Babysitting: A Guide for Grandparents
You’ve raised your own children, and you’ve seen it all—the tantrums, the emotional minefields, the homework, the dinners; it’s a rollercoaster. But things change when grandchildren enter the scene; the power dynamics have shifted, and all those things that used to come down to you and only you now fall to your grandchild’s parents. Yet, now, you’re on a new rollercoaster and in a different kind of minefield.
Taking care of a child is not something one forgets how to do, but nuances and details may have changed, and everyone gets a little rusty – besides the fact each child is different. However, those skills are still there, and if you master the art of entertaining your young grandchildren, your own grown-up children will be your biggest fan, and you will have a rewarding and deep relationship with your grandkids. With this in mind, here are some pointers to make sure that your time goes smoothly Giniloh.
1. Respect The Routine
Unless you live with your grandkids on a daily basis, you won’t know exactly what their routine and daily rhythms are. Agree with them or disagree; it’s the best thing for the child to stick to the pattern that they’re familiar with and work within that. You and the parents should go over their routines and write down things like nap times, when dinner is served, and what happens before bed. It may even be a good idea to note what toys or blankets they sleep with.
The bottom line, you want to rock the boat as little as possible. Although you’re a familiar presence, you’ll be creating waves just by being there. This will be exciting as well as anxiety-inducing for young ones, and they’ll want to push the boundaries. Knowing exactly where those boundaries are will make them feel secure, and the day or evening will go more smoothly.
2. Bring An Activity
Instead of just switching on the television or letting them escape with a tablet, plan an activity. Plan a craft such as creating holiday ornaments or decorations, devise ideas for outdoor activities, such as biking, gardening, or a walk, or break out a board game. You don’t have to break the bank every time you look after the little ones—kids love routine. Bringing or making available the same board game to play or book to read every week will give them something familiar to look forward to.
3. Set Some Tasks
If you are looking after the grandkids for a longer period of time, try establishing a daily routine (within their normal routine, of course). Let them pitch in around the house, but don’t just assign chores; let them work alongside you. Even doing the dishes can be a great time to connect, as can mowing the lawn.
Even if you’re in an assisted living facility anywhere in the country, whether it’s assisted living in Nashville or New York, there are still things to do with your grandkids. Younger kids love to help you with laundry, make your bed, and even help you prepare food for meals – maybe they’ve never peeled a potato or carrot before, which they’ll be fascinated by!
4. Make A Smooth Transition When Leaving
You’ve planned a great day or evening; it’s gone particularly well, but don’t lose it in the dismount. Being at Grandma and Grandpa’s can be like a mini-vacation, but make sure that there is a time of calm and recollection when mom and dad come back. Having a loud, high anxiety hand-off can set a bad tone for how the rest of the time went!