Tips for grandparents helping to raise children


GREENVILLE — For a growing number of seniors, their retirement years are being spent helping to raise grandchildren.

United States Census data from 2010 indicates 4.9 million American children are being raised solely by their grandparents. Many grandparents provide part-time care when their older children have to move back home with their families, as roughly 13 million children are now living in homes with their grandparents.

Seniors who are once again thrown into the caregiver arena may need a crash course in childcare or a few pointers on parenting in the modern age.

  • Get the right equipment. Certain safety requirements are in place to safeguard young children, and that often means investing in new cribs, car seats, high chairs, and other items. Grandparents should resist the temptation to use old items they may have kept in storage, as such items may no longer be safe and could put grandchildren at risk for injury.
  • Gather important documents in one easily accessible place. These include birth certificates, health immunization records, death certificates (if the child’s parents are deceased), dental records, school papers, citizenship papers, and proof of income and assets.
  • Speak with an attorney to wade through legal arrangements, such as filing for custody, guardianship or adoption.

  • Investigate financial assistance. Grandparents who find themselves caring for a child may be eligible for financial assistance. The AARP or the organization GrandFamilies may be able to put grandparents in touch with financial advisors in their areas.
  • Contact schools and daycare centers. School-aged children will need to be enrolled in school.Some grandparents can qualify for free or low-cost daycare.
  • Find emotional support. Having a strong support system available can help grandparents work through the peaks and valleys of this new and unexpected stage in life.

Staff report

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