The crucial moment of a babysitting time? Absolutely, it’s the moment when the parents leave.
If tears are going to be shed or the child is going to plead, “I want to go with them!” it’s going to happen at the moment of departure. An upset child is especially stressful for out-of–town grandparents who want every moment of the visit to be wonderful for their grandchildren.
After eight years of being grandparents, happily, our grands are quite comfortable with us and usually we have no problems. We don’t babysit during a visit unless we’re sure the kids are comfortable with us. (Another of my posts on babysitting lists ways to tell if the kids are ready for you to babysit.)
But a big downside of being a miles away grandparent is that we can’t offer consistency for the child, to allow him or her to always be “used to” us babysitting. Plus kids grow and change! Add those hurdles together and …
- Gabriel, who was fine with you babysitting in January, might not like the idea in July when you’re visiting again.
- Two-year old Jamar doesn’t realize you’ve always babysat on every visit — to him, it’s a new experience.
- Four-year old Eleanor who barely nodded when the parents left during your last visit might now wonder if the parents are going to a more fun place than home.
Departure trick — I mean, tip!
If I sense the child won’t like the parent(s) leaving, I always have a special activity planned for the moment of departure to soothe over any misgivings a little one might have.
I’ll say “Mommy and Daddy are going to run some errands, but I thought we could decorate the cupcakes while they are gone. We’ll start after they leave.”
Works like a charm. Pick a show-stopper activity your grandchild likes. My grands are usually pushing Mommy and Daddy out the door so we can get started on our fun! You make “the leaving” something the child wants to happen.
Remember, don’t start the special activity before the parents leave. All bets would be off as the child then has no happy anticipation about them being gone. You make the child want the parents to leave!
When one of the grandkids is in the clinging toddler stage, I have a couple of wrapped presents stashed in my suitcase (small items like stickers or a coloring book) and have been known to bring those out and put on the mantel for the child “to open after Mommy and Daddy leave.” But I use that gift ploy only if I have to. if I sense their might be trouble, usually just the promise of a fun activity has them saying, “Bye Bye, Mommy and Daddy!”
Hello, fellow grandparent! I’d love it if you’d subscribe to this blog. You’ll receive an email every time I post a new article. I don’t share your email address with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Click here to subscribe. (And please click the Facebook Like and Share buttons below!)
Do you like babysitting when you’re visiting your grands? Please share any tips you have in the Comments section below.