Advice from an aunt
How to be a good aunt? Is there a recipe for playing this role in a balanced and serene way? In reality there is no real secret to succeeding in the enterprise, if not to be with the grandchildren in a carefree way and enjoy the time together. Here are a few advice from an aunt who unfortunately lives far from her granddaughter but when she is with her she rediscovers the joy of playing, lowers her defenses and becomes a child again, because basically that's the beauty of being an aunt.
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- Don't be pushy and respect the role of parents: no matter how nice it is to be carefree and basically a bit crazy when you are with your grandchildren, this does not mean that you have to constantly propose and behave in the opposite way to what was established by mom and dad;
- Go back to being a child and let your guard down: singing, dancing, playing with dolls, but also running and playing games as children are all things that I can do with my niece and that somehow at the end of the day leave me a sense of freedom and serenity of mind, like if I had put my real me on the line;
- Offer to be a babysitter in the evening: frankly I love the sleepover that we manage to put together when I propose myself as a nanny. I feel useful because my brother and his wife can go out and treat themselves to a romantic evening, while my niece and I are cuddling, making popcorn or ordering a pizza and choosing a movie to watch curled up in bed;
- Read the books: if I dedicate myself to my niece I love to bring her a new book and I love reading it aloud for her, changing voices, playing funny characters and trying to interpret with her what the famous moral of the story is;
- Capture the moments but then put your phone away: it's great to take a picture or take a selfie while having fun putting in absurd filters and gadgets, but then the phone is placed in the bag and the technology is forgotten;
- Become a friend: I am the aunt and even if the role is in fact held with a certain degree of authority I am not a parent, so it is very important for me that my niece knows that I do not judge her and I am on her side. I always put myself in a listening position, about school, friends, things she likes. In this way I can rediscover feelings and emotions that have remained in my 9 years and at the same time I can convey to my niece the idea that she can trust me for any problem;
- Don't go overboard with gifts: you may be tempted to indulge in a wild and unrestrained shopping, buying the most fashionable toy every time to feel like a super cool aunt, but this attitude would be wrong. It is not a good teaching to pass on to my niece and it is not fair to parents who, perhaps, by choice or objective difficulties, are unable to do the same thing.
And now here are some tips for being a good aunt when a baby arrives. And yes, because when a nephew arrives, a new aunt is born who can be a invaluable help for new parents, struggling with many changes that are not all easy to manage:
- offer yourself as a babysitter but do not be offended if mom and dad decline the offer;
- when you are at home, suggest to your mother to go and rest for a few hours while you are around to take a look at the baby and fix a bit;
- cook simple dishes and sauces to leave in the refrigerator: they will be grateful to you;
- learn how to change the diaper!