Babysitting grandkids is a big deal, especially for us out-of-town grandparents who aren’t weekly babysitters. If you’re like me, you want to do everything possible to make the parents comfortable about leaving their children with you.
I did some asking around and found that parents will love you as a babysitter if you …
- Don’t ask to babysit too early in your visit. “As much as the kiddos love their Gramma Joanne, they need a day or two to get used to having her here. And she needs a day or two to see what’s different about our household since last visit.”
- Listen carefully to all their instructions. “I don’t like it when my parents shush me up, saying everything will be fine and I should just leave. I want them to listen to what I need to tell them about food, bedtime, everything!”
- Assure the parents that you’ll call them if they’re needed. “It sounds strange but we loved it the first time the folks called because the baby wouldn’t take a bottle. I knew they were calling for Lola’s sake and I knew we could trust them.”
- Because you’re an occasional visitor, your grandchild might seem hesitant about the parents leaving. Be ready for that situation! Announce an activity or treat that will happen after the parents leave. Before you know it, the child will be pushing the parents out the door.
- Do not go any place or do something that the parents don’t know about. “Believe it or not, we came home and Dad had taken Avery on a bicycle ride and the house was empty. Sure, Dad does bicycle rides often — but we had no idea he was going to do that while we were gone.”
- Honor the rules of the house. If you’re not sure about a certain practice — is Reuben really allowed to take snacks in the bedroom? — err on the side of caution.
- Ask the parents if they want you to send periodic text messages while they’re gone. We have a good system with our kids. We tell them we will text them to let them know things are fine … but if we really need them, we will call instead.
- Text a photo or two of their child having fun. “Nothing warms my heart like seeing Hazel having fun while I’m gone.”
- Give a complete report when the parents return. “My mom jots down what time the baby slept and what the toddler had for lunch — things like that. I appreciate that.”
Do you have any babysitting tips to share? Please use the Comments section below.