The latest study in what grandparents don't know
A new study finds that many grandparent caregivers don't know about newer safety guidelines for children, such as appropriate sleep position, crib safety and car seat use.
If you're already an overly-protective parent, a study like this certainly isn't going to make you any more comfortable leaving your child with Grandma. But it also shouldn't be the reason you don't. There are many things you can do to put yourself more at ease and bring Grandma up to speed so she can have the bonding time she craves and you can have the night out you really need.
"One thing is for sure — if Grandma is fit and well, you really should try to trust her to look after your baby. A grandchild is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your parents, and they will be able to help you enormously if you can let go of your reservations," says Nanny M., creator of Nanny App and graduate of the prestigious Norland College for Nannies.
Whether you're a first-time mom or have multiple children, you have a right to feel nervous. But part of letting go of your fears is by being honest about your feelings. You'll most likely find that not only is Grandma supportive because of course she wants the best care for the child too, but that you'll also feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Nanny M. says, "It a great idea to share a copy of a home baby-proofing checklist and ask your mum if she'd like to help baby-proofing their home. Doing that job together will be hugely reassuring."
Tina Tessina PhD adds, "You need to have a discussion with them about what's important to you, but also listen to their priorities. Teach them about the car seat laws, and how to operate the new-fangled seat, but you don't have to give them a hard time for not knowing.
Arm Grandma with the 411
Have Grandma download an app like Nanny App which isn't just for moms and dads, says Nanny M. "Grandma just has to ask Nanny App a question or tell it her concern and it will give her all the reassurance and knowledge she needs."
You can also sign Grandma up for a class, suggests child and safety expert Debra Holtzman."Grandparents make very special contributions in the lives of their grandchildren. But things have changed significantly since their own children were born. That's why it's essential that the entire family — parents and grandparents — attend an infant and toddler safety and CPR class."
Grandma can also get up to speed on the latest in safety for children by reading a book such as The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living by Holtzman.
Grandma brings a lot to the table
"Grandparents are experts — they are usually better with kids than they were as parents, because they've learned from their experiences. They're also more relaxed than parents, and usually can give the kids more undivided time and connection," says Tessina.
"You may want to request that your parents focus your time with their grandchildren on having fun together. Simple things, like having popcorn and watching a video together, doing a barbecue together and playing board games in the evening can be the most fun and the most memorable times for kids," adds Tessina.