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Seeing your children ill is a sad, sometimes frightening situation. When it is your grandchild, you can multiply those feelings times 1,000 (at least).

As a grandmother of 4 (extremely adorable) kids under the age of 5, I have had way too much experience seeing them ill. As the grandma - my own children call on me to help them - especially during these scary experiences.

There tend to be a few major things I have found I can provide as the grandma when an illness or injury strikes.

My Rx seems to fall into two main categories: what you can do, and what you can bring. Here is my list:

What a Grandma can do

Just BE there

Your child (the parent) needs you for reassurance and advice - even if you haven't really experienced the exact illness or situation before. It is scary for everyone when your child is hurting. I have often felt that my heart was sitting there on that exam table.

You don't have to know the answer --- or diagnosis. Your child needs your reassurance that you are there to support them.

Pitch in where it helps

One of my grandkids has asthma. This is a scary condition that I have never dealt with before. It necessitates midnight trips to the emergency room and frantic, fearful hours. Whether you volunteer to go along to the doctor, or stay behind and watch other kids while both parents make the trip - it always seems to help to have another adult set of hands.

Just remember - what the treatment should be is up to your kids and their medical provider. Don't criticize. You are the support.

Stay calm - help your kids stay calm

The expression on an adult's face translates very quickly to a child. Whether you are seriously worried or not - try to keep that fear off your face. I remember the experience of seeing my grandson's eyebrow cut deeply and bleeding. He was crying. His mom and I wanted to cry too. But - keeping calm helped him cooperate enough to get it stitched.

Help your kids realize some things just happen

Your grandkids are going to get hurt. It happens. Kids fall. Parents slip. Things happen. Help your kids realize that they can't prevent everything. Help them analyze circumstances they can change - to prevent anything in the future (move a slippery rug, put up a baby gate).

Some situations can not be changed. My granddaughter has asthma. We can't wish it away. Or medicate it entirely away. What you don't want to do is be judgmental. Don't blame. Help the parent think through things that can make the child safer - if it is a situation where something can be changed.

What a Grandma can Bring

'I don't feel good' treats

For many illnesses, there are things I always try to bring to the patient - and the parents. These include:

jello popsicles
a small toy or game crackers or non-spicy snacks
stickers for the young crowd non-caffeinated pop (like Sprite) or juice
a favorite snack (for the grandkid) a favorite treat (for the parent)

OTC needed supplies

Sometimes over-the-counter remedies and supplies can help ease symptoms of an illness. Here are some of the items I have brought to help ears, throats, bumps and assorted other situations:

a stick-on fever cooling patch OTC pain relievers (see if the parents need any)
a humidifier an electrolyte solution like Pedialyte
fun bandaids with characters or colors warm / cold compress

Hugs and kisses

I know I said this above too - but, being there for your kids - and grandkids - is a comforting, truly helpful thing to be. Watch Frozen for the 100th time. Let the parents get some sleep while you watch the grandkids. Color. Try (in vain) to beat them at a video or computer game.

And just snuggle. That's what Grandmas do best.

Sue Klein

Sue is a mom of two, grandmother of four and daughter to her own mother. She blogs about all things 'grandma.' ...

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