This post is sponsored in partnership with Virginia529. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
I’ve been a new grandparent for about a month. Well actually, I’ve been an expectant grandparent for about a month. My “little bean” is due in February 2020 and I cannot contain my excitement. This will be our first grandchild and this blessed event will change our family dynamic in ways we cannot even anticipate.
That has not stopped me from jumping in feet first, and guess what? I’ve already made a bunch of mistakes! I’ve had to apologize, regroup and back off as I am an over-eager grandmother in training. Ouch. I hope that my family knows that I am coming from a place of love and that I want the very best for them. The truth is that I’m still a recovering helicopter mom.
My friends and readers know that both of my children got married not that long ago. Within the span of a few months, I became a mother-in-law. It’s been wonderful. I’m truly blessed to have a new daughter-in-law and a new son-in-law to love. There are adjustments that I’ve made and continue to make, including how to spend holidays and family traditions, being available but not needy, and respecting their downtime and weekends.
Let me share a little bit of my new journey. If you are a grandparent or a grandparent-to-be, I would love to hear your stories. As you will see, I’ve got a lot to learn from you.
What are the rules for being a good grandparent? Although situations may be a little different, I’m convinced there are some universal truths we can all benefit from. I asked some of my readers and friends to weigh in and here are some great suggestions from them and one from me that everyone has agreed is a wonderful idea. A big thank you to Virginia529!
Effective Tips for First Time Grandparents – 7 Real Life Suggestions Plus My Mistakes!
Be Slow to Speak and Quick to Listen
Now your adult child and their partner are in charge of raising their child, so be slow to offer opinions or advice unless asked directly. And even then, choose your words gently and carefully. Respect their wishes and support them as they figure it all out. It’s a brave new world since we raised our babies. Also, don’t be too quick with a list of things you will or won’t do. Everyone will need to be flexible. Be a safe harbor where they can vent and express frustration without fear of retribution. Remember that lack of sleep makes us all a little crazy.
Caution: Strong Opinions Ahead
Before the baby arrives, there will many decisions to be made. If you are at all like me, you won’t agree with some of them. Everything from what to feed the baby, vaccinations, circumcision, childcare, and so many more. All of those decisions are all critical. Don’t set the stage to be an adversary. It will only strain your relationship and like my husband says, “we are here to play long ball.” Those critical decisions they need to make won’t stop for a very long time. Set a tone of cooperation and make it easy for them to share their ideas with you.
Respect Their Decisions and Their Rules
I’m used to being the one in charge, but now it is their turn to make the decisions and my turn to do what I’m told. This is going to be fun, right? The new parents will have routines and rules for naps, meals, screen time, etc. and all of their wishes will need to be respected and followed. If the baby comes home from your house and is always “off-schedule” then that is going to create problems.
Also, I need to stop with the baby name suggestions. Yes, this is a tough one. I admit to texting name suggestion for days and making comments about ones they are tossing around. I’ve stopped. It’s going to be fine.
Slow Down Before Shopping
It is understandable to be excited to start shopping for the new grandchild. On our recent Mediterranean vacation, the first souvenirs I bought were for the baby. It is important to ask the parents what they need before you load up your shopping cart. You can ask them to start a registry so you can be sure that what you buy are actually items they want.
I’m certain that financial help or a contribution to a savings account will be most welcome, but more on that later.
Keep Yourself Healthy
Do what you can to stay as healthy as possible, so your family does not have to be part of the sandwich generation and care for you and a new baby. I’m implementing a new exercise routine to increase my upper body strength. I want to lift the baby not just for hugs and kisses but also in and out of car seats, strollers, cribs, and floors. Often, they are held in one arm and balanced on a hip while you open and close doors so that is not going to come easily for me. I need to work up to it.
Your Spouse Has Their Own Ideas Too
My husband and I just returned from a bucket list cruise where we spent time relaxing and talking about our new life as grandparents. I realized that his ideas, concerns, and expectations are different than mine and that we need to communicate with each other to avoid conflicts in our own relationship. It has been a while since we have been “hands-on” parents with our full attention on children, so our empty-nester phase will have to be adjusted too.
He is ready to cheer them on from the soccer field sidelines and take them to games. I am excited about the library, museums, and concerts. This could be one well-rounded kid!
Now here is the best idea I have!
After raising two children and being aghast at college tuition expenses, I cannot even imagine what they will be like for the next generation. One thing we have in our favor is the gift of time. I learned that saving just $100 a month could yield nearly $40,000 after 18 years. The cost of waiting is too high!
Open an education fund and start saving for their education right now. You can start small and add to it as you can. I started mine with Invest529 and here is why:
Doctor, lawyer, cowboy, sailor? Who knows what they will grow up to be?
These accounts can be used for two and four-year colleges, graduate schools, trade schools, and training programs plus tuition at private or religious K-12 schools. They can go anywhere — in-state, out of state, out of the country, at an eligible public or private education institution.
Plus, Invest529 can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses beyond tuition, including certain room and board costs, computers and related technology expenses as well as fees, books, supplies, and other equipment.
Peace of Mind
Should there be a change in plans – if your student receives a scholarship or doesn’t pursue higher education – the money you invested will still be yours.
It Takes a Village
Other family members and friends can contribute to your account or they can open their own account. Think of this as the birthday and holiday gift that keeps on giving.
Low cost/low fees
There’s no online application fee, no annual maintenance fee and no withdrawal fee for qualified higher education expenses. Plus, Invest529 administrative fees are among the lowest in the nation.
Enter to win a $529 Contribution!
Invest529 is administered by Virginia529, the largest 529 plan in the country, but Invest529 is available to families nationwide! Virginia529 is sponsoring an exciting sweepstakes and the winner will get a $529 contribution to a new or existing Invest529 account. The Sweepstakes begins September 16, 2019 and ends on October 14, 2019 (Sweepstakes Term).
During the Sweepstakes Term there is one way to enter: Online by completing the online entry form and submitting it to receive one (1) entry into the Sweepstakes.
Good luck and I hope you are the winner!
On Grandparent’s Day, we had a gender reveal party. It was a time for bonding and joy with members of both families. Stay tuned to see what we – I mean they are having!
My love grows exponentially for this growing person with every update and ultrasound photo. I know this transition will bring joy, challenges, and changes. I’m going to help lay the foundation with an education fund from Invest529.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Virginia529.