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Ten Amazing Things I Learned While Babysitting for my Grandchildren

Posted on: November 12th, 2013 by bubbyjoysandoys 12 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

As many of you know, I love taking care of my grandchildren, for short or longer periods of time. An overnight at our home for our grandson when he asks or an outing to the ballgame or an afternoon spent hanging out at our home have become pretty regular events in our lives these days.

So when our grandkids’ Mommy and Daddy were planning a vacation, my husband and I agreed to watch both their pre-school kids for….two whole days.

That meant carpools, lunches, back-packs, homework, dinner, baths, outings, morning routine, night routine…the works.

So how did it go for us and for them? Great. Actually, only one (or two) tantrums (“I want my Mommy!”) Not bad…huh?

Seriously….here are a few things that I’ve learned from the experience.

  1. Kids can come up with the most brilliant lines to try to influence us to cave in. It’s our job to be firm.  Do not respond to any comments of “Ya Huh!” with “Nuh Uh.” No matter how many times the kid says, “But my Mommy leeeeets….” – just stand firm that in your house it’s NOT okay to race around the house before bedtime.

  2. Kids don’t want Grandmas to hold their hands in front of their peers. You’d think I’d get the hint when my grandson (5 1/2) kept pulling his backpack over his shoulder every time I reached out my hand to hold his hand in the playground when picking him up from school. Eventually, I got it. He didn’t want to be seen holding his Grandma’s hand in front of his friends. Luckily, when we got to the street, he held on to me as we crossed the street. Grandma, get a grip on the social stuff! Puh-leaze.

  3. There is no such a thing as one book to read before bedtime. Two or three (or four or five in my case) maybe. But not one.

  4. Pizza is perfectly acceptable for dinner. So is spaghetti. Even if you offer chicken and broccoli, chances are they will want just lots of spaghetti with more ketchup. And give small portions because they will NOT finish the food on their plates.

  5. Going to the park or riding the choo-choo train is a fantastic activity for a Sunday afternoon.

  6. Expect the kids to fall asleep in the car, thereby upsetting the early bedtime you thought would happen

  7. Let your own house rules (what rules, hey we’re empty nesters!) relax for while they are with you. After all, you are Grandma and it’s okay for Grandma to spoil just a bit…

  8. Any questions you have about routines, school rules, and so forth can be explained in full by the children. Seriously, these kids know everything. I barely had to read the detailed list my DIL provided me with all the emergency numbers and instructions.

  9. Bribery will get you everywhere. Contests and competition will get you even further. Just saying to them, “Whoever gets into bed first, wins a prize from Bubby!” will have them running to bed. Then “whoever stays in bed….wins a bigger prize…” works wonders as well for preventing the pop-out-of-bed for “just one more drink” phenomenon.

  10. Regarding #9 above, you must fulfill the prize within one day at most, or you will be reminded by said grandchildren promptly. (candy is a good option – refer to #7 above).

There you have it – the 10 Things I Learned From my Babysitting Job. What have you learned lately from babysitting for your grandchildren? Any valuable lessons? Share them with me – I’d love to read about it.

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12 Responses

  1. You’re so lucky to have your grandkids stay with you! I’m envious. Ours haven’t left the kids and I’m not sure if they will since we’re not Orthodox and I’m not sure they trust us to follow all the rules, as much as I try very hard to do so.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      That’s hard. I can relate somewhat because one of our couples has very strict kosher rules that even we don’t keep! So it can be challenging. Maybe it can be worked out for short periods of time. When the kids get older. I have a friend whose parents are not religious and she sends her children to stay there out of state because her kids are a bit older than preschool. So you never know. I don’t want any grandma to feel envious. We all have our nachas in one way or another. I tell myself that when I get envious of stuff!

  2. Nina Badzin says:

    I approve of all of these–for Moms, too! What lucky grandkids (and kids) that they have you in their lives.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks, Nina.
      I should add that I’m actually blessed to have such
      pleasant (and pretty well behaved) grandkids.
      That makes it easy. But ok I will accept your
      compliment! Thank you.

  3. Julie Phelps says:

    I recently filled in for my daughter-in-law, who was quite ill and could barely leave her bed for many weeks. So granma took care of the 13-month old from about 6:00 AM till 6 or 7 each night when his dad would take over.
    Yep, I learned alot. I bonded more with my sweet little grandson. I did what came naturally.
    And lo and behold! My son informed me that “granmas are allowed to have granma rules, which a kid just needs to learn and take advantage of”.
    So there ya go.
    I plan to follow that line of thought.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks Julie for validating my rule about Grandma’s rules! yay! Yes, kids can adapt to wherever they are. I’m not sure I was so flexible when I was a DIL – with my own MIL. But now I’m on the other side (haha) and I’m definitely taking advantage. Glad you also bonded with your grandson.

  4. Risa says:

    Loved this post! Just spent 5 days with two of my grandkids (10 1/2 weeks and 6 yrs old). I learned that one does not have to negotiate about bedtime or how many bites, etc. As I advised my granddaughter, “I don’t count to three.” We like to snuggle in the morning, letting her mommy sleep in with the baby a little–on one condition: she lets me warm up those cold toes of hers first!

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Very cute, Risa! I love the “we don’t count to three” policy. Not sure I followed that -although I probably should. :). Also, love the conditions you make with your little grand-daughter. Sounds very delicious! Enjoy them!

  5. Grandma Kc says:

    There is nothing better than having your grandchild close enough that you can babysit/hug/spoil them as often as you would like. As for holding hands on the school grounds, that may be a boy thing. Our granddaughter is 9+ and has always loved being hand in hand on the playground. Thanks for sharing! Just stopping by from the GRAND Social, hope you get a chance to do the same.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks Grandma KC — yes – you’re right, it must be a “boy thing…” haha. Gotta love those boys. I think even my grandson surprised me there, he is generally such a cuddly kid…but hey his friends were watching (or so he thought!). So cute that you have a 9 year old grand-daughter. I don’t have girls (yet) – not daughters or grand-daughters. We are a boy family….

      And yes – I am hopping over to the GRAND social to take a look at your post! Thanks again…for the comment!

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