Tips When Using Grandparents as Child Care

granparents as babysitters

If you or your spouse's/partner's family lives nearby, you may consider having grandparents help with child care. Some grandparents are willing to provide child care a few days a week, while one day is ideal for others. Having a grandparent provide child care will ease the financial burden of daycare or a nanny, but there are many other factors that arise when family takes on the responsibility of babysitter.

It is important for both parents and grandparents to consider how this will impact their relationship, the child, scheduling, and finances.

Here are six tips parents should consider when contracting into a relationship with a grandparent as a caregiver:

1. You Get What You Pay For

If a grandparent is babysitting your child for free, keep that in mind! As parents know, watching a child for an entire day can be tiring, boring, or frustrating. Grandparents love their grandchildren dearly, but they are not void of these common feelings. If a grandparent allows your child to watch a little more television than you would prefer or eat or drink something you normally would not give, keep in mind that free services are not the same as paid services.

2. You Can't Always Get What You Want

Having others watch your child, whether it is a nanny, daycare or a family member requires parents to give up some control and entrust that caregivers will make the best decisions for your child.

It is good for children to be exposed to different types of personalities and styles. Allowing others to care for your child means you can't always get what you want. Trying to control all aspects of childrearing will cause stress for parents and friction between parent and grandparents.

3. Pick Your Battles

You and your spouse or partner should take the time to figure out the things most important to you and ask the grandparents to respect your requests.

These requests will change as your child gets older and begins to have different interests and abilities. If you are a stickler for no juice, then choose that as your battle. If you do not want your toddler standing on the couch, make it known. Do not choose every battle. Bombarding a grandparent with a lengthy list of rules is not a good idea. Be aware: a grandparent most likely is going to break some of your rules, which brings us to the next piece of advice.

4. Let It Go

If the grandparent follows some rules but does not follow others, it is best to let it go. A grandparent who commits to watching your child for one or more days of the week is doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They truly want to spend time with and enjoy their grandchild. Grandparents (hopefully) are following some of your rules so cut them some slack and let the non-essential issues go. Grandparents raised you (or your spouse/partner) and you turned out good enough. Nit picking everything a grandparent does most likely will cause resentment and frustration.

Your child may also pick up on the hostility in your relationship with the grandparent if you are constantly getting upset and barking orders.

5. Be Transparent

Grandparents are nervous about watching grandchildren, even if they do not admit it. Many grandparents have not been around babies since they raised their own. Giving grandparents lots of direction and help will create a successful caregiver relationship. Write down a schedule for the grandparent. Tell them when to feed and nap your child. Let the grandparent know anything specific going on with your child that day. Do they have a cold? Did they not sleep well? Has separation anxiety recently become a problem? Keeping them in the loop with ease some anxiety and help create a great relationship with a grandparent as a caregiver.

6. Problems Will Arise

Expect issues to come up from time to time as they would in any caregiver relationship. Keeping open communication and honesty with grandparents will help the caregiver relationship. If the caregiver is your in-laws, get your spouse or partner involved and keep them aware of issues. Women may feel uncomfortable bringing up issues to their in-laws and their husband or partner may need to step in and voice the concerns to their parents.

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