These tips will help you to help the new parent(s) and you can also use them if you are helping out a neighbour or a friend or are even doing voluntary work helping new single parents. It’s most likely that you are a Granny helping your precious daughter or daughter in law with your new grandchild, so I am going to refer to the new parent as PD (precious daughter / daughter in law) and the new baby as PG (precious grandchild).
- No matter the state of the house, do not criticise anything. You are there to help, not point out mistakes or shortcomings. Keep your lips buttoned, unless you are praising something.
- You are there to support PD. You are NOT there to look after PG. Unless your health or your disability totally prevents you from physically helping with the housework or PD is ill – let PD look after the baby. They need to bond and right now is the best time. Nursing PG in order to let PD “get on with the housework” is SELFISH. PD needs rest, to feed and change the baby and to bond with PG. You will have plenty of time in the future to get to know your new grandchild and you may be needed to nurse the baby for a short while anyway, while PD uses the loo or gets dressed.
- When you first go into the house, check whether PD needs water or a cup of tea or coffee and something to eat. The first priority is to make sure PD is healthy and nourished.
- The next most important task is to check whether something is available for the day’s main meal. It may need to come out of the freezer or it may need to be made. It may even need a phone call or a trip to the shop to get food in.
- The next most important task is the laundry. There is always laundry! Get a wash started in the machine. If you are there long enough, you may be able to get it into the dryer or out on the line or hung on airers before you leave. If you hang it out on the line, you will need to bring it in BEFORE you leave that day, because PD will either forget or not have time. If there is dry laundry hanging around, fold it and put it away. It is best not to take laundry to your own house, unless it is an emergency.
- Now you can get any dishes done, either in the sink or load the dishwasher. You may need to put dishes away or empty the dishwasher before you can wash more.
- Check whether the bed has been made and if not, make it.
- Check whether the bathroom needs cleaned. The main things are the sink and toilet and checking that there is enough loo roll / toilet paper.
- Empty any waste bins / trash cans.
- If you have any time and energy left, vacuum the stairs and landing and living room, or for the kitchen or hard floors, sweep and mop. You don’t have to do all of this every time you go. If this type of work is exhausting for you, or you have limited time, choose one area for each visit and do that. Choose a different area the next visit.