Grandparents as Caregivers


For those of you who live in the Lower Mainland, the Lynn Valley Parent Participation Preschool is hosting a workshop on March 2, 2016. You can learn all about it here.

As most of you know, I love being a grandmother. And I love every minute I spend with my grandchildren.

But I am no longer young, and I have had to be realistic about my limitations so that every moment I spend with the kids is positive and not overly exhausting.

This has required me to the be honest with myself and then with my children.

And it has worked marvelously.

So let’s talk about grandparents and childcare.

Grandparents and Childcare

Belinda is your beautiful little grandchild and you love spending time with her. But now, her parents are looking down the road to when they will return to work and need daycare.

You love your child but you just know that doing full-time child-care is not going to work for you. So, you’ve taken the difficult first step by being honest with yourself. It’s difficult to admit that although you truly love your daughter and granddaughter, taking on this level of care would be too much. If you go ahead against your best instincts, you will regret it down the road. I’ve spoken to grandparents who just couldn’t say no and ended up burned out and resentful.

Talk to your husband and your friends. There’s nothing like saying things out loud to bring clarity. Soon you’ll become clear on your decision and you will have some practice saying that you just can’t take on full-time childcare. It’s easier to tell your friends than to tell your daughter.

The next step is to decide whether you’d like to take on a portion of childcare. Maybe you could handle two days a week, or a few half days. You may want to offer to be the emergency back up in case Belinda is sick or her daycare arrangements fall through. Even without doing full-time care, you can still offer a valuable service to your daughter and be helpful with the arrangements needed for her to go back to work. Continue to be honest with yourself and take some time to make this decision. Talk to your friends and find out what they chose to do with and for their grandchildren.

Once you’re clear within yourself, talk to your daughter and be absolutely honest with her. It’s more positive to present what it is you’d like to do than what you can’t handle. Then listen. It’s difficult to choose a baby’s first daycare and she needs a sympathetic ear. Listening to her concerns doesn’t bind you to being her solution.

Many companies today have work/life programs designed to help mothers in this situation. If she hasn’t already checked her workplace, suggest she contact them to see if they can help. They may have a good list of childcare options close to both her work and her home.

Help her to consider other work options. Can she flex her hours so that between she and her husband they can reduce the length of the time spent in daycare? Are part-time work or tele-commuting options? She may be so emotional about leaving her baby that she hasn’t objectively considered all the possibilities. You can be a real resource in this regard.

Your daughter could probably use some help choosing the daycare. Remember that there is a range of options from group daycares to home care. You can be helpful by doing some of the research about what’s available in her community and the pros and cons of each. She might even be pleased if you were to cull the list of possibilities down to a short list. Then offer to visit those with her so she has someone to talk to about the choices.

Decide what you and your husband can and will do, then you’ll have lots of energy to be very supportive and helpful.

Two kids, two temperaments.

Taking their unique temperaments into account.

 Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is easy-going. What do we need to know about different temperaments?

Every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.

I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.

But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.

The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.

How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?

I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.

And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.




Posted in Family Concerns, Grandma Kathy Blog, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Grandparents as Caregivers

  1. Usha says:

    Dear Kathy;

    I simply love your wisdom! I am a grandmother as well and I do so appreciate your clarity and ideas regarding discipline and child minding. Thank you, and please keep me on your email list.


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