How grandparents can respect boundaries during the holidays
The holidays are approaching, and you are beginning to get excited about celebrating with your grandchildren. Meanwhile, your grandchildren’s parents are beginning to worry. Why? Because they know there are bound to be conflicts with you over the hot spots that holidays bring.
And let’s be honest, you are a little worried, too. There are a lot of logistics to work out if you are having visitors, or visiting your grandchildren. The meal planning alone is stressful—not to mention the cooking!
So how do you prepare for a holiday season that maximizes the joy and minimizes the stress?
As with everything, it’s vital that you start with an open conversation with your adult children. Don't skip this step! Most of the stress and disappointment around holidays comes from unmet expectations. Taking the time to share your desires and listen to those of your adult kids will set the stage for a holiday everyone can enjoy.
Here are some of the topics you should discuss:
Hot topic #1: Visits
Why? Don’t assume that your adult children want to continue to return to your home year after year, or that they want you to visit. Life gets more and more complicated as families grow, and it’s important that you let them know you want to follow their lead on this. As one parent pointed out, even if the holidays look different from years past, you’ll still be making memories. Ask them where would they would like to spend the holidays, and if they would welcome visitors or not.
Keep in mind that many parents are extra cautious about visitors and traveling with children who haven’t been vaccinated for Covid-19. Respect that they are following the advice of their health care professionals, and express your support for their decision to prioritize their child’s health. As with all parenting choices that they make, you don’t have to agree or understand their reasoning to support them.
Hot topic #2: Gifts
Why? When we polled parents, 75% of them wanted grandparents to listen to what they say about gifts. They expressed frustration about both the choice of gifts and the sheer amount of stuff. Ask if they have any suggestions for a gift, and be honest about whether you can accommodate the request. Once you’ve asked, don’t go on to ignore their answer. To parents, having their input completely ignored feels disrespectful.
Hot topic #3: Meals
Why? Many grandparents shared that planning meals is one of the most stressful parts of the holiday planning. Taking the time to discuss expectations for things like meal times, foods to avoid, and what help you’ll need can reduce the stress immensely.
After you’ve had these conversations, there’s one more step before you start planning. Go download our free holiday gift to you: A Grandparent's Guide to Happy Holidays. It's filled with tips and strategies for making the holiday season as stress-free as possible. It includes tested, parent-approved tips for:
For even more peace and calm, we’ve put together the Happy Holidays Bonus Pack with everything you need to plan stress-free holidays with the family.
You'll get handy, customizable templates for organizing:
NOW you are ready to start planning! And if you’ve taken time to talk to your grandchild’s parents and listened to their answers, your planning will lead to a holiday filled with joy, peace and lots of magical memories.