Being a full-time grandparent isn’t just about the grandchild(ren) you are raising. You may have other grandchildren, too, and they deserve your attention. It does make it a little hard because for the one(s) you are raising, you are giving your all, all the time. You may not see your other grandchildren as often, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them feel special, too.
Making time for others—including other grandchildren
It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway—you have to make time for others in your life, including your other grandchildren.
Raising a grandchild may put you in a “sticky” situation (think lollipops!), but that’s not the kind of “sticky” we’re talking about here. What I am referring to is the natural jealousy that children all seem to possess. When your other grandchildren see the amount of time you spend with the one(s) living with you, they may tend to feel like you are giving special attention to that grandchild and not giving them the same amount of love, attention, care.
Of course, they are right and that is where the “stickiness” comes from. You can help alleviate some issues that arise by doing something special for your other grandchildren when you see them.
- Take them on a special shopping trip, just them (if possible) so they have your undivided time and attention. Buy them a special something or a treat that just the two of you have before you get home to the other grandchild(ren).
- Read to them. In my experience, children love to be read (or told) a story. Let them pick the book or story you read to them.
- Let them sit on your lap (age appropriate, of course).
And maybe none of these will work for you. If you are a single grandparent, you may have to get a babysitter for your other grandchild(ren). That may not be a good use of your resources.
You can always give them hugs and kisses and your attention—even though it may be divided. Try things out that make them feel special. They don’t have to be ways that cost money, either.
Making time for yourself
We are people. We have needs. Sometimes those include the needs of hiring a babysitter so you (or you and your spouse or friends) can go and spend some time without the kiddo.
You might have to put the child down early for bed or let them watch a TV show so that you can make a little time for yourself.
If you work a job and already have a daycare, ask if you can have an extra hour of daycare time to go shopping or to the hairdresser or whatever.
Maybe you can ask for a day off from work.
Just remember that you have needs, too, and if you don’t cater to your wants and needs once in a while, you could come to resent having the grandchild(ren) living with you and you don’t want that.
Being a superhero
As much as we like to think we can do it all, we need to realize that sometimes we can’t. There are times when we will need the help of others. That may be why you came to this website in the first place. There is no shame in asking for help!
As this site grows and progresses, we will be adding support group information, including information on how to start your own local group.
We will include the paths we took and the mistakes we made along with the things we did right!
There are still times when we think we can do it all and we give it our best try, but when we come to realize we need help, we ask for it.
Grandparenting, as we said in an earlier post, is not for the weak! There is a lot to it and only other grandparents in our situation can understand. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on your point of view—there are a lot of us around. Which is something else we hope to help you out with—connecting to others and not just through support groups.
Remember, you are not weak in asking for help. Don’t let pride stand in the way of you making this the best possible experience for you and your grandchild.
Taking time off
There are several ways that you can take time off from being a full-time grandparent—very few of which I would recommend, but if you really do feel that you would do your job as parent/grandparent with some time off, then I would consider two things:
- Seeing if another relative can watch the child for a while, or,
- Check with your county social services to see if respite is a possibility for you.
Respite is usually a very short-term time when the child goes to stay with a pre-approved family who get paid either by you or, if you meet financial requirements, by the county.
We have not used respite with our grandchild, but have employed other relatives or close friends to watch her for a few hours or a few days, depending on what we needed to do.
Being able to take time off was one thing that we had to seriously consider when we took on the responsibility and we 100% don’t regret our choices.
We also don’t regret the many times we have taken our granddaughter with us on our trips. Sometimes, the little ones need to get away, too!
Tying it all up
When it comes to raising children whether they are your own or your grandchildren or foster children, there is no absolute right way to do it. For most of us, it is a lot of trial and error even if we have successfully raised our children, raising a grandchild is a whole new ballgame, so to speak.
One thing that we have found is that we can’t take everything to heart. We know we are doing the best we can for her and we will continue to do that because, trust me, in the long run this will all be worth it, not only for us, but for those precious little ones, too.