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The New Grandma's Guide to Helping (Without Being In the Way)

Congratulations to you, new grandma! Becoming a grandparent is an exciting journey, and it’s natural to want to help out in any way you can. But how do you help without being in the way? As a new grandma, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you be a supportive presence without getting in the way.

Get the lay of the land
Being a new grandparent is exciting, but it can also be a bit daunting. It's important to start by understanding what the parents need from you and what their expectations are. Talk to them directly about their wishes and desires for your involvement in the life of their baby. Even if you have a lot of experience with babies, remember that every parent is different and wants to do things in their own way.
Observe and ask questions so that you can understand how the parents take care of their baby. Make sure you are aware of the kind of routines they have established and try to stick to them when you are helping out.
By getting the lay of the land, you'll be able to figure out how you can best help without getting in the way. You will also avoid any potential conflicts between your parenting style and theirs.

Offer your services
If you want to help out without being in the way, then one of the best things you can do is offer your services. You don't have to be a babysitting expert – although if you are, that’s great too! Even if you don't have experience caring for babies, there are still plenty of ways you can be useful.
Think about the different tasks around the house that parents might appreciate assistance with. Offer to help with laundry, dishes, meal prep, grocery shopping, and other household chores. If you live nearby and it's possible to do so, take a shift at night so that the new parents can get some rest. This could be as simple as just taking the baby for a few hours so they can nap or even just sitting with them for company.
In addition to practical help, offer emotional support. Ask questions about their experiences as new parents and make yourself available to listen when they want to talk. And don't forget to offer your love and congratulations – being a grandparent is a beautiful thing!

Don't do everything yourself
It can be tempting to take on all the tasks when you become a grandparent. After all, you want to help as much as possible! But try to remember that your children are capable of caring for their own children and it’s important to give them the space and freedom to do so. Offer to help in whatever capacity you can but don’t take over completely.
Instead of taking on tasks yourself, suggest creative solutions and offer assistance when needed. For example, if you notice that your daughter is having trouble with meals, offer to cook a couple of meals for the week and then teach her the recipes so she can make them in the future. Or, if your son is struggling with late night feedings, suggest taking turns watching the baby so he can get some rest.
These solutions will help reduce the burden while still giving you the opportunity to be involved. Furthermore, they’ll also empower your children by showing them that they have the skills and resources to successfully raise their children.

Let them ask for help
One of the most important things for a new Grandma to remember is to let the parents of the new baby ask for help. It can be tempting to swoop in and take over when you see that things need to be done, but it's important to resist this urge and instead let the parents take the lead. If they need your help, they will likely ask for it. If not, then respect their wishes and don’t be offended if they don’t call on you right away.
It’s important to remember that being a parent is a full-time job and can be very overwhelming, especially in the beginning. The last thing a new Mom or Dad wants to feel is like they are being judged or rushed into doing something they may not be ready for. So be patient, and wait until they are ready to ask for help before offering your services.
When they do come to you and ask for help, make sure you provide it in a way that doesn’t make them feel guilty or ashamed. Let them know that you are happy to do whatever they need and offer your support without any judgment. This is a time for them to relax and enjoy the experience of being a new family, so always make sure that you’re providing support in a way that allows them to do just that.

Accept that things are different now
Being a grandparent is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be difficult to adjust to the fact that things have changed since you were last around your adult children and their new family. Your adult children are now responsible for raising their own kids and may have different parenting styles than you had. It’s important to accept that this new family dynamic means that things will be different than when you were the one in charge. Respect your adult children’s decisions and don’t try to take control or criticize how they are parenting. Instead, support them and their choices, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. This will show that you respect their authority and trust them to make the best decisions for their family. Additionally, don’t try to compare your grandkids to your children, as each child has unique qualities and needs. Remember that being a grandparent is all about being there for your grandchildren and supporting them in whatever ways you can.

Give them space
When you're a new grandparent, it can be tempting to dive right in and take over. After all, you have a wealth of experience and you want to help! But it's important to remember that your adult children are still the parents, and their parenting style may be different from what you experienced in the past. Give them space to parent in the way they feel is best for their family.
It's okay to offer advice or to share stories from when you were raising your own children, but don't push your agenda on them. Trust that they are making the best decisions they can, and let them take the lead.
On the other hand, if you're asked for advice or help, be sure to give it. This is your chance to pass on your wisdom, but again, don't force it onto them. Respect their wishes and accept that things will probably be done differently than what you experienced.
Most importantly, let your adult children know that you are there for them if they need help. Don't hover, but do make sure they know that you are available when they need you.

Be available when they need you
One of the most important things you can do as a new grandma is to be available for your family when they need you. While it’s important to give them space and respect their new parenting style, make sure that you’re available to lend a hand when they need one. This could be in the form of an offer to babysit, bring over a meal, or provide moral support. Make sure your family knows that you are there for them and that you want to help. That way, when they need you, they can count on you to be there for them.
Tags: Parenting

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