Grandparenting in Retirement

Grandparenting in retirement can be tricky. One day it can be the best role in the world; on another it can be a slippery task to please everyone. Today, amid Covid-19, it can also be a confusing life stage. Most grandparents I know enjoy their role. However, I think we all realize that grandparenting in retirement has its own set of parameters that  may change regularly. We may set many of the rules, but  many are set by our own children. 

The Challenges of Grandparenting

Perhaps the hardest part of Grandparenting is knowing how much love and advice to share with your own children. You now how have two families coming together to create a third, and that means varying ideas and experiences. We all want to love our grandchildren and create good connections. However, how much love and how much advice is too much? Do these new parents have enough experience and good sense to do what is best for your grandchild? Only you know the answer to how you feel about that. However, if you’ve raised your childREN with love,  concern and common sense, the best you can do is believe in their ability to parent. 

Grandparenting in retirement also has it’s own quandary. When you’re no longer going to an office each day you might be viewed as a reliable babysitter. This may have its charm for you and often works for the new parents. However, it can be problematic. I remember how devastated  friends of ours were when they were  told they were bad grandparents because they stopped  babysitting regularly. This, despite the fact that they had been with the children weekdays for about 6 years. This does not mean you shouldn’t help out your young families. Just be certain that parameters and expectations are clearly established in the beginning. You know what is important to you and how much help you can offer to your offspring and their families. Early and honest discussion can save a lot of pain or heartbreak. You owe that to yourself and adult children—as well as your grandchildren. 


Grandparenting and COVID

Now that we’ve discussed grandparenting quandaries, let’s add COVID-19 for an even more challenging concept. You probably miss those kids—right?  I know I do—even though our oldest is 23. However, they live in neighboring states and crossing the border is frowned upon. Although I have often criticized the amount of time some children spend on computers, I’m now eating crow. Technology at least has allowed us to see and communicate with these wonderful young people. Sometimes they help me work out a computer problem or two, but the best thing is simply communicating. 

One of the moist satisfying things my husband and I have done with two of our grandchildren is a book group. We meet virtually with them each Saturday and discuss the book we’ve all read that week. Their insights are extraordinary! They also love to recommend other works they have read and think we should too. This sharing has created a special bond that means a great deal to all of us.

Other grandparents I know like to read to their younger grandchildren on Facetime. The childrens’ Moms and Dads find this especially helpful while they are preparing a meal at the end of a day. It  keeps the children occupied, while also helping to satisfy everyone’s need for some togetherness.

Another clever grandmother I know does Arts and Crafts with her middle school grandchildren.  She plans a project and mails the supplies. Each week they all create their piece together over the Internet. Yet another resourceful Grandmother shares poetry with her grandson. Often it’s poems that have each written that week. Other times they pick a favorite poem to share and talk about what the poem means to them. 

If you want to spend more meaningful virtual time with grandchildren, you may find some of these ideas helpful. If you have other great ideas, please share them below. You could help make a big difference in the lives of grandparents and their grandchildren.

You might also enjoy the following article on grandparenting

Or this article on staying sane amid COVID-19