6 Parenting Tips I Learned While Caring for Grandma

Please Share With Your Friends!

Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Sarah McCubbin

Do you need some parenting tips to gain a little perspective on your crazy life right now. It will not always be like this! In the thick of parenting, it is so easy to get caught up in the moment and focus on all the little things that aren’t going right with our kids. Whether its teething or reading or driving a car, there are so many ages and stages and it is easy to forget what really matters in life.

About a month ago, I came home from a busy day and found out that my grandma had moved into my parent’s house right next door to us….kind of out of the blue. She had been in assisted living but suddenly needed more care, and overnight, we went from 3 generations to 4 in our little cluster of houses. While initially stressful as we made the adjustment, I have enjoyed the transition to having Grandma right next door.

Grandma and Grandpa raised 11 children and they have all gone on to become very successful adults. There isn’t a single derelict in the bunch! That is a pretty good record! I know that the years of raising children were full of challenges. Having 11 children brings with it all kinds of scenarios to navigate besides the obvious “food, shelter, clothing” type concerns. She often reminds me that she has me beat…since I only have 9 children! Haha! That she does! No worries, I don’t plan to add another 3 children so I can have the family record!

Grandma is 93 years old! And while talking to her…and helping her, I have realized there are many parenting lessons that can be gleaned from her and her life in these later years that are worth sharing with those of us still in the young parenting trenches.

parenting tips
My Grandma & I

Parenting Tips I Learned From Grandma

Words Matter

What we say to our kids now..while they are young, they will remember when they are 60 years old. If we speak life…they will remember. If we are harsh, they will remember that too. Speak life!

As my husband and I took care of Grandma, she would often say, “I’m so thankful for you two. Thank you for taking such good care of me!” I will remember that forever…it mattered to her…it mattered to me.

Learn to Say “I’m Sorry”

Obviously, no parent is perfect. One of the greatest phrases we can learn and teach our kids is simply, “I’m sorry.” For some reason, it is HARD phrase to say but it is an invitation to lay down swords and restore brokenness in relationships. This phrase can keep relationships open and prevent hurtful feelings from building up.

Be Kind to Your Children Because They Will Take Care of You One Day

Caring for Grandma has been a testament to the way she cared for her own children. In the 2 months we took care of her, her children came to visit and help her ALL THE TIME. They brought her favorite foods. They brought her favorite music. They cracked open the scrapbooks and laughed over the crazy family memories. Her children loved her back the way she loved them…with time, energy, food, memories, laughter and sacrifice.

My husband has worked in nursing homes for nearly 20 years and the saddest situations are those where a resident NEVER has visitors. Sadly, some people are in nursing homes because they have no family who want to take care of them…or who even want to be around them. As an RN, my husband has been on the receiving end of some residents harsh words, hateful speech and general unhappiness. As parents, we need to live with intention. We need to live knowing that how we treat our kids today will affect our own futures as well.

Everything You Always Wanted Is In Your Driveway

One of my grandpas always used to say, “When I was younger, I never realized that everything I always wanted was in my own driveway.” We saw this while taking care of Grandma. The things that REALLY matter are relationships. THE END. Pursuing bigger houses, better jobs and exciting opportunities are wonderful, but at the end of the day, the things that really matter are the PEOPLE and relationships in your life. When your kids are still at home…the things that really matter really are in your own house…or in your own driveway. Don’t lose sight of that while doing all the other things in life.

Take care of yourself…no really TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!

This statement is double-edged. As a caregiver, I’m realizing this statement has 2 meanings. First…we need to take care of our physical bodies as best we can every day. We only have one, and when we are old we will be happy we made the effort to care for ourselves.

Second, I’m realizing that while caring for someone else it is SO IMPORTANT to care for our own physical…emotional…and spiritual needs with renewed intention. When we are tired and worn out, it is good and right and helpful for us to take care of ourselves. When we take care of ourselves, we can take care of our people better! I don’t do this well…but I’m learning!

When we invest in other people, we are creating a legacy that lasts for generations.

Grandma and Grandpa had 11 children…who all got married. There are around 45 grandchildren…and around 62 great-grandchildren (these numbers seem to change depending on who is counting!!). That is a legacy. How we influence our children has a multiplier effect that is hard to calculate. Invest well!

I grew up hearing stories of my grandparents…and great grandparents and great great grandparents. I don’t remember every story, but what I do remember is the way those stories made me realize that I was part of something. I knew that some of their decisions still affected me today…good and bad.

And that is true for us too…what we do…how we live and what we say has to power to affect our families in ways we can’t imagine!

Reading through comments about Grandma after she went to be with Jesus, it struck me, each of her children and grandchildren really were empowered by different parts of her life. Grandma had a lot of children…so do I. Grandma was for women’s rights and working women long before it was popular…and that has empowered many of her daughters and granddaughters. Grandma was an activist…so are some of her family members. Grandma loved Jesus…so do many of her family. Grandma loved people and served well…this is a trait passed down to all of her family. Grandma knew the power of community and a good meal….and this family can cook and love people well over a meal. I could go on forever. Her life created a legacy.

Live well!

More Advice From Grandmas…

A Life Well Lived

While taking care of Grandma, I’m certain she helped me more than I helped her She has given me parenting tips and perspectives that I wasn’t really looking for but definitely needed to be reminded of. The wisdom of age can only be shared by one who has lived and loved well.

Grandma was 93 when she went HOME and I’m so thankful for all the wisdom she shared with me. It spurred me on to greater intention.

Who in your life has inspired you to live well?

Want More Thoughts on Raising Great Kids…Check Out These Posts

10 Social Skills for Kids & Teens Who Want More Friends

12 Big Steps Preparing Your Teen How to Adult