Author Topic: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent  (Read 2629 times)

lilactree

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Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« on: December 29, 2016, 11:17:12 AM »
Our almost 1.5 year-old DD is in 5 day/week daycare, for $1400/month. Grandma who is in her 70s is thinking about whether she could physically handle watching her 2 days/week at her own house which is not far from where we live. Three days a week at the daycare center costs about $1000, so it would be about a $400/mo savings (Grandma probably won't take money, but maybe would let me pay for some stuff around the house). I would also love for them to spend the time together, DD would be exposed more to another language, and DH and I probably wouldn't have to pack as many little containers of food and stuff every day, her sippy cups could go in grandma's dishwasher instead of being hand-washed by us late at night, etc... And okay I feel like if I can't be around DD's cuteness as much as I would like (because I have to work FT), it makes me feel better if Grandma is!

On the other hand, although Grandma's health is not bad, she does tire sometimes and it might be just a tad too much. Could you help me brainstorm ideas that could make it easier? I'll start:

1. Don't make grandma's two days back-to-back, spread them apart in the week.
2. Babyproof the main areas where DD would play.
3. Get a good rotation of toys and books into Grandma's house to keep DD's interest.
4. Perhaps find someone who could stop by for a couple hours and help out (without needing to be paid too too much?...)

Any other ideas? By the way, Grandma's house is much bigger than our current apartment and there is a lot more space for DD to roam around in. Our apartment is too small to be in all day (and the weather is cold this time of year).

Also any thoughts about how to evaluate whether or not this is even a good idea? Daycare being closed this week we are trying this out for some short days. Maybe we'll try a longer stretch on a Saturday or Sunday soon if this goes well.

*Edited the title to make it clear I'm asking for input :)

 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 12:34:50 PM by lilactree »

TabbyCat

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 01:35:55 PM »
Iím sure you already thought of this, but I would say first do a trial run Ė have a week or two where she has DD Tuesday/Friday or something and see how it goes.

Other ways to help:
- Set up a diaper station and have her stocked up
- Do the food prep, send food and snacks for each day for DD and stock her with some easy pantry items so she doesnít need to prepare food for DD
- How do you feel about screen time? Maybe a good time to allow some as a backup to help out grandma if needed.
- Is the yard baby safe? Having a space to go outside will help change the mood when DD is bored or tantruming. 

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 01:37:32 PM »
Could you or your husband flex your hours so that the days with grandma are shorter than the days she will be in preschool? (Drop her off at 8:30 instead of 8 and/or pick up at 5 instead of 5:30)

Insist that you or hubby pick up after your daughter at the end of the day so grandma doesn't have to worry about cleanup

Bring grandma dinner on the days she is watching the baby

Start encouraging indepenent play for your daughter so it's not "new" at grandmas house

Could grandma take her to some sort of structured class where she could burn off some steam?

mm1970

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 02:04:36 PM »
It's going to depend on the grandma.  My mother would not have been able to do it.  I'm sure my MIL (who is 73) could do it, but it would be tiring.

Maybe start with one day a week? Trial run, still pay for child care.
Or can you do shorter days?

That's going to be a tough age.  1.5 to age 4.  Tough.  Although you have a daughter, so maybe a little easier, depending on the kid.  I have boys.  Very loud, energetic boys.

emilypsf

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 05:41:05 PM »
Can she do half days with Grandma and half at the daycare? My parents are in their late 60's and couldn't do 8 hours straight with my kids at 1.5, especially twice a week.  4 hours would have been ok, but they don't really like to be regular childcare.

Could you find some classes for grandma to attend with her - story time, gymnastics, art - so there is some structure to the day, fresh air, and socialization.


NicoleO

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 11:55:19 AM »
My DD blossomed in daycare right around 2 years old, we switched her from a 2 and under in-home to a center and she really took off when she got out of the "baby" room!  We just took her out of daycare (Dec 1) to stay at home with DH and there are a lot of things I really really miss about her being in daycare, some that would probably be even more apparent if she were staying with somebody in their 70s.

Her routine is much much less structured and she works better with a consistent routine.
She watches more TV, not a lot more but more.
She doesn't burn as much energy throughout the day.  This one is causing several issues with her throwing more fits in the evenings, requiring mom to run circles in the living room to help her burn energy, and pushing her bedtime back because she still has too much energy.
Her eating habits have gotten worse, she will eat fruits and veggies if she sees other kids eat it but not if mom/dad are eating them.
Mom and Dad have to spend a lot more time trying to come up with stuff for her to do.

