Sunday is National Grandparents Day! Marian McQuade began a campaign to honor our nation’s grandparents in 1970. It’s been an official holiday since President Jimmy Carter made it official in 1978.
It's a great day to celebrate grandparents because there are some who are filling both the role of parent and grandparent.
Licensed social worker and CEO of Daniel and grandparent, Jim Clark shares some helpful information and tips for grandparents who are the sole caregivers for your grandchildren.
Clark says according to the U.S. Census Bureau there are almost three million grandparents who are the primary caregivers. They’re stepping in to raise these grandchildren when the children’s own parents are unable or unwilling to.
"There are two big factors that contribute to this," Clark believes. "One, teenage pregnancy and two, drug use."
Clark says there are some things grandparents should they be on the look out for as they make the adjustment to parenting.
Make sure you have legal and or social service agency involved.
- You want to be able to act as the guardian, whether that’s for medical reasons or school. This could help you with financially and help to avoid placement disruptions.
Keep the grandkids shot and school records up-to-date.
- Know whether or not the kid’s have allergies.
Make Time to Read
- Read! Kids find it comforting when they are read to. Plus, kids who been read to have a better chance of becoming better readers and students.
Monitor Screen Time
- Monitor TV, movies, music and the computer.
- Don’t forget the physical activity – it will help you and your grandchildren feel better and develop healthy habits. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever.
Take Care of Yourself
- Reach out to your friends and be honest about how you’re feeling. It helps to be able to communicate honestly with someone.
- Find a support group
- Take a parenting class – Things probably have changed since the last time you put rules in place for little ones. It can be a great resource.
- Take a break – It’s OK to say you need a break. Some time away from the grandkids can be a good thing, remember the psychological impact of being willing to take on this kind of responsibility.
If you would like even more information Clark says “Grandparents as parents” is a great organization and a fantastic resource.
"There is so much helpful information on their website," Clark advises. "You can find a support group, sign up for their newsletter – all types of things."