Fortunately, I have a tribe of wise grandparents. From their stories and concerns, as well as mine, here are some suggestions:
1. If you are a worrier, you are a worrier. “Did they make it ok to their aunts house? Did her fever break? What works for me is to remind myself that if there was a problem, they would reach out to me. Therefore, let it go until they do text or call you. This shows them you don’t need to be in the loop for everything. At the same time, you can ask them to text when they arrive or when she is feeling better. It is not easy to hold opposites of don’t and yes, it is ok. Can be crazy making. You know what works best for them and then for you. This is just an example of your role as grandparent, being in the back seat and not driving the car. Do you really need to know? Did you count to five before texting them so you could check in if it matters right now? Have you had a short chat with them that might say, “You know I am a worrier. I am working on not being one. So, if you can let me know, great. If not, I will handle it.”
2. Have fun. When I was a Speech Therapist in private practice, I would think of myself as Mary Poppins who brings unique and individual activities to their home or school during our sessions. I would fill each little bag the night before for David, Ben, Amanda, etc. This was fun for me. When I am going to see the twins, I do the same thing and then I bring them home. The parents also love that I do this for their little ones.
3. I take photos and then text them to the parents when I am with their kids. I use to do this when I took care of their dog. So fun!
4. Slow down when you are with grand kids. Give space for them to respond no matter what age they are. If you sing to them, pause and then sing another. Invite them to sing with you even if they are little. This builds back and forth communication.
5. Say sorry to the parents when you make a mistake. I was excited about their upcoming birthday and bought something I thought would be fun at the party. Just as I showed it to them, I realized that was not a good idea. “Sorry, I could have asked before buying this. You have an image of how you want the party to be. Your party. Your kids.” The irony is later they did ask me to help, “You are so creative and good at parties, would you help us.?” Yippee. Some families don’t mind if you don’t ask first, others do mind. You know what is true in your family.
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Take good care, Natalie
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Natalie Caine, M.A. email@example.com