Have you recently been handed the privileged responsibility of taking care of your grandchildren? Are you wondering if there are other grandparents you can relate to?
I have comforting news for you. According to an article published by PBS in 2016, more grandparents are taking up the role of primary caregivers to their grandchildren.
Statistics show that close to 2.7 million grandparents nationally are taking care of their grandchildren. This represents a 7 percent increase from 2009. Sadly however, most of these grandmothers are below the poverty line.
It may seem like an uphill task to raise grandchildren, but as one of the many grandmothers raising a beautiful young girl, my grandchild, I assure you that it can be done and with unmatched zeal and passion. Allow me to share with you some eye openers to help you sail through.
At the most basic level, you need a team and in loose terms, a community that will support and guide you. Surround yourself with people that will empathize and offer a helping hand where you fall short.
The teachers, for instance, have a deeper insight on the interaction of the child in social situations most of which you don’t get to see when the child in school. Seek insight from these teachers and allow him or her to take a bigger role in inspiring the development of the child. The coach may inspire the child through personal appreciations on the achievement of goals or progress in school. This way, the child feels that they have someone they can rely on not only at home, you, but also in school.
Beyond ensuring that the child has a support system around them, create a support system around you. Reach out to a child counselor to get expert advice on how best to meet all the needs of your precious grandchild.
These are people with specific experience in all areas of child trauma and development, and their advice and insight will surely help you unravel the intricacies of the psychological needs of the child. Additionally, create a network with your immediate family to allow them to take the child out for walks, drives or even occasional sleepovers. These are people you can trust to engage the child in fun and developmental activities not to mention that you get a chance to take a break.
The child needs to feel that they are in a community, they need to feel included, and they also need to feel that they are part of something that they can relate to.
As such, reach out to the church, engage the child in church activities, the Sunday school or even other equally relatable social activities such as playgroups. Remember that although raising a grandchild is joyous and fun, it is not the norm.
Therefore, aim at normalizing all the other aspects of the child’s life so that they don’t feel left out or out of place.
In conclusion, raising a grandchild can sometimes be hard, messy and most of the time confusing not quite remembering what you did with your children. However, I can assure you that raising my granddaughter is the most soul rewarding thing I have done. The joy of seeing my granddaughter smile as she plays with her friends or walks along with her uncle cannot be put into words.
With the right support system as elaborated above, you are guaranteed to be one very enthusiastic and loving caregiver to your grandchild.
Read my next article on The Importance of Community Support.