Everyone loves to say that the grandparents’ job is to spoil their grandchildren. But, what if you really are spoiling them in a way that will harm them, without meaning to? Stories have been coming out lately stressing that grandparents can be responsible for making their grandkids more susceptible to cancer because of junk food and “spoiling” them. But, there are ways to indulge your grandchildren in a healthy way that feels good and is not dangerous.

Plan for Visits

By their nature young children (and teenagers) can get bored easily. Boredom can feed into the spoiled child syndrome and cause meltdowns and lack of enthusiasm for visiting. Instead, make plans for the visit that they will look forward to, such as movie night, baking, hiking – whatever activities that will make the visit more fun for all of you.

Turn Off Distractions

When your grandkids are visiting, avoid the temptation to watch your normal TV shows and live life as normal. Allow the disruption to occur by turning off electronics and being mentally and physically present for your grandchildren.

Experiences Over Things

Instead of buying a bunch of toys and things for your grandkids, consider buying experiences for them. Take them on a helicopter ride, go horseback riding, go on a cross-country train trip… Do something fun that can also be a learning experience, such as going to the science museum or starting a garden together.

It’s OK to say No

When your grandkids ask for things, it’s okay to say no if you cannot do it, mom and dad don’t want you to, or you simply don’t want to. “No” is a good word for kids to hear from someone who loves them so much. A spoiled child will throw fits until they get their way. An indulged child will know that they can ask but sometimes the answer is no.

Feed Them Healthy Food

It’s okay to have a treat, but don’t go nuts with it. You don’t want to set your grandkids up for problems and issues with food. If mom and dad don’t want their kids to have sugar, meat, or something that you disagree with, it’s too bad. Follow their rules to keep continuity and ensure that your kids let their kids visit again. Provide treats within the parents’ rules. Sitting on the floor eating sliced apples while playing a board game really is just as fun as eating a bag of chips or a ton of candy. What’s more is no one gets sick.

Stick to Mom’s and Dad’s Rules

This really cannot be stressed enough. Mom and Dad make the rules for your grandchildren, even if they’re in your home. Most kids are open to some spoiling by grandparents, but they likely have certain rules they really don’t want to be broken. Don’t break them and don’t bad-mouth your child to your grandchildren because of it. If you’re not sure, ask.

Ensuring that you indulge without going too far will make you a fun grandparent that the real parents want around as much as possible. The grandkids really don’t know the difference because they know their parents’ rules and will comply.

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