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9 Things New Parents Wish Grandparents Knew

posted: 03/31/16
by: Blythe Copeland
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  • Help is welcome!
    Help is welcome!
    Image Credit: iStock
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    We love you, we really do!

    Parenting is full of horror stories about meddling grandparents, but it’s more common for grandparents to be — or at least try to be — helpful, generous, and not too intrusive. But still, it’s been a long time since they were raising kids of their own, which means they don’t always remember exactly what it’s like to have a tornado-like toddler. You can be grateful for everything they do for you while still wishing they recalled some of the finer points of parenting toddlers, like these nine lessons suggested by our fellow moms.

  • Too. many. toys.
    Too. many. toys.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    1. Please don’t bring the kids any more toys

    Trust us: They have plenty. We don’t mind gifts on birthdays and major holidays, but we don’t need stuffed animals, cheap plastic figures, or video games on Valentine’s Day, Easter Sunday, July 4th, the first day of vacation, the last day of school, and every minor or non-holiday in between. If you really feel compelled to give a gift, put few bucks into the college fund.

  • We know you have a life, too.
    We know you have a life, too.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    2. We feel bad about asking you to babysit

    We want to go out by ourselves a lot more frequently than we do, but we don’t want to ask you to babysit too often: We know you work hard and deserve your weekends. Also, we’re saving the babysitting requests for times when we really need to get out without the toddlers — exciting trips like meeting with the accountant, picking out fabric for a new sofa, or Christmas shopping. If you volunteer to watch the kids on a random Saturday, we will gladly take you up on it, even if it’s just for lunch and a matinee.

  • Dinner time is not the time for an argument
    Dinner time is not the time for an argument
    Image Credit: iStock
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    3. Don’t step in when the kids don’t want to eat dinner

    Trying to get a picky, bored, or distracted kid to eat a full meal — especially when it includes a new food — is one of the least fun parts of parenting, and there’s no reason you have experience it again. We go through this every night, our kids know exactly how many bites of broccoli they need to eat to get dessert, and all the guilt or bribery you can come up with won’t make a difference. Just enjoy your meal!

  • Use your strength.
    Use your strength.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    4. Kids are not fine china

    They won’t break if you grab them down from climbing on the couch or if you pick them up to plop them in the tub when they’re stalling. Children are masters of selective hearing, and the only advantage you have is your ability to physically move them to a different location.

  • Not every outing requires a jacket.
    Not every outing requires a jacket.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    5. Resist the urge to bundle the kids up every time you step outside

    Don’t put a blanket in the crib or insist on swaddling a baby in July. Don’t make toddlers and preschoolers wear an extra sweater or a jacket or a hat. Kids are not always colder than you are; since they run around more, they are usually warmer. And you may fool them with the old, “You’ll catch a cold if you don’t wear a hat” trick, but you aren’t fooling us.

  • Sugar + kids = a big no-no.
    Sugar + kids = a big no-no.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    6. We wish you’d cool it on the sugar

    We’re not trying to take away your hard-earned right to sneak the kids a few pieces of candy now and then — what is a grandmother’s purse for if not to hide a stash of butterscotches? — but if you love us, you won’t drop by 20 minutes before bedtime with ice cream cones, bags of chocolate, or a tin of cookies. Save the treats for visits during the day or at meals, and bring just enough for one serving per kid (because when you supply more sweets than the kids should have, we just end up eating the extras). 

  • They just want to play!
    They just want to play!
    Image Credit: iStock
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    7. Remember that kids are not just little adults

    If you want to engage them in a conversation, skip the boring stuff (“How’s school? What’s your favorite color? What are you reading?”) and try nonsensical questions that will put their imagination on display: “What would you name a dinosaur today?” “What do you think pizza tastes like on the moon?” “What is the cat thinking right now?” 

  • So much gear for a short trip!
    So much gear for a short trip!
    Image Credit: iStock
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    8. Please don’t make us come to you

    It is always easier for you to come to our house than for us to pack up the diapers, toys, bags, books, lovies, snacks, sippy cups, blankets — and let’s not forget the kids — to come to your house. If you want us to visit on a holiday, it’s even more hectic, and it doesn’t matter if you live four minutes away or three states west. (It’s even better if you bring dinner when you visit!)

  • "No" should be part of your vocabulary.
    Image Credit: iStock
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    9. You don’t have to give a kid something just because she wants it

    We heard the word “no” when we were little. Don’t tell us you forgot!