raising grandchildren - FamilyEducation
raising grandchildren
01/31/2008 at 05:36 AM

I am a 52 year old grandmother who has just taken custody of my 2 wonderful grandchildren.  My granddaughter is 8 and in the 3rd grade and my grandson is 3 and in daycare.  I don't know where I went wrong with their mother but after lots of sleepless nights and worring, my husband and came to the decission that this was the best thing we could do for our grandkids.  It is not easy starting all over again, but they are very important to us and their mother and fathers are so much into themselves that they don't have time for kids.  I know there are alot of grandparents raising their grandchildren so if any one has any suggestions on making things go alittle smoother, I would really like to hear from you. Thanks for listening. Nanny K

Just a few ideas, tried and true in my family, to pick and choose for yours.

1.  Read aloud together every night, everybody, even the three year-old.  The way you do this is, you tell the little one words or phrases, and the little one repeats it.  The 3rd-grader and the grown-ups can take turns with sentences or paragraphs.  When she comes to a word that makes her hesitate, you supply it, don't make her sound it out in this read-aloud time.  We use scriptures, but a novel or "chapter book" would work, too.  If the chapters are too long, don't do a whole chapter.  Talk about the story.  Talk about the hard words.  Talk about everything.

My Father's Dragon

The Boxcar Children

Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner

Your favorite when you were 8.

Her favorite that she already read by herself.

2.  Family meeting once a week.  A short lesson on social skills, or character,  or any anything at all (game night, how to play checkers!).  Singing and treats. 

3.  Play outside if at all possible.  Garden (even a single pot with a tomato plant in it, or a windowbox with lettuce).  Share as many sunsets and sunrises as you can. 

4.  Make life as easy as you can.  I'm 51 with a 10 year old.  I can't imagine being 52 with a 3 year old.  Early bedtime for the children.  Early bedtime for the old folks, too.



I'm a grandmother also. I'm not raising my grandchildren but I have had them for extended periods. I notice when I have them for a short time, anything goes. We stay up late, we snack, we have great fun and mess up the house. When they leave, I'm exhausted. When they stay longer I try to keep them on a schedule. If you're working outside the home you are probably exhausted when you get home. I suggest having the children help with the dinner routine even if it's something small like setting the table or washing fruit and when dinner is finished have a responsibility for each child. It will help you and they will feel important. Your 8 year old probably has homework that you may need to help her with. Have a special activity for your 3 year old to do and let him know that when you're finished you will spend time with him reading a story or playing a game. You may want to set a timer.  A bedtime routine is very helpful. I made a simple chart so my grandchildren know what to do. It includes a bath, a snack, brushing teeth, a story, and prayers. I had them help me make the chart and they drew pictures to represent each activity. I hope this is helpful, good luck.


Dear Nanny, I too am raising grandchildren. I'm 60 my husband 71. We have 3 girls- 6, 7, & 15. They are my sons children, We have had them for nearly 6 years now. We got them just 1 year after we retired,  My son see's them sometime, but he is remarried now and has a new son. The mother left and has never returned. My husband, who is my sons stepfather, and I were able   take parental rights from both parents and have addopted them. They are healthy happy children now. There is nothing easy in raising them, At this age I sometime think I must have been out  of my mind, to think I could do this. But the alternative would have been much worse. Instead of traveling like we had planned we now go to parks and have picnics. And do  lots of homework, which by the way is nothing like it used to be. Now we are going to deal with the dating scene again, Thats all different too. We are involved in church activities and a lot of school things. We also read to each other all the time and play lots of games and watch movies together, We pray together. The two little girls are both adhd . They are both on medication for this.  I used to wonder how I could have raised such an irresponsible son and I don't know what went wrong , He started using drugs at about 17 and it got worse from there, He is 34 now and to my knowlege he is clean. I pray he is for the little baby's sake.                    

The confusion and chaos you are having now is a lot better than all the sleepless nights and worring you would have had if you hadn't taken the children. I know.  Just love them and play with them and stay on their level, it's just as much of an adjustment for them as for you. I know this isn't what you ask for , but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. PRAYER's, GRANDMA



We are raising two of our granddaughters, 9 &10. They have been with us for 7 years and we adopted them 4 years ago. I am 55 and my husband is 78. We too spent many sleepless nights wondering what our daughter was going to do next. She is an alcoholic and bipolar who refuses to take the meds needed to control her mood swings.  I don't have any easy solutions for success, we just do our best every day. We reintroduced ourselves to parenting by taking some classes and we make sure the girls know how much we love them.


This is my first visit to this site, your comments touched me and I just wanted to introduce myself and send you blessings.




