One of the greatest joys in the life of any senior is their grandchildren. After doing the parent thing and being able to have the satisfaction of seeing your children grown into respectable and successful adults, you now get to look after their children, spoiling them rotten and then sending them home before they become too much of a handful! Grandchildren can inject a new lease of life into even the most exhausted of seniors and bring a new meaning to life. You may find yourself taking part in activities that you wouldn’t dream of and visiting places that you wouldn’t normally be caught dead in, but that is the beauty of looking after the young!
Grandchildren can be a handful but do tend to be better behaved for their grandparents than their parents. As you probably have more than enough experience of raising children then I am sure that you will be prepared for that, as well as the mind games that come with it. Discussing that first, children have a wonderful habit of trying to wrap certain adults who play an integral role in their upbringing around their little fingers and try to play them off against one another. In order to avoid the mind games, it may be wise to have a quick chat with your own children before agreeing to take care of the little ones for the day to see exactly what they have been up to. Not only is it delightful to catch up on their progress, this will also alert you to the tricks that they may try on you. As you weren’t born yesterday, this will fully equip you to deal with their complaints and comments as they come up.
The most important thing when looking after your grandchildren is to establish boundaries immediately. Children usually obey grandparental boundaries because they perceive them as law rather than guidelines for behaviour. For some reason, they respect them more and challenge them less than parental boundaries. As a result of this, you should endeavour to follow the rules that their parents have established in their upbringing thus far. Not only does this reinforce parental authority, it also provides them with continuity. It makes their rules less ambiguous and thus they are less likely to utter the phrase “But at grandma’s…” and any other variations of this that you can think of.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t spoil your grandchildren rotten. After all, that is what grandparents are for! Grandchildren make seniors feel young again and, as a thank you, they deserve treats every now and again. However, using these treats as incentives can help to teach them vital qualities that they may miss at home. Temper tantrums and sulks can obscure parental teachings because children have a tendency to block out anything that they don’t want to hear. Coming from a grandparent bearing treats though it is an entirely different matter!
Any senior that has a grandchild or grandchildren should feel extremely blessed. There is nothing better than seeing your own flesh and blood grow into positive and honest human beings, but seniors should never lose sight of the fact that they are one of the major influences on their grandchildren’s lives. They will actively watch everything you do and copy it so they will pick up any bad habits you have. If you are a positive influence on them then you should take some of the credit for the way they turn out. Above all else though, you should enjoy the tie you spend with your grandchildren because any people never get the chance. Make the most of every second and relive your childhood!