All that being said we also pulled her due to cost and even knowing those cost I have already started to think about if we should put her back into daycare.

NicoleO

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 12:03:56 PM »
I forgot to actually mention ideas to help, if you do decide to do this.  Several of the ones listed already were great, here are a few more.

I would pick up one of those little tyke slides (or mini trampoline) off of Craigslist, clean it up so that you can set it up inside.
Maybe get one of these "kitchen helper" things so that your daughter can stand in it to help grandma in the kitchen.
Black out curtains for whatever room she will nap in, and maybe a toddler cot or bed rail for an existing bed.
Have Grandma's day be the same day that the local library does story time.
Does Grandma still drive?  Install a car seat so that she doesn't have to every time she wants to go someplace.
At 2 or 3 you might be able to find a tiny gymnastic or dance or something else class that Grandma can take her to.
Supply arts/crafts stuff that won't be a huge mess for Grandma.
Supply mommy approved books/music/movies.


 

TrMama

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2016, 02:19:00 PM »
My gut feeling is that if Grandma doesn't have the motivation or energy to figure this stuff out on her own than this idea is dead in the water. Definitely do some trial days before you commit either way though.

My MIL was never able to watch our kids as toddlers. Totally unrelated to age, since she has major health issues and is generally not very "with it". I often wonder how DH and BIL survived their own childhoods.

My own mother OTOH is like an energizer bunny and will turn her own life upside down to spend time with the grandkids. I fully expect her to be able to watch toddlers when she hits 70.

I'd be careful about asking grandma to drive the little tyke. Make sure she's up to the challenge of driving with the major distraction of a screaming kid in the backseat. Plus she'll need to be able to wrestle the banshee in and out of the carseat and stop her from running pel mel through the parking lot.

Alchemilla

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 01:06:36 AM »
Are you able to get a travel cot or playpen set up so DD can be safe for short periods while Grandma does things like use the loo/make coffee?

Is there a local baby/toddler group nearby Grandma could take her to?

I second the idea of a mother's help type arrangement so for some hours a day there is another pair of hands.

My parents had all three of mine full time until age 3/4. The difference being there were two of them and they were in their sixties though Mum is registered disabled and so not in full health.

I have always paid them (roughly) the going rate so that if they gave up I wouldn't have a financial shock. I would be kidding myself if I thought they hadn't spent all their pay on the kids one way and another, though.
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Frugal Lizard

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 12:49:00 PM »
I would make sure that your child has really easy to put on outdoor clothes that are suited to the weather and so does Gramma.  The day goes really fast if you get outside.  Mountain Equipment Coop has great gear that is super easy for little kids to dress themselves (Newt suit is particularly great). We seldom went out in the rain but having the waterproof suit for sitting on wet ground or stomping through puddles prevented a lot of cabin fever. Having easy pull on boots and hats so that little ones can be more independent are great.  Small sized tools for gardening and some ride on toys and some sand so that little one can "work" outside is a great way to get tired for a good long nap. 
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bogart

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 09:32:24 PM »
We did this, and it was great, but I have a mom who's a well of energy -- clearly it wouldn't work for everyone.  I used to treat her to breakfast (out) one of the days she took DS, which meant she at least got a meal and we had a chance to connect, interact, and plan.

Does your DD still nap?  Mine did at that age, and obviously, it matters. 

Definitely buy a car seat for DGM to keep in her vehicle.  I didn't have the patience to do this sort of thing with my son as I spent tons of time with him, but I do now have time to do it with my granddaughter (the two are less than a decade apart because she's a stepgrand, so the comparison makes reasonable sense...), but stuff like going to the grocery store with the kid in tow both gets an errand done and entertains the kid -- and of course requires a carseat.

No idea if your DM likes to swim, but our town has an indoor pool which is a great place to tire out a child (even one who doesn't swim independently) without exhausting an adult -- speaking from experience here.  Of course this assumes an alert adult and good life guards on staff. 

As others have noted, half days would like be better if you can set that up with the daycare place, but they likely have a structure they need to stick to.

GL finding an arrangement that works.

ubermom4

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2017, 06:17:33 AM »
There are some great suggestions here. Am not sure if this was mentioned (I think so) but I also like the idea of morning day care, then grammy picks DD up and brings her home (to grammy house) for nap. Then the time when grammy is really providing care/watching is quite a bit shorter and lower energy than the hyper morning times. It might be good to try something like this for awhile as a bridge to full days for grammy. Also, having programming for grammy (library story time and such) would really help her. If grammy can't deal with getting DD in to the car for activities then this might be a big red flag that she will be overwhelmed. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Goldielocks

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2017, 07:21:44 PM »
I would start by having her just pick up the child early  ( 2 pm). from daycare a few days a week. You don't save money but she will like help with things like sippy cups while being able to call off as sick or to suit her schedule.

