How Grandparents Can Handle the Arrival of a New Baby

The birth of a baby in the family is always exhilarating not only for the parents, but for the grandparents as well. If this is a first, the excitement can even turn into a frenzy. How can new grandparents welcome the newborn without it being stressful?


Showering a grandchild with attention is not the only thing grandparents will likely do. One of the most natural things for granddads and moms to do is to give gifts. It may be in the form of a physical gift or money. However, the sad truth is, grandparents are often retired, living on a fixed income, with all the same bills coming on in. This is not to say however, that grandparents should not give to the newest member of the family.

How Much Grandparents Typically Spend

Gift-giving is very much part of the tradition of culture and societies--it is not likely to go away soon. According the AARP study and statistics, 96% of grandparents spend money on grandkids with 25% of respondents spending less than $250, another 25% spending $250-$270 and a further 25%, more than a $1,000. Only 4% spend between $750 and $999.

When further analyzed, grandparents give gifts to grandchildren during birthdays and holidays. In addition, they also help pay for educational expenses, day-to-day costs and even medical or dental works. Basically, can we say-THANK YOU GRANDPARENTS!! However, when all these are added up, money spent on grandkids can quickly balloon and represents a sizeable chunk of the retirees’ budget--and this can be a problem. 

Strategies to Cope with Financial Stress

An important strategy to consider with gift-giving is to know how much can actually be spent on extras and presents. It is essential to set a realistic budget for baby gifts. Sharing with the parents of the child the situation as it is, remains the best option. Being upfront allows expectations to immediately calibrate. Discussing with parents, too the kind of gift you intend to give is always a good idea as they might have specific preferences as to how much money is spent on their baby, and ongoingly as their child grows.

For first grandchildren, it is important to note that a precedence is being set. Thus, grandparents might want to be mindful and choose a realistic value that can fit in their budgets especially if more are coming. Remeber--money is not the only gift grandparents can give. They might want to volunteer to babysit or take them out to the park and even make their own gifts (nothing better than Grandma's hand knitted sweater!). The point is, a new baby should be a source of celebration and not a financial stressor.