Hmmm… we’re just thinking out loud here…

a special feature from Leslie & Kay, founders

Here’s a little secret we’ll let you in on… we’ve been grandparents for quite a while now, and definitely the role is ever evolving as the children grow. This holds true for the parents of your grandchildren; they too are constantly growing and learning as parents, wearing the hats so many of us shared as parents years ago.

Yes sireeee, as grandparents, there are definitely rules to follow. So, heed our advice because we guarantee at some point or time the manual for grandparenting is long in the circular file somewhere unreachable!!!

Here’s our top 10 rules to share:

#1 Remember you are the grandparent, and not the parent.
You must earn the parents’ trust. The responsibility feels even greater than when you were a parent. When you were younger and driving your kids from place to place, you did not think twice about it. But now, these are not your own kids. They are your children’s children, and that is a bigger and more intense responsibility.

#2 Learn to zip your mouth.
This is a hard and steadfast rule that must be followed. If you are the parent of a son, you learn this rule right away.  But, as the mother of a daughter, the boundaries may be less stringent. There are times when you want to step in and express your opinion. Wait until you are asked! And then, tread lightly. More importantly, practice self-control even when you know the answer.

#3 Pay attention to the parents’ rules. 
Yes, they have their own set of rules that are established in the dynamics of their family.  Again, it’s their child and their home and their life. And the child rearing guidelines are always evolving. We had our chance to be the parents. Now it’s their turn!

#4 Make your own life a priority.
It’s so easy to plan your life around your children and your grandchildren. Do not sit and wait all the time to be directed and contacted. You need to continue to create your own daily fulfillment and if you are not…well, we suggest you start. Yes, we agree, it’s even easier to worry about them — and obsess over the worrying, but, it’s your life too. Take care of you. Enjoy your time, your spouse, and all the life experiences you can create.

#5 It’s not necessary to buy love.
Okay, here’s where it gets sticky. This is a hard one. We like to do, and go, and buy. But, what you can’t buy is quality time. Enjoy the moments.  Be present. Be mindful of what you are doing now. Playing a game together, reading a book, taking a walk, singing your favorite songs — these are all memories that money can’t buy. It’s best for you and for them not to create the association that you come bearing gifts all the time. This is not a good example any child will benefit from.

#6 The grandchildren are not for showing off. 
There is nothing else that needs to be said. You know what we are talking about. Love them, love them, love them. But seriously, give it a rest sometimes. Your friends and family are interested in lots more than a trove of constant pictures, or a dialogue that is only about the grandchildren. Boooooring, and you know it!

#7 Be careful of what TV programs are on when the grandkids are around.
There are so many inappropriate shows, including the news. Take a moment to think of what messages are being received in viewing a particular show.

#8 Good sportsmanship is imperative.
When you’re attending your grandchildren’s games, be a good sport. No heckling allowed, no yelling, no taunting.  And, the same goes for when you are playing games with a grandchild. There are many lessons to be learned from not whining!

#9 Follow the food guidelines.
There is nonstop discussion on what is good to eat, and what is not — gluten free, dairy free, sugar free. Pay attention to your grandchildren’s food rules. Respect and be familiar with the “family food zone.” Knowledge is everything.

#10 Make sure you have all the current information on your grandchild.
This includes, but is not limited to food allergies, medical, dental, and general care. Remember, the kids’ information is constantly being modified, so don’t take for granted that Mom and Dad are keeping you up to date on all the latest info. They have enough on their plates. Be sure to ask!