While Tiffani Thiessen continues to grow her career, she has some of the best childcare around for baby Harper Renn -- grandma.
“She’s living with us here in New York,” Thiessen said of her mom, Robyn. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without her.”
There are so many reasons grandparents can be THE most incredible people to care for your children other than yourself. After all, they raised you and probably love your children at least as much as you do.
And many more parents today rely on their parents to help raise children, especially with the tough current economic times. According to a recent article in The Washington Post, currently 1 in every 10 children now lives with a grandparent, and many more provide care. It's been dubbed the "granny nanny" movement.
While some cases, like Thiessen's, can be ideal, there also can be plenty of challenges when it comes to grandparents acting as caregivers.
Sometimes there are issues when it comes to who makes the final parenting decisions. I've heard from plenty of miffed parents when grandparents O.D. their children on junk food, or take them places and buy them things parents don't want them to.
There can be a fine line between spoiling and a complete disregard for parents' wishes.
The generation gap can also have safety implications if grandparents aren't willing to change their ways.
For example, most grandparents put their own babies to sleep on their stomachs, but as we all have learned (or should have learned), the safest way for a baby to sleep is on his back. According to Bill Schid, founder of HALO (which manufactures sleep sacks), 40 percent of parents with children 2 years old and younger are worried grandparents won't follow their instructions to put their baby on her back.
And when grandparents have to step in to help with grandchildren out of necessity rather than desire, it can create a whole other host of problems.
"These are not necessarily grandparents who are retired," Amy Goyer, a family expert with AARP, told The Washington Post. "They're preparing for retirement, and a lot of times their retirement savings is going down the drain. They lost it or it was undermined by the economic situation, and now they're spending it on family. It puts the grandparents' generation in jeopardy as well."
As unique as each family is, so is each grandparent's relationship with their grandchildren. The most important for any of them, however, is open communication and a commitment to work together to do what's best for the children regardless of any situation.
Personally, I'm ready to build on a mother-in-law apartment the minute my mom decides to retire.
Do you have a granny nanny? What issues have you faced and how have you worked them out?
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