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Supporting your growing family as new grandparents

Published on September 08, 2016

Supporting your growing family as new grandparents

Sharon Dunham BSN, RN, PHN, ICCE, CLC, CPST-Special Needs
Outreach Educator
St. Cloud Hospital | Women's and Children's Center

Grandparents DayGrandparents are an important part of a family. As a grandparent, you can experience the thrill of discovery when you play, dance or read together with your grandchild. You also experience a new facet of your relationship with your grown child.

This upcoming Sunday is Grandparents Day. CentraCare Health regularly hosts a class called “Grandparenting: What Has Changed?” in St. Cloud, Monticello and Sauk Centre. The free class is a great opportunity for grandparents to learn about the latest changes in infant care, methods of feeding, and home, car and toy safety. It’s also a place for new grandparents and grandparents-to-be to share their experiences with others.

Among some of the common topics that have come up during these classes include:

  1. Grandparents play a vital role in supporting new moms and dads. Being a new parent can be equal parts exciting and exhausting. Babysitting when mom and dad need a break, entertaining older siblings, offering to make a meal, running errands or performing a simple chore can be a big help.
  2. Communication is key. Don’t underestimate the importance of communicating parenting details with your grown child. Trust is vitally important. Be sure to ask questions about their concerns. Supporting the parent in front of the child and listening to the parents’ wishes will go a long way toward making your grown kids feel more comfortable leaving you in charge with the grandkids.
  3. Shots are not just for the baby! Babies do not have any immunity from infectious diseases. The CDC now recommends parents, grandparents and other family members around a new baby get a Tdap vaccine to prevent the spread of whooping cough. Even if you’ve gotten a Tdap before, your previous protection can wear off. And as flu season nears, it’s a good idea to get your flu shot, too. Learn more about vaccines to consider getting when someone in your family is expecting.
  4. Creating safe places for babies to sleep should be a high priority. The rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has steadily decreased over the past two decades, but that doesn’t mean anyone should be any less vigilant about it. Three easy things everyone can do to prevent SIDS include: always place the babies on their back to sleep, do not smoke around babies and always have the correct bedding — so that there are no bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows or other items in the crib.
  5. Discuss safe riding AND transport. There are lots of important rules about the proper way to use child passenger safety seats. Take time to make sure everyone is riding appropriately for their age. But car seat safety should extend outside of the car, too. When shopping, babies have been injured when the car seat they are riding in falls off a cart. To help prevent an accident, either carry babies or remove them from their car seat and lay them on a blanket inside of the cart.

Grandparenting is different from parenting. It’s a time where you can share stories about the things you did as a child, celebrate holidays and share family traditions. But you also are not responsible for some of the daily tasks that can make parenting more tiresome. It’s little wonder that most grandparents find this to be a very rewarding and great time in their lives.

Learn more about the "Grandparenting: What Has Changed?" classes in St. Cloud, Monticello and Sauk Centre.

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Sharon Dunham

Sharon Dunham, BSN, RN, PHN, CPST-Special Needs
Outreach Educator
St. Cloud Hospital | Women's and Children's Center 

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