“Give me a break” has been a well used phrase for several generations and is often slang but here it will be used literally. Parenting can be emotionally challenging for anyone. The demands of time for family, job and any social events are draining. One of the greatest gifts a parent can receive is a break from parenting. This is a good opportunity for grandparents to help. A time of relief for parents can be a good time to connect or reconnect with grandchildren and develop a deeper, better relationship with them.
Depending on the circumstances, this break could vary in lengths of time. Parents of newborns would appreciate a period of time for grandparents to feed, change and play with the baby and to relieve them for other necessary chores around the house. Simple chores such as laundry and washing dishes can often be neglected because of baby demands. An hour or two would be much appreciated.
A few hours for a parent away from children can be meaningful so other things can be done. This may include some home projects without child distractions. This time could be well spent on a date for the couple which they desperately need but have not had the opportunity. Dinner and a movie are always a good break for couples.
The hours with grandchildren could be well spent at a park. Children need not be very old for them to enjoy a swing or slide, and all the other items provided at parks today. Older children enjoy a meal out with grandparents where an informal setting creates an atmosphere to talk freely with grandparents about everyday matters. These times build trust and friendship. Often a stop at a clothing store will satisfy teenage grandchildren. Boys and girls are conscious about clothes at that age and coming from grandparents makes it more meaningful.
Projects for grandchildren can be special for them. These can be things parents are unable to do because of time constraints. It may be a house cleaning project that has been put off, but with the help of grandparents can be done quickly. The grandparents can distract the children while the parents get the work done or if everyone helps the chore can be completed quickly.
Building a sandbox or climbing tower for the grandchildren may be something that has been delayed. Grandpa can lend his experience by helping, and grandchildren will always be grateful because he built it. Other projects may include a deck where the family can barbeque and picnic for years to come. Maybe one of the grandchildren has a room in need of redecorating; they will always be grateful because grandparents have had a hand in it.
Grandchildren love sleepovers at grandparents’ homes. Often this includes bed time stories in grandparents’ beds with lots of snuggles. Grandchildren can begin with simple meal preparations, “helping grandma.” So days can be filled with making breakfast together and later baking cookies. In later years they will say grandma taught them to cook. Maybe they can even snuggle with grandpa in his favorite chair and watch a football game, that is if grandpa does not fall asleep.
Times will come when parents will need to be gone for a period of time for various reasons. This may include personal enrichment, job requirements, additional training, etc. This is a great time for grandparents to help. Grandchildren can continue on regular schedules and attend normal activities. Grandparents will be there to see them off to school, prepare meals, and see the children maintain regular bedtimes in their own beds. Parents can leave knowing their children are well cared for.
This gift of time away may also be extended to include grandchildren on family vacations. Lasting memories are made when children can go special places with grandparents. Often parents can not take the extended period of time off so it becomes convenient for grandparents to do so. These vacations may include amusement parks, theme parks, national parks, or historic sites. Camping along the way can add to the excitement. Grandpa can take the kids fishing and swimming while grandma shows them how to cook over an open fire.
The greatest gift one can give their grandchildren is time. These breaks from parents can be the best opportunity to give them the gift of a lifetime.