Getting Grandmas Involved
Making the Most of Their Visits
You need to be commended for inviting them over when you're at work or home. It's too bad they didn't take you up on it. There's not much more you can do. If you like, invite one and then the other over for afternoon tea or dinner. They might accept these invitations.
When the grandma comes in the door greet her happily. Your daughter will look to see how you relate to her, when she sees you're happy Grandma is visiting, your child will take on the same attitude.
Once everyone's comfortable, have the grandma sit on the floor with a ball or a jack-in-the-box. Tell her to start playing with the toy. At first, stay in the room and get the play going in a positive fashion. Once Grandma and your child are playing and relating well, leave the room. By doing so, you give them the opportunity to get to know one another thus building their relationship.
It's a fine gesture to put pictures of the grandmas in your daughter's bedroom. Better yet, take a picture of the two of them playing with that ball or jack-in-the-box. Then you can talk about the fun time they had together as you're putting your child to bed or changing her diapers. Be sure to send each grandma a picture, too.
Of course you would like your daughter and her grandmothers to have a loving and liking relationship, but you can only do so much. They have a responsibility to get to know your child on her terms -- after all, your daughter is the child, they are the adults. There's no need to burden yourself with guilt feelings. It's tough enough to work at home plus manage a toddler. You need their help and support; you don't need to consume yourself too much with their issues.
When your child is older, you'll need to teach her to show her grandmothers proper respect. This concept, however, escapes toddlers. For now, since you're in the middle, just do what's reasonable to make these relationships work.
Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of two parenting books, Mommy, I Have to Go Potty and Unplugging Power Struggles. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for HealthyKids.com and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, October 2005.