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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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Going to the park or riding the choo-choo train is a fantastic activity for a Sunday afternoon.
Expect the kids to fall asleep in the car, thereby upsetting the early bedtime you thought would happen
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…
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.
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.
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.
Check out my new website for Mothers-in-law! http://motherinlawhood101.com
Tags: babysitting for grandkids, bribing grandchildren, giving candy, Grandmacare, sleepovers at Grandma, spoiling grandchildren