I certainly know what you are going through. I have a 14 yr old girl that has been with my husband and I since Aug 2000. It has been a long road but you will never regret it. I don't know what state you live in but get whatever kind of help out there that is available to you. Do you have health insurance for the children and are you receiving child support? And why is it that when we all go to tell our stories we want to know what we did wrong with our children. I have stopped trying to figure that one out and I sleep better at night because of it. We love this girl so much and after all this time we really consider ourselves a family. My life has changed for the better. I have two best friends who are moms and are 20 years younger than me! Everything changes when you raise grandchildren. No knitting for me!! Hang in there.

I have 2 grandsons here, 5 and 3. The older one goes to kindergarten and brings homework home. So I went online and got some preschool color pages and basic skill builder worksheets and the younger one does homework with "brudder". We also do easy crafts 2 or 3 nights a week and story time the other nights. Last night we dipped hands in glue and put them on poster board in the heart shape and then glittered them and dated. We planted a big garden this year and they help pull weeds and pick. They love being outside, sidewalk chalk and bubbles are a must here. If you have a dollar tree near they have nifty craft stuff. Yours are a few years apart but mine are peat and repeat. By 8 pm most nights they are ready to drop, as am I. I work full time also. It is not easy but to me well worth the small sacrifice of time, and sleep. Please Do not blame yourself for bio's problems, as long as you know you did all you could, you have to find peace with it. Once they are grown, the choices they make are thiers and do not reflect upon your parenting skills. I too dealt with those issues, but through other sites found my sanity. Now my focus is on these very active boys. She made her choice and it is her loss. Neither boy knows their dad, and they don't come around.

NannyK We too are grandparents age 52, and adopted our grandchildren ten years ago. Their parents were just like many, not responsible, and full of themselves. We had the heartache of wondering what we had done wrong and worry of loosing the babies. The social worker at the time said "kiss your retirement good-by! You are going to have to adopt or lose them". So we found a good lawyer and have since moved to another state to start over. That was a big change, we were happy where we were, but felt it best for us and the children to have a Fresh Start. They know us as Mom and Dad, though they know the truth, as we talk ALOT. Neither of the birth parents are intrested or involved. Neither has offered any $$ or support from day one. As for suggestions: I think if you were to talk to a tax person there is some refund you can get for adopting, it's not alot but at our age every dollar helps. We read books or watch family viedos, and try to keep up what kids like to do fishing, swimming, walks, ect.. I help out in school in their classes, and have them help me with cooking and cleaning, though the baking is the most fun for them. We try to be normal as possible. We have the garden,and pets and yes it is starting over again. No, I don't think I have ever regretted adopting as it got them out of the system, and we were not being told what or when or how we should raise them. Nor do I feel moving was a bad, difficult at first. But when isn't moving challenging. We have a variety of new friends, some younger and some older. Some know the true story some don't. We are accepted by all. And we do have two other grandchildren being raised by their own parents. So we have a taste of what being a real Grandpa and Grandma is. And it is fun when we can be just that. I have met some who said their marriage is going south due to the grandchildren being with them so much. One said her hubby gave her a choice, him or the grandchild. She was in tears as to how to choose. No one said raising children was easy, you make mistakes, it's the same with the gandchildren. We are trying and I know we have made mistakes before, but hopefully not the same ones again. I can only suggest to continue to love these children more and let them know you are there for them. Encourage them and don't blame them for their parents faults. A dear man share with us "love them twice as hard as they have twice the battle to face in life, you are the grandparent and they the grandchild, so love em' twice as much". I try hard to practice this even when my feet and back ache at the middle of day. I had done a google search on grandparents raising grandchildren. There is some info. But as each of our situations is unique, I wasn't helped by it much. I wish the goverment would give us Grandparents a tax break as we are older and life brings more challenges. Just wondering too... Sometimes don't you wish we had president or someone in congress who walked in our shoes? Oh the possiblities that could happen. I read that almost 2/3 of grandparents today are either part time or full time caregivers to their grandchildren (didn't mention how many had adopted). Our numbers are growing. It seems like we are not the minority anymore, just the silent. What do you think? I have questions and thoughts. It's nice to know there are others out there. I'll be watching this thread more, as it a comfort to read.

I can not add as a grandmother but I can add a little I think as a single Mum to four. I admire all the grandparents out there that have done what you all have done. The father of my children has no interest in seeing his kids so I live on my own with them but I am not on my own, I have wonderful parents that have a major influence in my children's lives. My Mum is my "husband", I talk to her about everything and get her advice, my father is their "father" and their male influence. If it was not for my parents my road and my children's road would be a lot longer and a lot harder. I hope you all know what a GREAT job you are doing and you are invaluable to these children. It is hard when the grandparents also have to be the parents and can't just spoil their grandkids and it is also a shame that both you and them have to miss out on this. I hope you all find the help and wisdom out there to help you and the children get through this, but also know that if it wasn't for you raising these children they would be just one more in the "system". I also would like to say to all the grandparents out their "thanks for sharing your stories".

