15 Things Not To Do When Visiting Your Grandkids

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Remember when your now adult kids were little, and you felt like you constantly had to guide, correct, and discipline 24/7? Those days are gone, as you are now the fun grandma to the cutest little humans that have ever existed! Isn’t it GRAND? Despite this, old habits can die hard, leaving many of us with the urge to play mom still and have things the way we are used to. 

The good news? We don’t have to do this anymore and can enjoy and love on these precious grands!

The bad news? Well, this can take a little getting used to, which is why I have compiled this list of 15 things a grandma should never do when visiting her grandkids:

1. Too much spoiling

Child smiling with an ice cream sundae

You knew this one was coming, but it does earn top billing, as it can be so darn tempting for us to give in to our grandkids’ every whim! While spoiling grandchildren is part of the job description, going overboard can lead to entitlement or disregard for the value of things. Try to balance indulgence with lessons on gratitude and appreciation.

2. Overriding parental rules

When visiting your grandchildren, respecting the boundaries set by their parents or guardian is essential. (Do you remember how you felt when your mother-in-law disregarded your rules? The same goes here!) While your nurturing instinct may tempt you to bend the rules for the sake of some extra indulgence, doing so can unintentionally undermine the parents’ authority and can strain your relationship. 

3. Comparing grandkids

I know that YOU would never do this, but I am just throwing it out there for the sake of argument! Each grandchild is unique and special in their own way, and comparisons can lead to feelings of inferiority or unhealthy competition among siblings. That said, always avoid saying things like, “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?” Ouch!

4. Disciplining too harshly

Pouting child

Good news, Grandma: You don’t have to be the bad guy anymore (unless things get really out of hand, of course)! Disciplining is a parent’s responsibility. As a grandma, it’s important to handle grandkids’ misbehavior gently and leave severe matters to their parents, which helps maintain a healthy, positive relationship with your grandkids.

5. Not listening

With years of experience, you have a lot to share, but remember it’s equally important to listen. Be open to listening to your grandkids’ stories, opinions, and dreams. Remember, everyone loves feeling heard, especially by someone they respect and admire, like their special Grandma.  

6. Overstaying your welcome

This one is more so for your adult children, who love you but also have a routine they may have put on hold during your stay. While you love spending time with your grandkids, and they love having you around, it’s important to recognize when it’s time to give the family their space. Overstaying can put pressure on everyone and can add unnecessary stress and tension.

7. Taking sides in parental decisions

Grandmother being silly

Whether it’s a dispute over bedtime or a discussion on allowances, always remember your role is to support, not interfere. Taking sides can lead to conflict, so best to stay neutral.

8. Refusing to get down on the floor and play

Play is the language of children, and refusing to engage in play with your grandkids may send a message that you’re uninterested in their world. Whether it’s a simple board game or a playful imagination exercise, joining their fun is a great way to bond.

9. Imposing your beliefs

While sharing your values is essential, avoid imposing your beliefs on your adult children and grandkids. As a woman of faith, I want to share the good news with everyone I encounter. However, your family should still be free to explore, understand, and form their own beliefs. You can offer guidance, but please respect their choices.  

10. Spill family secrets

Cool grandma

Grandma, you’re a vault of family history, and while sharing some anecdotes can be fun, airing old family dramas or secrets can be unsettling. Keep the stories light and the skeletons safely in the closet. (You know exactly which story I am talking about…)

11. Ignoring modern safety standards and mechanisms

Car seats, cribs, food safety – the guidelines have likely changed since you were raising your kids. Don’t dismiss these current safety standards as unnecessary. They’re based on years of research and exist for a good reason.

12. Encouraging unhealthy eating

As tempting as it might be to spoil the grandkids with sweets and junk food, remember the importance of promoting healthy eating habits. Treats are fine in moderation, but don’t make them the main course!

13. Too many gifts

A little girl with a lot of presents

While bringing a small gift for your grandkids occasionally is fine, showering them with presents every time you visit may set an unrealistic expectation. Make sure your visits are valued for love and companionship, not material gifts.

14. Disregard routines

As I briefly mentioned, families have their set routines that make things run better, so it is essential to respect their schedules and not keep kids up too late or forego naptime. Respecting their routine maintains a comfortable and stress-free environment, making for a more pleasant visit with Grandma.

15. Forget to say “I love you”

Last but certainly not least, never forget to express your love to your grandkids! These simple words of affirmation can boost their self-esteem and create a bond that lasts a lifetime. Remember, actions speak louder than words, so make sure your actions echo your sentiments.

If you are a regular here, I doubt that you needed this advice 😉 However, I hope this list serves as a good reminder for all of us – me included – to enjoy our visits and not take things too seriously! Let’s talk again soon, my fellow Devoted Grandma.

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