“My grandchildren keep me young.” – Every Grandparent Ever
Grandparents everywhere swear that a grandbaby’s laughter, imagination, and wonder makes them feel young again. But feeling young and being young are two very different things. The reality is, as we age we are less able to keep up with the physical demands of taking care of a young child. This can be especially difficult if you have mobility issues. The good news is, creating a meaningful relationship and lifelong memories is possible for grandparents of all ages and abilities.
Babies and Young Children
The challenges of taking care of a baby are many. Even for their young and able parents, diaper changes, dressing, baths, and feeding can feel like Olympic sports. A few modifications will make it easier for those with mobility impairments to complete these necessary tasks.
- Keep visits short. The younger the baby, the less awake time you’ll have to coo and play anyway. Short visits will allow you to interact with your new grandchild without over-exerting yourself.
- Plan around the child’s schedule. Talk to the parents, and offer to care for the child when he or she is well-rested and well-fed. Not only will you avoid the most difficult of the tasks, your time will be more quality.
- Invite them to your place. While it may seem like the kids would be more comfortable in their own space, you will likely be more comfortable in yours. Your home is already set up to accommodate your mobility issues, allowing you to interact more comfortably with your grandchild. And if you’re worried about not having enough toys or activities, never underestimate the entertainment value of a wooden spoon and a pot from the kitchen!
While older kids are usually less energetic, they are always on the move. They can also be more difficult to engage and entertain. These tips will help you get their attention and keep it… without worrying about how you’re gonna keep up.
- Meet them where they are. Literally. Whether they’re working at the coffee shop, practicing at the basketball court, or competing in the debate championship, simply showing up and showing your support will keep you connected.
- Teach them something.
- Feed them. Teenagers and young adults are always starving. Seriously. Sharing a meal at home or at a favorite, accessible restaurant is a great way to spend time with your (hungry) grandchild. Don’t forget dessert!