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When you are a grandma, you want to be the best you can possibly be, which is easy to do when you love these tiny humans more than anything else in the world. While grandkids primarily need and crave your time and attention, I have discovered a few “secrets,” of sorts, that can take grandparenting to the next level, including:
1. A little spoiling isn’t going to hurt…
…However, it is still important to stick to your grandchild’s parents – your kids’ – basic rules and requests. If your little grandson gets super hyper if he has too much sugar, you will want to forgo the giant bedtime ice cream sundae and opt, instead, for a bowl of popcorn and another round of Candyland or an extra story or two at bedtime. (Yes, this is more common sense than a secret, but it still warrants repeating!)
2. Quality time trumps all
In this fast-paced world, nothing can replace the value of quality time spent together. Whether baking cookies, reading a bedtime story, or simply talking about their day, these are the moments your grandkids will remember. It’s not always about doing something grand or elaborate. The simplest moments often create the most profound connections and lasting memories.
3. Only offer advice when you’re asked
You have been there and done that, and it is tempting to offer your two cents when you see something you believe you can fix. Don’t do it. Unless your adult children ask you, it is best only to offer your advice when asked to avoid hurt feelings or creating unintentional tension.
4. Always have your camera ready
Do you remember when you’re kids were little, and how stinking cute they were? I am here to tell you that your grandkids are a million times cuter and do downright adorable things that warrant documentation. Luckily, you have a powerful camera in your pocket, so check the storage on your phone to never run out of space to capture even more memories.
5. Don’t compete with the “other” grandma
We all want to be THE grandma, but it isn’t worth tearing down your “competition” over. As long as you love your grandchild and pay them adequate attention, they will love you back tenfold. (Aren’t grandkids the best?!)
6. The miles are meaningless
If you’re a long-distance grandma, don’t worry! Thanks to technology, there are countless ways to stay connected. Regular video chats, interactive online games, and even reading a story over the phone can bridge the distance. Remember, it’s about the quality of the relationship, not the physical distance. Show interest in their daily lives, celebrate their achievements, and be there for them, even if it’s through a screen.
7. You can say no
No may not seem like a word in any grandma’s vocabulary, but sometimes it is necessary, not only for the grands (you don’t have to buy everything they ask for!), but also for your adult children. I know you want to help out as much as possible – I do, too! – but it is okay to say no to certain things if you have neither the time nor the means.
8. Understand and respect their individuality
Every child is unique, so it’s crucial to understand and respect their individuality. Be mindful of their interests, strengths, and even their quirks, encourage them to be themselves and let them know you love them just as they are. This acceptance and affirmation from Grandma will help them build a strong sense of self and confidence.
9. Taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of them
I know: Nothing is more important than caring for those grandbabies! However, you, Grandma, also deserve to have your needs met. Remember the old saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? It’s vital to maintain your own health and wellbeing.
To be the best grandma you can be, make sure you take time for self-care, stay active, eat healthily, and get enough rest. By doing all of the above, you’re setting an excellent example for your grandkids and ensuring you’ll be there for them for many years to come.
10. Don’t blink
If you think time flew when your kids were young, wait to see how quickly it goes with grandkids! Grandparenting is a joyous journey filled with laughter, love, and learning. Don’t stress too much about doing everything right. Instead, focus on enjoying every moment. Be present, be loving, and let your grandkids know how much they mean to you. After all, being a grandma isn’t just about the love you give but also the love you receive in return.
At the end of the day, know that you can do no wrong in the eyes of your doting grands and just follow your grandmotherly intuition. You got this, Grandma! In case nobody has said it lately, thank you for being such an incredible role model and matriarch for your family. You make it look so easy!