You love them, but they do require some changes

Boomers Raising Grandkids

by Paige Estigarribia

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Maybe your grandkids stay with you three or four days a week. Maybe they come over every other weekend and stay. Or maybe they live with you full time. In this day and age, many Boomers have found themselves raising their grandkids either part time or full time. Of course, time with your grandkids is a blessing. But it's a big lifestyle change too. Here are a few tips to keep you enjoying time with your grandbabies and enjoying your life, too.

1. Grandkids Need a Routine

According to HealthyChildren.Org, an American Academy of Pediatrics site, kids function well with a routine. Routines make a daily schedule predictable, and they keep life generally organized. Kids generally function well in a daily routine.

As tempting as it is to celebrate and spoil your grandkids when they visit, if they are visiting often or living with you, you'll likely find that a routine may work well for both of you. The type of routine you have will probably depend on if your grandkids visit a few days a week or if they live with you. If you have grandkids living with you, you'll probably want to establish daily routines. You may want some routines for waking up, eating meals, school, afternoon activities, napping, and evenings. And if your grandkids come for visits several times a week, you'll also want special routines for arrival, typical activities, naps, clean-up, etc. If you don't already have a little routine, then create one and try it out for a while. You may find that both you and your grandchild look forward to it!

2. Feed Grandkids Healthy Meals

From ice cream to chocolates, grandparents often keep a stocked closet of treats for visiting little ones. But if you're taking care of your grandkids everyday or the majority of the week, make a goal to give them healthy options for every meal. A healthy diet is a major part of good health. Get creative and try a "colored plate," a plate stocked with colorful fruits, veggies, pastas, or proteins. It's a great way to encourage healthy eating ideas! Or even get your grandchild involved in growing or preparing snacks and meals. Apples, grapes, cucumbers, and even grape tomatoes are great options for kids as snacks. And if you want to give ice cream, try frozen yogurt. There are lots of healthy options that taste great!

3. Take a Break from the Grandkids

As much as you might be enjoying this special time with your grandkids, you'll probably need a break from time to time. If your grandkids stay with you a few times a week, don't be afraid to claim a day to yourself and just say no if you aren't feeling up to it. And if you have grandkids living with you full-time, a dependable and trustworthy babysitter is a great option to have for the occasional afternoon or an evening out for dinner with your spouse or friends. Or check your local gym. Sometimes a local YMCA or other fitness facility has childcare available for when you are working out. Having a little break from time to time can be a great way to recharge and keep your energy up.

4. Adjust Your Budget

When your grandkids are with you either full-time or part-time, you'll probably have to adjust your spending and your budget. From keeping kid-friendly snacks in your pantry, to extra toilet paper, to more energy use, an additional person can impact typical household expenses. When raising your grandkids, don't forget to make the changes you need to your budget to keep everyday living affordable and comfortable for everyone.

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5. Be a Kid Again!

Raising your grandkids or spending lots of time with them is a great reason to build tents, make cookies, play kickball in the backyard, or just generally enjoy kid-friendly activities. You can make some of these fun activities part of your schedule or even fun rewards for chores or good behavior!

If you are raising your grandchild or they are spending lots of time at your house, your life has likely changed a lot. Enjoy this special time and but don't forget to take care of yourself, too!

Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.

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