Blog Community
Working Parent Parenting & Child Care by Stage Child Development Education Family Health Family Life In the News

Tips for Balancing Two Sets of Grandparents

Tips for Balancing Two Sets of Grandparents

In my completely biased opinion, Liam is about as lucky as it gets when it comes to grandparents. He has four wonderful, doting grandparents (and even two great-grandparents!) who think the world of him and delight in his every move. Seriously, the kid’s got the kind of ego normally reserved for rock stars and professional athletes as a result of the constant adoration thrown his way by his groupies grandparents. From all accounts, it’s a great set up and while I fully appreciate how wonderful we have it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its challenges.

One of the biggest things we’ve had to tackle has been how to create a sense of balance among the grandparents who all want to be close, particularly when the logistics looks very different with each. My parents live close by and Brad’s live in Vermont, a nearly four hour drive away. In the beginning, it seemed easy enough to me – we would see my parents more often (at least once a week) and Brad’s parents less often but for longer periods (a weekend every 4-6 weeks). There were pluses and minuses to both sides of the equation but I figured it would pretty much balance out over time. As we’ve come to find out, while both sets of grandparents are mostly okay with the situation, there’s still been a sense of envy on both sides. It’s a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side – my parents lamented that they never got to do “sleepovers” with us like Brad’s parents did and Brad’s parents lamented that they didn’t get to see Liam more often and get alone time the way my parents did. We’ve done a few things to combat this.

Tips for Balancing Two Sets of Grandparents

Local Sleepovers: While my parents love seeing Liam on a regular basis, they definitely felt envious of the weekend time he spent at his other grandparents’ house, so we’ve started doing occasional sleepovers at my parents’ house. So, every once in awhile we basically pretend we don’t live 15 minutes away and we all spend the night. Not rushing out to get home for bedtime and being there for morning snuggles really means a lot to them.

Babysitting nights in Vermont: On the other side, Brad’s parents felt like they missed the opportunity to get regular one-on-one time with Liam like my parents (our standing babysitters) get. So, we made a point to give them the opportunity to watch Liam without us around. This weekend, we’re heading up to Vermont and Liam will be doing a sleepover at his grandparents’ house while we spend a fun night out with Brad’s siblings and their spouses – a rare occasion these days and one that is much appreciated. But outside of those special nights out, we’ve also tried to be better about giving them even short periods of time alone with Liam. While my husband and I normally would alternate runs during Liam’s nap, when we’re up visiting we’ll try to run together and give Liam and his grandparents some downtime together.

Balanced Facetime/Pictures: I’ve also tried to be more conscious of regularly giving both sets of grandparents little updates on Liam. I talk to my mom everyday but that doesn’t mean that my mother-in-law doesn’t also want to hear updates on the little things going on in the world of Liam. And on the flip side, just because my parents live close by and see Liam more often, doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a Facetime conversation with him every once in awhile. It’s not perfect yet, but I try to keep that in mind week over week.

I’m sure we’ll have to adjust as time goes by and Liam gets older and his schedule changes, but for now these tactics seem to be working pretty well for us. How do you balance the grandparent relationships in your child’s life?

Editor’s NoteWe’re discussing all-things grandparenting on The Family Room Blog this week! Read more posts about grandparents and don’t forget to celebrate Grandparents Day with the special grandmothers and grandfathers in your life on Sunday, September 7.

RELATED RESOURCES:

One comment

  1. Anue Nue January 21, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Thank you, Kate, for sharing your your balanced approach! It is the parent generation that holds the unique position of being able to choose between being the bridge-builder or the gatekeeper between the generations! I know it wont always be the easiest job but I encourage you to stick to the model of bridge builder and keep writing about it. Anue Nue

Please Log In to Comment


TOP