Advice for New Grandparents

Lots of Stuff You May Not Need to Know (But Then Again You Might)

grandparenting class may help grandparents enjoy their infant grandchildren
Photo © Marc Debnam | Getty Images

Becoming a grandparent is one of the most important of life's passages. New grandparents have a lot of joy in store, but they may also have some adjusting to do. This practical advice for new grandparents and grandparents-to-be will smooth the transition into this most delightful time.

  • 01 of 11
    SelectStock / Vetta / Getty
    Your career as a grandparent begins even before your grandchild is born. From the moment when you get the good news, your actions and reactions matter. These ten suggestions for new grandparents will earn you the gratitude of the expectant parents and pave the way for a great relationship with your grandchild.
  • 02 of 11
    Baby Shower Guests
    Barry Austin / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Baby showers are an extra-special part of getting ready for a new baby. Learn shower etiquette for both parents and grandparents, as well as other things to do to make the occasion perfect. Expectant mothers might want to read this open letter from a grandmother. And if your friends want to give you a grandma shower? That's a great way to begin a new phase of your life, but be sure to handle it tactfully so that the mother-to-be doesn't feel left out.

  • 03 of 11
    grandparenting class may help grandparents enjoy their infant grandchildren
    Marc Debnam / Getty Images

    Grandparents-to-be may be surprised to learn all of the ways that childbearing has changed. Best practices for caring for infants have changed, too. So is a grandparenting class such a bad idea? If nothing else, you'll score points with the parents for making the effort. Curious about what you might learn?  Actual classes do vary, but you mostly be learning the latest techniques for keeping babies safe and happy. 

  • 04 of 11
    grandparents caring for new grandbaby and grandson
    Dean Mitchell / Vetta / Getty Images

    New parents can be overwhelmed by the changes in their lives. Grandparents can help with child care, housework, errands and other tasks. New parents are under stress, and grandparents will need to use diplomacy and tact when offering help.

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  • 05 of 11
    grandmother and grandbaby grandmother choosing her grandmother name
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    When a woman learns that she is to become a grandmother, her grandmother name becomes an immediate topic of thought and conversation. Some women decide upon one of the names that is traditional in their families, and some want something more original. Need a smile? Check out this list of grandparent nicknames you'll love.

  • 06 of 11
    grandfathers will need to choose an appropriate grandfather name.
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    Involved grandfathers are the rule today rather than the exception. Still, most grandfathers won't agonize about their grandfather names like grandmothers often do. For lots of good ideas about names for grandmothers and grandfathers, consult You Can Call Me Hoppa by Lauren Charpio for anecdotes and advice.

  • 07 of 11
    grandparents should look for signs of postpartum depression
    Tetra Images - Jamie Grill / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images
    If you're a new grandparent, you are concerned with the health of the new mother as well as that of the baby. You'll need to be alert for signs of the "baby blues" as well as symptoms of the more serious postpartum depression. This article gives advice about what to look for, along with first person accounts of dealing with PPD.
  • 08 of 11
    Bloom portable crib is suitable for urban spaces and grandparents' houses
    The modern look of this crib will please some non-traditional grandparents. Courtesy of
    As you plan for the arrival of your grandbaby, consider where the baby will nap during visits, or where he will sleep if spending the night. You have lots of choices to consider, from foldable cribs, to tent-like pods, to portable play yards. Be sure to read the safety information from the manufacturer.
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  • 09 of 11
    grandmother with baby in high chair
    Ruth Jenkinson | Getty Images
    Perhaps you want an old-fashioned high chair, or perhaps you want something smaller or more portable. The range of choices in chairs for your new grandbaby will boggle your mind. Here's help in choosing just the right chair for your grandchild and for your house.
  • 10 of 11
    special needs grandchild
    JoseLuisPelaez / Getty Images

    When grandchildren have special needs, grandparents are challenged to be special as well. There's a great deal that grandparents can do, but they must remember to follow the lead of the parents. is a good book to consult. Being a grandparent of twins or multiples can also be challenging.

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    the grandparents handbook
    Grandparents will find a smorgasbord of delights in The Grandparents Handbook. Courtesy of

    There are quite a few good grandparenting books out there, but these have been short-listed because they are true stand-outs. Every one won't be a fit for every grandparent, but you are guaranteed to find some of interest.