Baby Shower Tips for Parents and Grandparents

Ways to Make This Special Occasion Even More Special

Group of women admiring gifts at baby shower, smiling
Photo © Barry Austin | Photodisc | Getty Images

Baby showers are exciting occasions for grandparents as well as for parents. Emotions may be a little volatile, however, as both generations await the new arrival. Here are some helpful baby shower tips for both mothers and grandmothers or, in the case of a co-ed shower, for both parents and grandparents.

Planning the Shower

Once it was considered not acceptable for family members to host a shower, but that rule is considered outdated by most people today.

The grandparents usually do not host the shower, however, even in this modern age, so they can relax and plan to enjoy the shower as guests.

What Parents Can Do

Parents should check the date of the baby shower with the grandparents before finalizing it. Grandparents do travel and have other commitments, but they won't want to miss this event!

What Grandparents Can Do

Grandparents need to be certain that nothing avoidable interferes with their attendance. Although the grandparents will not be hosting, they can offer to bring a food item. If they do, they need to be sure that it fits with the décor and the menu. They should not be critical of any of the arrangements.

Dealing With Baby Registries

For the parents-to-be, baby registries are practically heaven-sent. All they have to do is point the scanner at the desired object to have it magically appear on their wish list. For gift-buyers, it’s not quite as simple.

Grandparents and other shoppers have to deal with the gizmo that prints out the list, locate the item and match up the stock number. If the numbers don’t match exactly, they must determine whether it’s a minor difference — perhaps the wrong color — and decide whether to go ahead with the purchase or look for something else.

In the mega-stores, it can be difficult to find someone to help locate the desired item.

What Parents Can Do

Parents can register at a store that is close by, or register at more than one store. They should put a nice variety of items on their list, with a wide price span. They may want to let the grandparents know which items are negotiable, and which are not. It’s a nice gesture to invite the grandparents to participate in the making of the gift list.

What Grandparents Can Do

If in on the making of the gift list, grandparents can actually buy their gift at that time and be sure of having the right thing. If that isn’t practical, or if they want their gift to be a surprise, they can shop early so that the gift list isn’t already half-filled. They can shop online to avoid the hassle of locating the item in the store. Some chains will allow online shoppers to pick up their purchases at a nearby store to avoid shipping charges, which can be substantial.

It's also possible that a grandparent may want to buy something off-the-list for the baby. In that case, be sure to include a gift receipt in case there is a problem with the gift. Grandparents should also resist making a show of giving the most lavish gift.

(You can always give extra gifts in private!) It's especially disturbing to attend a shower where the two grandmothers seem to be having a competition about who can give the biggest gift.

At the Shower

The big day has finally arrived! What can parents and grandparents do to make sure the day is special?

What Parents Can Do

Most of the baby shower guests will probably be younger, so parents should make an effort to include the grandparents in the festivities and in the conversation. It's helpful to introduce guests clearly and identify them: “This is Michelle Smith, who was my roommate in college.” It’s nice to honor the grandparents with a corsage or a small gift, such as a brag book.

What Grandparents Can Do

Grandparents should be on time and be sociable but not domineering. They should compliment the food and the décor.

They should be careful what they say to the expectant mother.

If grandmothers have not been asked to be present in the delivery room, they should not make that decision a topic of conversation. The same goes if they have been told not to visit their newborn grandbaby for a few days. These are not decisions that should be hashed over in public.

Grandmothers also should refrain from telling those horror stories about birthing and parenting that so often become the topics of conversation at baby showers. It's best to be positive and upbeat about the whole experience of parenthood. After all, grandparents know that there’s nothing better than being a parent — except being a grandparent!

Read an open letter from the grandmother-to-be to the mother-to-be on the topic of baby showers.