The Role of Grandparents in a Child’s Life

grandparentI’m lucky that my parents are an important part of my child’s life. Not all of my friends still have their parents, and not all of the ones that do are on good terms with each other. But having my child interact with his grandmother and grandfather on a regular basis is very rewarding for both his self-esteem as well as his personal and social development. My kid is always excited to go to Grammy and Grampy’s house, and since my parents are respectful of my own parenting, the same rules that apply in my house apply in theirs as well. I can trust that my kid doesn’t only want to hang out with them because they let him eat candy and stay up past bedtime.

Aside from myself, no one loves my son more than his grandparents, and they enjoy being a source of wisdom, love, and “a home away from home.” That being said, to ensure that we can work together in raising my child, we’ve had to establish some ground rules and improve our communication skills over the past few years.

It can be difficult to approach your parents and let them know that you’d like for them to do some things differently when it comes to your child. Maybe they think they know best, as they’re older, wiser, and have raised several children of their own. Whatever the reason, the best way to establish parenting parameters for when your child visits Grandma and Grandpa is to simply approach the subject honestly and respectfully.

For example, we try to cut down on the amount of sweets in our house, and we found out that my son was eating candy at his grandparents’ house. I told my mother that we were concerned about his sugar intake, and asked if she could help us to limit his sweets. I didn’t get angry or tell her to stop giving him candy – but simply asked to help us keep an eye out for our son’s health. Trust is important in my relationship with my parents, as it should be, so reminding them that I trust them with my child’s health shows that I respect their role as grandparents.

This isn’t to say that our parameters can’t be a little flexible here and there, but thanks to our ability to communicate, my parents know the limits. Going over to Grammy and Grampy’s house is supposed to be fun, and different than being at home, so it’s okay for my son to have just a bit of candy and to stay up an extra hour past bedtime – but no more than that. And we are sure to regularly check in with each other, so my parents are always aware of what’s going on in his life.

Things are a little different now that my parents have had to hire a Delray Beach home care service to help them out with chores during the day, but my son still enjoys visiting every now and then. I’m grateful for having an extra layer of support in raising my son, and I know that my parents’ role in my child’s life will only increase in the years to come.

Hosting a Birthday Party for Your Child

kids birthdayA birthday party can be a wonderful experience for a small child – or a mortifying one. With a large number of little kids running around, there are many things that could wrong, including injuries, tears, or the magician not showing up. Many parents these days opt to host their child’s birthday party at an outside venue such as a trampoline park or an arcade. These types of venues typically offer an all-in-one birthday package comprised of pizza and cake, games, and other entertainment, all under the guidance of an experienced party planner. However, for the convenience that they provide parents, these establishments often charge an arm and a leg to ensure that your child’s 4th birthday party is successful. This is not always an option for families that are on a budget, but still want their child to have a great day with all their friends. Luckily, you can easily throw a birthday party in your own home that will be a certain success, while not breaking the bank. Here are some cost-effective tips on how you can throw an at-home birthday party for your child:

Create a Theme

You don’t need to hire a magician or a clown to entertain the kids. Chances are, if your crowd is in the 2-4 age group, they’ll most likely be just as entertained by bubble wrap or balloons. That being said, think about what your child is learning in preschool or at home at the moment – shapes? Numbers? Colors? For example, you could throw a “Circle” themed party, with balloons and round-shaped foods such as donuts , pizza, or sandwiches shaped with a circle-shaped cooked cutter. Decorate the room with colorful construction paper circles, and have kids practice blowing bubbles. At the end of the day, you can hand out party favors of round lollipops and bouncy balls.

Game Party

If you have a youngster at home, you probably also have a lot of toddler-appropriate games lying around the house. For a game party, set up different stations where children can play different games with one another. Be sure to walk around, making sure that everyone is happy and playing nicely. After a period of time, you could have everyone rotate stations so they get to play a new game with different friends. To keep food preparations simple, this Long Island deli offers special catering for parties at a reasonable price. Little sandwiches and cookies will be sure to please the little ones’ appetites after playing a couple rounds of board games.

Field Trip

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, and are able to get some chaperoning help, you want to consider taking a field trip, such as a nature walk through a local park. You can take the kids on a short walk, pointing out different plants and wildlife. They’ll love being outdoors and seeing the local flowers and animals. Beforehand, you and a couple volunteers can pack bagged lunches for everyone, and exchange gifts back at your house at the end of the trip.

It may be tempting to splurge on a more convenient birthday party for your preschool-aged child, but a budget-friendly party can still be easy and fun. Remember that young children can be easily amused, but be sure to keep a watchful eye over them so no one gets hurt and no one misbehaves.

Day Care Vs. Preschool

preschoolersOnce their children reach toddler age, many parents begin thinking about preschool or day care. Especially when seeking admission into prestigious, expensive private preschools, some parents begin their search much earlier than that to ensure the best early childhood education experience possible for their child. Parents are ready and willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars each year for their child’s private preschool education. But when one gets down to the basic elements of preschool, is it really much different than an expensive day care facility?

The widely accepted understanding of preschool is to prepare a young child, usually between three and five years old, for kindergarten. Children who have previously spent most of their time at home with their parents are placed in a setting with other children with whom they can practice social skills. Early childhood development and education is emphasized, as preschoolers practice learning the alphabet and play with educational toys. At the same time, the time children spend away from home in preschool is a source of day care for working parents.

The biggest difference between day care and preschool is that day care centers typically provide full-time child care, as well as care for children as young as infancy. Day care centers are also open when most schools are on break or holiday. With day care, there is generally more of a custodial emphasis, with parents mostly concerned with having their children looked after while they’re working. However, a good day care service will also provide excellent early childhood education – the same cognitive, social, and physical development-focused curriculum as preschools. And as far as accreditation goes, day care centers must also meet the same licensing and accreditation criteria as preschools.

Although day cares and preschools may cater to different time and age-specific needs, educationally they offer few differences. Both environments are designed to care for your child while you’re at work, as well as provide them with valuable development-centered education. So if your child is currently in day care and is doing well, it’s probably best to keep them there until kindergarten rather than switch them into a preschool. If you feel as though your child isn’t getting enough out of their day care experience, consider this Independence preschool center, which provides both day care and early childhood education for toddlers through school age children.