7 Tips For Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

February 10, 2022 | 5 min read

As a grandparent, you probably thought your days raising children were long gone. Chances are that even though you loved raising your children, you were probably relieved to move on to the next chapter and flourish in your role as a grandparent. 

Now, you’re finding yourself once again cleaning up after and raising tiny humans running around your house.

You’re back in the thick of it, making school lunches, driving children to school, soccer practices, or piano lessons. Instead of relaxing reading a book, you’re spending your evenings trying to help with algebra homework and offering advice about first crushes.

It’s likely that you’re feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed in this new role, but this transition doesn’t need to be scary. By following these 7 tips for grandparents raising their grandchildren, you can start on the right foot and create a safe and loving home that helps your grandchildren develop into successful adults.

@NEChildrensHome has 7 tips for #grandparents caring for their #grandchildren. See what advice, resources, and peer support are available:Click To Tweet

1. Establish a routine.

Transitioning to your new home life or role as a grandparent raising their grandchild won’t be easy. It will take time, patience, and some trial and error to get into a smooth groove. One way to help expedite this process is to set a routine for everyone to follow.

Talk with your grandchild(ren) about your expectations with them. What time are they expected to be in bed? How much time can they spend on their devices or watching television? What chores are they expected to help with around the house?

Normally, you wouldn’t be the one having to set these boundaries. But, as the primary caregiver, you’re now responsible for ensuring that your grandchildren understand and follow the ground rules you set. It is always better to be upfront and honest with expectations and consequences if rules are broken.

2. Be honest.

Chances are, you’ll encounter a few uncomfortable conversations or questions from your grandchild regarding your current situation. They may ask why they no longer live with their parents or wonder when they’ll be back home. When it comes to these topics, don’t shy away from being honest.

Children appreciate honesty.

Be open about your current situation, and use these topics as a platform to demonstrate how deeply they are cared for by so many people. While it might be a difficult conversation to have, this will allow you to build your relationship on sturdy ground, knowing that they can trust in you.

3. Keep contact with the parent.

While maintaining consistent communication with your grandchildren’s parents might not always be an option, if you have the opportunity to stay in touch, do. The primary goal of Kinship Navigation is to help foster deep, meaningful connections for children with the adults that care for them. Suppose the parent(s) of your grandchildren are working towards reunification or are working at strengthening their skills and becoming more self-sufficient. In that case, it can be beneficial to maintain contact with them on their journey. 

4. Utilize community resources.

Often, grandparents who care for their grandchildren find themselves overwhelmed or ill-prepared for their new responsibilities. It’s normal to feel uncertain or scared about this transition, but remember that countless resources and community connections are available to help you on this journey.

When you reach out to our team at NCHS, you’ll be instantly connected to a library of educational resources, parenting training courses, and specialists to help answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. We’re here to help you navigate this transition and provide a safe and loving home for the grandchildren you care for.

If you’re a #grandparent finding yourself raising your #grandchildren, @NEChildrensHome has 7 tips to help you set yourself and your grandchildren up for success:Click To Tweet

5. Reach out for support groups.

Understandably, you might be stressed about the transition in your personal and home life. Raising your grandchildren can seem daunting for someone who has already raised a child themselves, but you are not alone in this. 

Nearly 2.6 million children in the US are currently being cared for by their grandparents. This kind of kinship care situation is not unique or unheard of, which means that there are people out there that can relate to what you’re currently experiencing. 

When caring for your grandchildren, it is important to seek out peer support. Through NCHS, we can connect you with support groups, like-minded peers, and people who have gone through similar situations and come out the other side. There is plenty of support out there to help carry you along in your journey; let us help you find it.

6. Don’t neglect your needs.

While providing adequate care for your grandchildren is a priority, you also need to take time to focus on your physical, mental, and emotional needs. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, it can be very difficult to care for others.

Make it a priority to eat right and exercise, even if that exercise is taking a short walk around the block. Set a consistent sleep schedule so that you can wake up and tackle each day with energy and a positive spirit. When you take good care of yourself, you set a strong example for the children in your life.

7. Try to still be a grandparent, too.

It is important for you to be a strong example of discipline in your grandchild’s life. They need someone reliable, responsible, and respectful to help mold them into a healthy, productive child (and later adult). But, it is also important to remember that you need to cherish having the role of grandparent and not just the role of caregiver.

Look for times when you can make special memories with your grandchildren. Take time to enjoy the little moments, and set up traditions that your grandchildren can look forward to in the future. As important as your role as primary caregiver is, your grandchildren also need their grandparents from time to time. If you can find ways to have fun and play with them while disciplining and raising them, you’ll leave a lasting impact on their lives.

Your role as a grandparent is an integral part of your grandchild’s life. Your grandchildren need to know that they are loved and cared for and that you can be a responsible and reliable pillar in their life when their parent is unable. As a grandparent raising your grandchild, you need to be certain that you’re utilizing the resources available to you to give them the best chance they have to grow up and go out into the world.

NCHS is here to help support you in this transition in your life. With access to community resources, certified specialists, educational materials, peer support groups, and more, you can be certain that you’re well-equipped to create a safe and loving home for the children you care for. To learn more about our services or see what support is available to you, reach out to our team today.