My parents helped me so much with my kids when they were little. Loving, experienced… and free caregivers. It don’t get much better than that. Fortunately my folks lived close, so often my kids went to their place.
But many grandparents live far away, or take care of grandkids at their children’s home. Even when coming for a social visit, they often end up babysitting, and trust me. They love it.
Grandparents are often relegated to the upstairs or basement guest rooms, and they’re climbing up and down stairs all day. They find themselves squatting to pick up toys and babies or to play games. They have to lift children, laundry and groceries.
Recently I’ve seen an uptick in the number of grandparent “injuries” due to caring for grandchild. Maybe it’s because parents are starting to rely more and more on grandparents for their help with babysitting and even total childcare. And grandparents are honored and delighted to do it! But guess what? We have babies when we’re young, because that’s when we’re physically more capable of taking care of them.
When we’re 65+, our bodies are just not made to withstand the pressures of squatting, lifting, running up and down stairs, picking up toys and washing loads of laundry.
I see grandparents who come home from a stent with the grandkids, as though they just finished a summer of two-a-days. They have to go to physical therapy, take anti-inflammatories, and get shoulder or knee injections. I actually have some grandparents who ask for work restriction notes to give to their kids!
Parents… Get ready for Nana and Popop: Put them on the best floor. Don’t ask them to do all the laundry and clean up around the house. They’re not your housekeepers. Set up your household for grandparental success.