Childcare these days seems to be a family effort and grandparents are often asked to do some babysitting.
Of course, grandparents are so much more than a babysitter and while many of us in this position are delighted to share in the delight of helping our grandchildren to grow up safely, many grandparents need a bit of refresher on keeping kids safe and healthy in today’s fast-moving and hi-tech environment.
Helping with drop off and pick up’s
As a grandparent, there are bound to be plenty of times when you might be asked to help take the grandchildren to a care center, school or activity.
Although you might not be tasked with actually looking after them for any length of time on these occasions, it is of course really important that you get them to and from their destination in safely.
You need to ensure that you have a suitable car seat and that they are properly buckled in at all times and if you are worried about the mess that your car can get into with young ones as passengers, you might want to consider fitting some custom car seat covers from someone like Shear Comfort, so that you can keep your car in great shape and protect your upholstery.
If you are dropping off and picking up regularly, it would also be a good idea to introduce yourself to a responsible person at the place, and provide some contact details in case you are needed to be contacted when the parents aren’t around.
The passage of time
If you are now a grandparent, it is a fact that you raised your own children some while ago, and this means that some things have changed since you were responsible for taking care of your own young children.
Providing care and a loving environment are two key ingredients of parenting that will never change but there are definitely some things that are approached differently by today’s parents. Updated medical advice on babies sleeping position and a different range over-the-counter medications are just two aspects of parenting guidance that is different to how you may been advised a couple of decades back.
Babysitter and grandparent
As a grandparent, you have the opportunity to be the best possible babysitter.
It is sometimes a difficult balance in trying to entertain your grandchildren in a way that pleases their parents, your children.
A good starting point is to be prepared for all eventualities and what every grandparent could do with is a bag filled with some entertaining solutions to upset, boredom and all manner of other scenarios.
Both grandma and grandpa can contribute to this idea or each have one of their own. Fill the bag with some toys, games, books, movies, craft projects and anything else that you know they will love to get involved with.
If you change the contents around regularly, it will help heighten the excitement and anticipation of what is in the bag today, every time you are asked to babysit.
Grandparenting through the years
It probably won’t take long to cast your mind back to when your children hit their teens and how the relationship had to change to adjust to a raging hormones and the journey to adulthood.
Your relationship with your grandchildren will reflect these same changes and you need to be ready to adapt so that you move on from babysitting to just spending time with them, even though you still might have been asked to look after them.
It is likely that once your grandchildren are into double figures, you will have a fantastic bond with them and enjoy each other’s company. You simply need to be aware of your changing role in their life and be more interactive rather than trying to parent as such.
Get the kids involved in choosing the entertainment and the menu and embrace social media so that you understand how to do Facetime or Skype.
It was not that long ago that the traditional family model was for the Father to go to work and the mother stayed at home to raise the children.
That has largely changed and a lot of families have parents who both work. This has given rise to a multi-generational child-raising situation, with grandparents helping out with regular care duties much more than previous generations.
This can be viewed as a great opportunity to not just help your children with childcare tasks but also to enjoy some real quality time with your grandchildren.
William McDowell is an early childhood teacher. He likes to write about his experiences by posting on the web. His articles can be found mainly on parenting websites.