Grandparenting Class Aims to Enlighten New Grandparents

by Donne Davis on March 10, 2009

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Quincy Adams Harding gets my vote for the luckiest ten-month old in Silicon Valley. Three weeks before she was born, both sets of Quincy’s grandparents completed the Grandparents Seminar offered by Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, CA. Since then, both sets of doting grandparents take turns babysitting for Quincy on alternate Fridays and apply what they learned at the seminar.

These two families are part of a growing trend among grandparents to be better informed when their new grandchild arrives. So many changes have occurred since grandparents raised their own children and classes can help new grandparents get up to speed and understand what they’re observing without having to ask or challenge the new parents.

The LPCH Grandparents Seminar is just two hours and draws pre- and postnatal grandparents from all over the Bay area, Southern California and even from the East Coast. The class aims to update grandparents-to-be on the latest obstetric and pediatric practices. Marilyn Swarts, RN has been teaching the Grandparents Seminar since its inception about four years ago.

She encourages grandparents to ask their children what they think versus volunteering too much advice. “It’s so hard because we’re still in the parent mode and just want to help our children,” says Swarts. “But they must learn for themselves. Better to ask them: What do you think would be a good solution? I want grandparents to empower the new parents, help them believe they’re the best parents for their child and make them feel comfortable and confident in their new roles.”

Quincy’s grandma empathizes. “Today’s parents are really stressed. They need grandparents to be supportive, observant and complimentary. And most importantly to keep their lips zipped!” Taking the class helped her be able to hear things from a new mom’s viewpoint. She says she’s more sensitive to her daughter-in-law and becoming a grandparent has created a new relationship with her.

The Grandparents Seminar is taught four times a year. The cost is $60 per couple or $125 if you also take the Infant and Child CPR class. For more information call 650-724-4601 or visit www.birthclasses.lpch.org.

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