My husband and I are in our mid fifties, and are raising 3 grankids, 6, 8, and 9. We have had them for almost 6 yrs, and now are seriously thinking about adopting them. We have put a lot of time effort and money into giving them a great education and good christian morals. Everytime I think, "what are we doing", they say or do something that makes it all worth while. I Plan things for them to do, and also get their aunt to take them at least every other weekend. We have 30 min. quiet time everyday after school, and they go to bed at 7:50pm, which gives my husband and I time to think or discuss issues. Their mom says she wants them back, but her life is a constant roller coaster, and I will not let her drag them on it. She refuses to work and wants someone (doesn't matter who)to take care of her. When she was in school she was an A student, but for some reason she thinks (at 26) she is not suppose to work??? She is constanly asking for money, but never pays it back. Sometimes I think she wants the kids to be a miserable as she is by discussing her problems to kids hat can't do a thing to help her. I believe she wants them to feel sorry for her.

We have had our gk's for almost 6 yrs, and want to adopt. The mother of the kids says she wants them back but is a constant trainwreck. After almost 6yrs she is still waiting for someone else to take care of her,and refuses to work. When she had the kids her money went on her boyfriends, friends, and partying until she was evicted from her townhome. We were tired of bailing her out and just took the kids in. How hard was it for you to adopt?

I am also raising my grandkids for the last 5 1/2 yrs 2 have adhd and anixity mental retarted with vilent tendance and 2 that are normal (they are drug kids) meth was choise of drug. I am raising them alone and it is very hard I work full time and they have daycare until I get home. My second oldest granddaughter was 18 mo old her drunk drug infested thing called dad beat her (one half of her body was black and blue)sorry for the detail thank god the 2 younger ones were small the baby 6mo now 5yrs I go throw times of did I do the right thing --I KNOW I DID WHEN THEY TELL U HOW MUCH THEY LOVE U --

my mum and dad are currently in the same postion as yourself there is 2 granchildren involved my sister is spending the childrens income my dad isnt in work at the moment.my mum is on a very low income and they r strugglin financially, could u please give me abit of advice on how to go about full access and how do they get benefits for the children as my mum and dad are struggling to with the whole situation i would be very gratefull for any advise you can give as i dont know were to turn for help. were hoping social services will be our last option. thanks blaire

I firmly agree your story sounds like mine dont know where i went wrong with my son, dont think i did... just got a controlling wife she is high mantaince... she gets what she wants dont care who she hurts along they way. Cant stand my sons kids she doesnt want them around. Has accused them of everything. Drop him off for a little while and never came back would not answer phone so we kept our grandson, and now still lives with us..she tells everyone that they pay us for keeping him havent seen the first penny dont care to. Grandson does everything to be accepted by them it anit going to happen they dont care about him our his brother. Just their kids and their lives post pictures on facebook about their lovely family my grandson just looks at it all the time..Why cant our son see what he is doing? I will teach this young man morals and values and living for others and Christ..

To "nannykharmon" - I just read your post and find myself in a similar situation. I am seeking an attorney who can help me get custody of my grandchildren. Their mother is spiraling down and has been for about 7 yrs. Now. I went through my own period of time into using drugs but that was 12 yrs. Ago and my life has changed dramatically. I am a Christian and have been seeking counsel with my minister. Praying that I can make my daughter understand why I need to take the children. Difference between you & I is my husband does not support me so I am liking at ending my marriage because of the. God knows I don't want to do that but I have no other alternative. He won't even attend church with me. Please pray for me. My granddaughters don't even want to live with their mother & they are ages 6 & 3. Their mom is a drug addict and cares more about men & clothing & shoes than her own. Kids. They don't even have shoes. I cannot sleep at night for worrying and understand. How you feel.

I am also a grandma raising my 5 yr old grandson , he is almost 6 and we are in our mid 50 's My daughter is a drug addict -- So very sad , focus on the Children !! Good luck ,Debbie

I live 3,000 miles away from my grandkids. My daughter has some kind of emotional disorder but refuses to acknowledge it. She is explosive and angry. I worry constantly about her children. I go out and spend long vacations with them. Sometimes they visit me for extended stays. I worry so much about how she treats them. I believe she loves them but I hate that they must endure the mood swings and the raging.I am depressed at times thinking about what my grand daughter who is 8 years old has to go through.I am seventy and have a 43 year old autistic son who lives with me,I may have to take them if she gets into trouble.