Babysitting Tips for Grandparents
After your grandchild is born, you'll probably be looking forward to giving advice or helping raise your grandchild. Before you assume the babysitter role, make sure you understand the heavy responsibility that comes along with the territory. Listed below are 10 helpful tips to mull over before you start babysitting.
Keep communication open and frequent with your grandchild's parents.
For first timers, communicating with your grandchild's parents about routines, emergency protocols, and important phone numbers will help you prepare for frantic situations should they arise. You should also find out other rules your grandchild's parent would like you to honor: television programs, Internet, and phone use might only be permitted for certain amounts of time. Also be sure to ask if your grandchild suffers from any allergies (food or otherwise) to prevent future accidents. Overall, understanding your grandchild and the parents' requests will ensure smooth sailing during your babysitting sessions.
Realize you are making a commitment.
After the parent details your grandchild's daily routine, dietary specifications, and other essentials, ask yourself: are you willing to make this commitment? You should consider the impact babysitting will have on your social life. Also remember that if you back out of babysitting, your child will have to find another babysitter. Always remember to voice any concerns to avoid future arguments or confusion.
Understand that you will need to enforce rules and boundaries with your grandchild.
Because you're the boss, the relationship with your grandchild may change. Your grandchild's parents will expect you to enforce any rules; if you do not implement these boundaries, you may be sending your grandchild mixed signals. Ask yourself if this position is right for you, or if you prefer being a mentor instead of a disciplinary figure to your grandchild.
Health and stamina: do you have the physical capacity to babysit your grandchild?
Make sure you feel physically fit and up for the challenge of babysitting. You should also consider the germs you'll be exposed to via your grandchild-can your immune system fight them off easily? If you're unable to keep up with your grandchild, make sure a spouse or friend can keep a watchful eye while you rest. Compromising your own health, however, will not be doing anyone any favors.
Minimize bumps and bruises by childproofing your home.
Childproofing your home will help keep your grandchild safe in case they temporarily wander out of site.
Make sure you have an emergency kit and phone numbers.
Be prepared for every eventuality by keeping a list of emergency contacts: parents' cell phones, poison control center, the local hospital, and 9-1-1 should be on the list. Also be sure to have copies of your grandchild's insurance cards and a list of his or her prescriptions and allergies. A first aid kit should also be at your beck and call in case any minor accidents occur.
Covering costs: will you be compensated for your time or other expenses?
According to the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP), some grandparents are compensated for babysitting their grandchildren, and this extra source of income is needed. Discuss with your child if you'll be compensated for your time or if your child plans to cover food and gas costs.
Plan activities and have fun!
Try to remember to have fun within the safety and guidelines detailed by your grandchild's parents. Bonding with your grandchild through various outdoor activities will help you build lasting relationships and memories. Creating an itinerary during your grandchild's stay will also help you stay organized.
Do a trial run.
Test the waters and make sure you feel capable and comfortable babysitting by doing a trial run. A trial run can help you understand what to expect while also learning what your limits are.
Remember to relax and breathe!
Maintaining your stress and well-being is also important to the health and safety of your grandchild. Make sure you take a moment to relax if you find yourself being stretched beyond your limits.