Living with your grandparents
grandparents; family; relationships; older; generation;
Grandparents are the parents of your mum and of your dad.
So that means you may have 2 grandmothers and 2 grandfathers.
If you are lucky you get to see them fairly often.
Even if you don't see them very often you know that there are people other than your parents who love and care for you.
Some kids see lots of their grandparents because they may live at their house with them, at least for a while. Other kids may have one or two grandparents living with them. Some kids may have grandparents who take them to school, sports or other outside school activities.
Having other adults in the house apart from parents can be challenging at times but you can learn to make it work if you try.
In many cultures grandparents, parents and kids all live and work together for the benefit of the whole family. In Australia a few kids live in extended families (that is families where it is not just mum, dad and the kids in the house).
Living in your grandparents' house
There are many reasons why some kids live with grandparents.
- Mum and dad may have split up and one of them has gone back to their parent's home with the children.
- A parent may have died and the other parent has moved back with their mum and dad for the support they need for themselves and children.
- There may be financial reasons like losing jobs or a home.
- Maybe parents have to move overseas for a while and don't want to interrupt the children's education.
- Maybe a parent is too sick to look after children.
Whatever the reason, children living in grandparents' houses need to remember a few things.
- It is not your house so respect and good manners are even more important than usual at home.
- It is a good idea to help out with chores and keep your own stuff tidy and clean.
- Grandparents may not want to have heaps of your friends calling round so always check it's ok with them.
- Don't sign up for sports teams, clubs or after school activities without asking first.
- Older people may have different ways of doing things like they may insist that everyone sits at the table to eat rather than what you may have been doing such as eating in front of the computer or tv.
- Older people have already brought up their own children and might find it a bit hard to have kids around all the time. They need their free time too.
When grandparents live with you
Maybe you have a grandparent living in your house? There can be many reasons for this.
- Maybe one grandparent died and the other one was too lonely.
- Maybe your grandparent has been sick and needs to be looked after for a while.
- Maybe your grandparent has moved in to help out your family.
- Maybe your grandparent has come from overseas to live with you.
- Maybe your grandparent has always lived with you.
Having a grandparent living in your house can be a bit difficult for your parents and your grandparents at times.
Sharing a bathroom and a kitchen with other adults is never very easy.
The adults will need to work things out and you can help by being as nice as you can be.
Maybe your grandparent will have his or her own room, tv, and enough space for some personal things or maybe only room for a few most precious things.
Your grandparent may be living in 'your' house but you need to learn to ask their permission to go into their space or use their things.
Sometimes a grandparent may be living with you because he or she is sick and needs care. Being helpful and caring will help everyone in the house. You would like to be looked after if you were sick, wouldn't you?
Making the most of grandparents
It may take a while to learn to live all together but there are lots of advantages too.
- You may have access to more time and attention from adults, especially if one of them is at home or retired from work.
- You may have someone else to help you with reading, finding resources for projects etc.
- You may have someone to talk to about your worries.
- You may be able to learn a new skill, like playing the piano, guitar, card games, fishing, golf etc.
- You may have someone else to show your work to, play games with, test your spelling, learn for tests and you may even be the teacher too! (Especially about computers and computer games.)
- You may have someone who can tell you 'family' stories'.
- You can listen to music you may not otherwise hear.
- You can learn history from someone who has lived through many changes in their lives.
What kids say
- "My grandma and granddad live in South Africa so I don't see them often but it's good when they come here to stay."
- "When I'm with my Grandy or Nannie I enjoy doing arts and crafts."
- "My Grampa and Poppa enjoy tickling me and playing with me."
- "My Papa lives on his own with 2 boys. He is 53. He is my favourite and I like to stay there because he spoils me and takes me out."
- "Nana lives with us for a while and then she lives with my aunty in Melbourne. I miss her but she's coming back at Christmas."
- "I teach Nana how to play games on my computer and she teaches me maths so I'll get better at it."
- "My Gran taught me how to knit and how to waltz."
- "My Gramps takes me fishing on the river."
- "My Papa told me about him playing rugby. He started when he was 16 and stopped when he was 40 because he thought he was too old to play. Then he played for another good team until he was 50.He played midfield when he was young but as he got older he played defence because there was too much running. He showed me many trophies so he must have been great." Summer
Really love me
A lovable person
Play with me
Always spoil me
Teach me things
Special times together
"My grandparents live in
Scotland where it snows for the whole winter. I like it."
In many cultures older people are held in great regard. They are thought of as being more special the older they get. They are considered wise and are treated with great respect. In our society many grandparents are still working until fairly late in their lives. They may not always have lots of time to give you, but you can be sure that they want to hear about you, so try to keep in touch with them through letters, emails, phone calls or sms.
If you live with a grandparent try to remember that as people get older they may find it a bit harder to keep up with kids or even find (though you may find it hard to believe) that kids can be too noisy at times!!
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.