Grandparents and Babysitting

According to a recent study, in households where a child’s grandparents do not live with them, nearly one in four children under five is regularly cared for by a grandparent. Having your child’s grandparent babysit them from time to time can be a wonderful way for them to bond and strengthen their own unique relationship.

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to grandparents and babysitting.

Ensure the grandparent is willing and able to look after your child

Sometimes, your child’s grandparent is happy to play with them all evening when they come over for dinner, but unable to maintain a full day of supervision, discipline, and activities. Whether it’s because of prior commitments or health concerns, there are some factors in a grandparent’s life that may require you to adjust your expectations. Discuss the possibility of child care with the grandparent, and see if there is an arrangement to be made that takes into account their own needs as well as yours.

Additionally, many grandparents who babysit their grandchildren resist the possibility of payment. If you would like to compensate the grandparent but they refuse money, think of respectful and creative ways you can thank them. For example, you might take them out for a nice meal, fix something in their home, or ask your child to create a special painting for them.

Get everyone on the same page

As a parent, you know that consistency is key when it comes to setting and enforcing rules for your child. However, you also know that your child’s grandparent may love to “spoil” them and let them do things they don’t get to do at home. To find a good compromise, figure out what your non-negotiable rules are, and ensure that these ones are also carried over to the grandparents’ house. For example, you may insist that your child goes to sleep at a certain time or isn’t allowed to jump on the bed, but you might decide that eating a little bit of candy while visiting their grandparents is okay.

Discuss your parenting philosophies

The way your child’s grandparents raised their own children is likely much different from your own way. While many aspects of these parenting styles may be the same, there are likely going to be differences. Sit down and have an open and non-judgemental discussion about your parenting philosophies, and explain why you do things in a certain way. It’s also a good idea to discover what the grandparent knows about developments in child safety and development over the years. For example, they may not know about back-sleeping as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS, or about toys that have now been found to be unsafe. Ensure that the grandparent’s home is safe for your child and that your child understands, in an age-appropriate way, what the rules are at their grandparents’ house.

Having your child’s grandparent babysit is an ideal way to strengthen the child-grandparent relationship. These tips can help ensure that the babysitting process runs smoothly.