something as precious as a grandchild with the other set of grandparents?
Families blended through marriage may have very little in common and being around people who do things differently to us can be challenging. To see values, which may not match our own, influencing someone we care greatly for, can be difficult to manage. So, it is worth remembering although this can be uncomfortable for us as grandparents, it can be highly educational and fascinating for your grandchild. They do not need to choose, and they won’t want to compare, they just want to enjoy different and equally wonderful times with each set of grandparents.
Even though our grandchildren are incredibly special to us, we do need to acknowledge they could have an equally special bond with the grandparents on the other side. Just as we would talk to our children, and grandchildren, about embracing people’s differences and being the sort of person others want to be around, it is so important to remember those lessons ourselves.
If we want our grandchildren to be with us, and enjoy being around us, surely, we need to focus on being the best version of ourselves. By being kind, loving, open-hearted and flexible the time you have with your grandchild will be so much more relaxed and memorable.
It can be so easy to slip into competitive and perhaps even manipulative behaviour to try and be the best or favourite grandparent. But at the end of the day, who is going to benefit?
As human beings we will naturally have different skills and interests. It is highly likely that our working lives and families are different so naturally we will have different things to contribute to our grandchildren.
It could be that one Nana was a superb athlete and the other was a professional healthcare worker. Perhaps one Grandad was a DIY expert while the other was a successful business leader. Automatically they will have different skills to teach their grandchildren which will be fun and special to them.
We’ve recently discussed roles and responsibilities as grandparents, but we do also have a responsibility to the other set of grandparents and all the parents to share and behave admirably.
It could be that one set of grandparents see their grandchild every week and share childcare responsibility simply because they live close by. That can be quite hard on the other set of grandparents so it will be important they are allowed time with the grandchildren when they are available. That could mean the other set of grandparents spend time with the children during the school holidays for example.
Thinking of the parents
There will be occasions during the year when all grandparents are together. Maybe these could become times to find out more about each other and enjoy grandchildren experiences together. This will certainly remove pressure from the parents and grandchildren, especially if they have other responsibilities on those days.
Thinking about what you can offer and how you can help is always going to be appreciated more than a ridiculously expensive present, which could be perceived as being competitive or showing off.
We all know children have the potential to be manipulative will recognise if one set of grandparents can provide more than the other. This may not be down to resource, it could be one side only has one grandchild, and the other may have five. Either way, it is always a good idea to discuss gifts with the parents and not get hood winked into lavishing expensive items into the grandchildren. It could even back fire, as being seen as a show off isn’t very nice when compared to someone who’s lovingly taught their grandchild to make their gift alongside them.
If we can remember to just enjoy being grandparents everyone will benefit!
Here at Snuggle Sac, we hear often from grandparents and their experiences with young children. We are grateful for what you do and proud when our Snuggle Sacs help you out even a little bit. Sign up to our mailing list below for our Snuggle Sac for Grandparents newsletter, full of helpful articles and ideas for activities with your grandchildren.
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