Great grands

For those kids fortunate enough to have grandparents in their lives, the benefits are great – reflects KATE BARBER.

In today’s world, many families are dispersed about the globe; and so the relationship between grandparents and their mokopuna may be anchored by weekly Skype sessions.

But, regardless of whether they live around the corner or in the northern hemisphere, having nana and pops in their lives helps kids feel connected. And it gives children another pair, or pairs, of adults who love them unconditionally, who will offer support and guidance, who will play and spend time with them.

Often grandparents are able to bring more energy, engagement and patience to these times than mum and dad because they aren’t also responsible day in, day out for the relentless stuff of routines – because they aren’t up half the night with a baby, or juggling work with school drop-offs, childcare, grocery shopping and extra-curricular activities.

Many grandparents have this desire and capacity to indulge their grandkids, to listen to their stories, to get down on the floor and play, to seek adventures or fun experiences – or, if they live far away, to plan their next holiday to come and visit.

I have accepted that it’s the prerogative of grandparents to spoil their grandkids – to give them that lollypop or buy them that flashing musical toy.

It’s also the role of grandparents to support us parents by helping to role-model and reinforce those values that are important to our whanau. I’m ok if my kids are ‘spoiled’ with sugar or toys occasionally just as long as: 1. they are getting consistent messages like how important it is to be kind to others; and 2. that spoonful of sugar is delivered with a massive helping of love – which it always is!

To all the great grandparents out there, thank you – from us and from our kids.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
For some, the special role of being a grandparent is not so simple. When grandparents suddenly find themselves in the situation where they become full-time carers of their grandchildren, they often experience emotional, financial and physical stress, anxiety and social isolation, and don’t know where to turn for help.

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ has a deep understanding of both the long-term benefits for grandchildren being raised by their grandparents and the challenges it can present.

The Trust provides support, information, advice, advocacy and carer education workshops around the country to support grandparents and other whanau raising someone else’s child. Membership is free to all fulltime grandparent and other whanau carers.

Find out about support available near you, and remember you are not alone.

0800 GRANDS / 0800 472 637 / 09 418 3753 / grg.org.nz