Raising Your Grandchildren

Let's face it. Families come in all shapes and sizes these days and you might find yourself being a parent to your grandchildren. You've already been through it once with their parents, but raising grandchildren means there are a couple of other things you need to know.

Being with you can be good for your grandchildren

If your grandchildren can't be with their parents, your home might be the next best place for them. Living with you will mean:

  • They have fewer moves from place to place
  • They'll feel comfortable because you and your house are familiar to them 
  • They don't have to worry about being separated from their brothers and sisters
  • They'll probably have more time with their parents

But there will be some hard times

You know being a parent can be tough. You might find your grandchildren:

  • Feel insecure and unsure that you will take care of them
  • Act out or challenge you
  • Miss their parents
  • Are anxious or depressed
  • Seem young or act too old for their ages

How can you help?

It'll take time for your grandchildren to feel safe and secure living with you, but you can help by:

  • Setting up a daily routine of mealtimes, bedtime, and other activities
  • Helping your grandchildren feel "at home" by creating a space just for them
  • Talking to your grandchildren, and listening when they talk to you
  • Setting up a few rules and explaining your expectations. Then, enforcing the rules consistently
  • Rewarding positive behavior. When they make mistakes, focus on teaching rather than punishing
  • Being as involved with their school as you can, and encourage your children to participate in school activities

It takes a village

Being a parent can be a tough job. Don't be afraid to ask your community for help. 

  • Help with housing or other bills, clothing or school supplies may be available specifically for grandparents raising grandchildren in your community
  • Support groups. Often there are local groups for grandparents raising grandchildren.
  • Ask for help and referrals from a church leader, the counselor at your child’s school or a social services agency
  • If necessary, get professional help to address your grandchild’s special needs, such as medical care, mental health care or special education