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Should Grandparents Provide Child Care?


Your daughter and son-in-law live moved into a home only 5 blocks away and they both work. They are struggling at trying to make ends meet so you want to help them out by taking the kids while they are working.

Your big heart wants to save them the cost of daycare, and besides, you just know that grandmas and grandpas do a great job compared to others.

It’s great that you have such a big heart, but before they give up their space at daycare and you quit your bridge club, you might want to sit down and ask yourself the following questions.

Answer them honestly and don’t be afraid to say no.

Table of Contents

What are you really getting into?

Make sure you know exactly what is involved and how this will affect not only your life, but your spouse’s. Find out how many hours will be involved, days of the week, whether meals are expected, and will you have to drive them to lessons or sports.

Does your daughter and son-in-law have to work a lot of overtime? Make sure you know what is going to be required so you aren’t surprised after you have taken the job.

Do you realize the commitment involved?

If you decide to take this on you need to have a realistic view of what it is like to take care of your grandchildren for an extended period of time.

If you have not taken care of the kids under the same conditions, it would be a good idea to take a one week trial before you commit to this permanently.

Once you commit to it you cannot back out. Remember if you can’t do it will take some time for the kids to find someone else to take your place.

How healthy are you?

Taking care of your grandchildren will require that you be able to keep up with them. Remember that they are young and full of energy. Are you up to lifting up toddlers?

You need to honestly ask yourself if taking care of your grandchildren will compromise your health. If the answer to this is yes, you need to seriously consider helping your kids make other arrangements.

What help will be available?

A good honest discussion with your partner to see how willing he is to help is a must. Tell him that you are thinking of doing this and make sure he understands what is involved.

Ask him how much time, if any, he is willing to give to help you with this. You know your partner best. Make sure you judge what he is promising based on your past experience with him.

Other family members may also be available to help, but you should also check this out with them too. Make sure that anyone you count on for helping you is OK with the parents.

Will it crimp your lifestyle?

You need to ask yourself if you are willing to give up some of those things you do socially. Also if you like to travel, you need to ask yourself how this will affect those trips you want to take.

Can you go from Fairy Grandmother to just Grandmother?

When you are not taking care of your grandchildren on a regular basis you can spoil them all they want. It’s up to the parents to discipline them, not you.

If you decide to take this job, on you will have to discipline them to make sure they are safe and do the things they are supposed to. Make sure that you recognize this beforehand so you can be ready for the change in roles.

Might others resent your role?

You might experience resentment from other kids in the family if you are doing this for one child and not the others.

Even though it may be because the other kids live too far away, they might still balk at you doing this. Be prepared for this and decide if it’s worth the sibling rivalry. If you have older parents they might resent it too, since you now will have less time to spend with them.

Make sure this is something that you want to do. Don’t let someone guilt you into doing it or persuade you. Make sure this is your desire and not others.

If you do decide to do this set up boundaries so that you know when you are expected to babysit and stick to the schedule. Good luck and have fun.


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