Seven ways to be a helpful grandparent

Seven practical ways grandparents can help support new parents when baby first comes home.

There are few things as exciting as a new baby being born into the family, especially when you’re a grandparent and you get all the fun bits with less of the tough bits.

Although a newborn is tiny, they can cause incredible disruption and if you step up as an “all hands on deck” grandparent, the new parents will be eternally grateful. 

Here are seven practical ways you can support new parents: 

1. Fill the freezer with some easy to heat meals

Everyone is exhausted and cooking is usually the last thing anyone has time for or feels like doing. 
 
Living off take-away food becomes expensive and is often unhealthy but knowing that there are meals ready to go will give you peace of mind that even through the sleep deprivation everyone is eating well.
 
Why not cook up some healthy meals for them and pop them in their freezer. Some simple suggestions are:
 
For added points, use disposable containers so new parents don’t have to wash them or worry about returning them to you. 
 
Home made cottage pie

2. Taking care of the washing without asking

It’s remarkable that a creature as small as a baby can create so much dirty washing and it’s easy for it to get out of control. If you could throw a load on, and also dry it, fold it and put it away like a Washing Fairy, it will be like a gift from the heavens.

3. Clean the house

This is fraught with danger because not everyone likes their mum (or mum-in-law) tidying or cleaning their home, but a simple fix is to buy the gift of a cleaner for a week or two, or a month of you’re feeling generous.

If neither option feels like it would work for you, do a few simple chores when you see them. Every bit helps.
Vegetables in a box

4. Do the grocery shopping

Grocery shopping with a small baby is a special kind of torture (second only to shopping with toddlers), so if you could fill the pantry with staples without mum having to hit the shops, you’re on a winner. 

Extra points for if you put the groceries away and make mum a cup of tea while you’re in the kitchen. 

If you can’t get to the shops, do a grocery shop online and have it delivered to the family’s home.

5. Take the baby out

Between endless rounds of feeding and changing, mums don’t often get a moment to themselves. Take the baby out for a couple of hours between feeds, or just a walk around the block so mum can have a shower, or take a nap and catch up on lost sleep.

If she’s nervous about being away from bub, offer to stay in the home and keep an eye on the baby while she sleeps – monitor turned off!
Young girl and her dog

6.Babysit siblings

Older siblings can get a little left out when a new baby comes home, so arrange outings or even a sleepover if everyone is comfortable and ready for it. Mum gets to focus on the new bub, and you get some extra special bonding time. 

7. Take over pet care

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the house with a newborn, so if there is a dog that needs walking, or another animal that needs special attention, offer to take over that role for a few weeks until everyone is settled into their new routine.
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