A convenient way to help new parents when they visit grandparents
It’s almost that time: summer vacation and the beginning of the grandchildren visiting season. What do grandparents need to do to get ready for these precious visitors? One of the best ways is to help new parents by minimizing the amount of stuff they need to bring with them when they visit.
I’ve written before about how helpful it is to have baby gear on hand for when your grandchildren visit. Traveling with small people is hard enough without having to lug a portable crib, car seat and baby toys along. But what if you don’t have the room to store a highchair between visits, or it doesn’t make sense to invest in a really good car seat? There’s an answer: renting baby equipment for the duration of their stay.
What Baby Equipment Do Grandparents Need?
Whether your grandchildren come to your house every day or just once a year, there are things you’ll want to have at your house to simplify visits for everyone. For babies and toddlers, a safe place to sleep and somewhere to sit during meals are probably the most important. If your grandchild and her parents are arriving by plane, having a car seat already installed when you pick them up at the airport will earn you gold stars. (Just make sure you’ve checked with the parents to confirm you get the right kind, and read both the car seat directions and your car’s owner’s manual carefully to ensure you install it correctly.)
Those three things are the most vital, but there are lots of other things that will make the visit more relaxing for everyone. Depending on the baby’s age, you may want to have safety gates or an infant bathtub. You’ll want things to keep your grandchild occupied with toys, books, an activity gym or a swing. You can make bedtime easier with a blackout curtain, noise machine or toddler night light.
If your grandchildren will visit often, it may be worth it to buy the most basic items like a portable crib and foldable high chair. But it doesn’t make sense if they only visit once a year! Luckily, you can now rent baby equipment in many places.
When you tell people your first grandchild is on the way, the first question they ask is usually, “When is it due?” The second question is invariably “What do you want to be called?” And for many grandparents, grandmothers especially, that is a hard question to answer!
Lacking any strong cultural ties, I didn’t have the easy solution of the friends who were Italian or Chinese and had traditional names to go to. Though my husband is half-Greek, YiaYia and Papou are still living, so those names are taken. I began to hope that my son and his wife would have an opinion that would make it unnecessary for me to choose. They didn’t, so I turned to the internet, sifting through lists in search of a name that sounded like something I could live with for the next 30-40 years.
Why water safety is important, and how to help your grandchildren be water safe.
Although it’s hard to believe from where I am currently sitting (it’s 42° and raining), summer is just around the corner. Before long, our grandchildren will be visiting and we’ll be spending our days by the lake. Since May is National Water Safety Month, it’s the perfect time to brush up on keeping our grandchildren safe with some water safety tips.
Don’t think you can skip this post if you don’t have a pool, spa, pond, lake, stream or ocean close by. Children can drown in just 2” of water, and children under the age of one most often drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4, and one that can be prevented with some simple steps.
First, children need to be supervised by an adult any time water is nearby. When enjoying the pool, beach, waterpark or lake, an adult should be no more than an arm’s length away from any inexperienced or weak swimmer. However, the vast majority of drownings happen when kids don’t have permission to be in the water or adults are not supervising. Children should be closely watched if there is any possible access to water.
Remember that just being nearby is not the same as supervising. Someone needs to be dedicated to watching the children at all times, without being distracted by their phone or other people. Case in point: I was once in a hot tub chatting with four other adults, and three small children were happily jumping from side to side. We were enjoying our conversation so much that none of the adults noticed when one of the little ones started flailing. Luckily, her four-year-old sister was more vigilant than we were, and hauled her back to safety. This incident made us all realize why water safety is important.
If you do have a pool, hot tub, water feature or other body of water accessible from your property, make sure there are layers of protection in place. This starts inside the house: make sure kids can’t get outside by themselves, whether with locks or alarms or both. There should be a fence surrounding the pool and a cover on the spa, and an alarm on them as well. Make sure drain covers are safety compliant: the suction from a drain can trap even an adult.
Especially if your grandchildren will have access to water at your house, I urge you to take the Red Cross’ free online water safety course for parents and caregivers. From the Red Cross website: “The Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers Online Course focuses on developing an awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize those risks, especially for young children. This online course teaches parents and caregivers about the concepts of the circle of drowning prevention, water competency and the chain of drowning survival. It also provides guidance for applying water safety to common environments and situations where children are most at risk for drowning.” I promise it will be a half-hour well spent, whether you have a pool or not.
Teach kids about water safety. Grandparents are perfectly poised to pass on a respect for water. Here are some water safety tips:
Learn CPR. CPR is one of those things you never want to use, but need to know. The Red Cross now offers certification online, making it even easier for you. (Click here for more info.)
Water safety for children begins and ends with the adults who love them. These are just a few water safety tips for kids, but there are more ways to keep them safe. Please take the Red Cross’ Water Safety course and share this post with the other adults who love your grandchildren.
An Easy Way to Preserve Memories Online
Today’s post was written by Jessica McNaughton, Founder and CEO of memoryKPR, an amazing way to preserve your family’s most precious resource: memories. Look for a code for 50% off at the end of the post!
We’ve all heard, “Oh, it runs in the family” or “I get that from my grandma ''when remarking on our characteristics and traits. For me, it is my grandma’s ability to tell a good story, and my mom's desire to work hard. The stories we know about those who came before us also belong to those who come after.
As grandparents, it is part of our duty to pass down these stories. Helping our grandchildren know their history helps them know themselves and helps the history live on. Investing time and energy into capturing your memories of your ancestors (and also capturing your own memories to be shared) can have a lasting impact on a family. Research shows that children who know more about “where and who they came from” are more likely to demonstrate traits of resilience and adaptability.
Capturing our own memories helps our children and grandchildren know us better, but we also take for granted how many stories we know about our ancestors that are just living in our memories.
Here are some reasons it’s important to preserve memories of those around us:
What Could You Collect to Save Life Stories?
Many details can be collected to preserve the full story of your loved one. Their date of birth, where they grew up and lived, their family tree if possible, and more details are all important contexts to the life story of a person.
Your loved one will have other ideas of important items to collect. You may want to add your mother’s famous bread recipe, for instance, or your father’s secret to grilling the best ribs. Ask for photos to add to the collection. You can also get voice clips or videos to augment the story. Grandpa can sing a song from childhood or grandma can play her favourite tune on the piano. And don’t forget to ask what the person feels is most important to remember about them.
The details that make your loved ones special are part of their life story, and those details will keep their memory alive.
What grandparents need to know before announcing their grandchild's birth on social media.
In the digital age, the custom of mailing out birth announcements has all but vanished. Now, a baby’s birth is most often announced in a social media post. And new grandparents want to share the good news, too, especially when that baby is the first grandchild!
Before any over-excited grandparents make that announcement on Facebook, you need to remember that posting all the details of a baby’s arrival on social media is different from mailing cards to your friends and family. When someone sends a traditional physical birth announcement, the information goes to their friends. When grandparents share photos with their friends on social media, they are also sharing them with the world.
Any photo posted publicly can end up being used by anyone for anything. Even if you are very careful with your privacy settings, photos posted on social media can still end up being shared more widely than the poster intended. Your enthusiastic cousin may share your post (or take a screen shot and post it on her account)—and suddenly, an extra 1,382 people have the photo. More importantly, they may have details that should be carefully guarded.
What sort of details? Personally identifiable information (PII) is anything that an identity thief or hacker might be able to use for sinister purposes. This includes names, birthdates, birthplace and mother’s maiden name—four things that are easy to find in social media birth announcements. Even with your privacy settings set as securely as possible, nothing that is posted on the internet is truly secure. And if you think there’s no one looking for children’s PII, think again. A million children in the US were victims of identity theft in 2017.
Now that you know what not to include, there is another important thing to consider.
How do the parents feel about grandparents posting on social media?
Have you asked, and are you clear about their wishes? Parent chat boards are full of complaints about grandparents sharing pictures on social media after parents have asked them not to do so. Some parents want no photos or details posted at all. Others want only photos that don’t show their child’s face. Find out how what they want. It’s not worth social media’s dopamine rush to post a picture and damage the relationship with your adult children. Make sure you know, understand and follow the wishes of your grandchild’s parents before posting anything about their child.
When can you announce the birth of your new grandchild?
What’s the first thing excited grandparents-to-be want to do? Even before they start shopping? They want to tell the world that they are about to become a grandparent! Social media makes that easy, but it’s crucial that you wait until the parents give you a green light. This is just the first of many, many instances in which you will need to follow their lead.
Likewise, when the baby is born, wait until the parents have had a chance to post their own announcement. Ask for permission before you jump in and post your happy news, and consider waiting an extra day or two so that the parents can fully enjoy the congratulations they deserve.
To recap: Do’s and Don’ts for Announcing Your First Grandchild
To help grandparents use social media safely, More Than Grand offers a handy tip sheet for protecting your grandchild’s privacy online. You can download 6 Tips for Protecting Your Grandchildren on Social Media here.