Bonus if at your place and she preps dinner or does kid laundry!

Anyway grandparents with their own needs are not always as reliable with days as you would like or get resentful after a while.

CloserToFree

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 09:34:06 PM »
This is a great thread, very helpful for me for thinking about when my mom takes care of our 2-y-o too.  She's older but in great shape, but still taking care of a toddler can be exhausting.  A few ideas:
-allow screen time on her days - a limited amount but an hour's break could be huge for her (happy to suggest good shows if you need ideas)
-does she like taking walks?  with a rambunctious toddler, sometimes going for a stroller walk is actually the least tiring thing to do, especially if your destination is a playground where the kid can run around without too much hovering by grandma
-maybe arrange for playdates with another kid and caregiver/parent on her days?  so there are two adults watching two kids, which might allow her to have a bit of a break?
-childproof one area of her home so there's a safe space where grandma can sit down while toddler plays (blocks, cars, trucks are good ideas and my mom keeps these at her house for when she takes care of the grandkids)
-teach/encourage your daughter to climb in and out of her own car seat, high chair, etc. so that grandma doesn't have to do much lifting.  can't remember when our son started doing this but it was HUGE for me (weak back) as well as the grandparents).

Good luck!  Another piece of advice is to have a solid back up plan in place for the inevitable days when grandma is sick, has appointments, etc.  And I think the idea of spacing grandma's days out so they're not next to each other is brilliant - definitely do that if you go this route.

Landlady

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2017, 10:47:23 AM »
We did this the first two years of our son's life and it was a wonderful bonding time for them. My MIL was 72 at the time. Here are the things that helped her:
-A stroller was like giving grandma a walker AND keeping kiddo under control for some outdoor time.
-Grandma will want to take naps as much as kiddo will, maybe even more. Have a safe, confined room in which kiddo can play in case Grandma needs to watch Judge Judy and fall asleep for 20 mins.
-Our grandma definitely watches a lot of tv so we pretty much gave up on screen time.
-Reduce any lifting or squatting she has to do. Baths are hard.

CloserToFree

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2017, 01:21:20 PM »
-A stroller was like giving grandma a walker AND keeping kiddo under control for some outdoor time.
-Grandma will want to take naps as much as kiddo will, maybe even more. Have a safe, confined room in which kiddo can play in case Grandma needs to watch Judge Judy and fall asleep for 20 mins.

Both of these made me laugh so hard!  Thanks for the levity (and the good advice) :-)

lilactree

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2017, 10:25:04 AM »
Thank you all so much for your input. I am sorry for not writing sooner; I admit to being almost always a tiny bit overwhelmed...
Grandma did end up watching her 2 days/week for a planned two months, prior to going on a long trip. She is thinking of watching her again after she gets back. It went pretty well. I brought the stroller, toys, books, extra clothes, etc., and grandma pretty much figured out what to do. Although, DD is getting into the more obstinate age very recently, so it may be that the timing was good from that perspective and that it would have started to get a little harder.

lizzzi

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2017, 10:58:56 AM »
I was actively involved with a lot of care for my three grands from the time they were 2, 4, and 5 until 6, 8, and 9. They were in day care or school part of the time and with me for part of the time. I could not possibly have provided all the enrichment they got at day care--books, toys, movies, activities, field trips, other kids--the list goes on and on. At my house they tended to have a little too much TV time, because I have cable and their mother didn't. This was a tough one--they really, really, really wanted to zone out and watch their shows--and by the time I picked them up from daycare or school, they were tired, and really needed a bit of a break. We did do quite a bit of art, and also baking and decorating seasonal cakes and cookies. They practiced their piano at Grandma's. (All three were in lessons from age 3.) They didn't take much interest in the natural sciences--I lived across the road from a beautiful park, and taking walks, identifying birds and trees, etc. was something I loved and they didn't. I was moderately successful in getting them interested in identifying stars, constellations, and watching for the space station to go over. (In the winter, when it was dark early.) I started with the kids at 63, and ended at 67 when my daughter moved away and so did I, so daily childcare was no longer feasible. There was no impact on my health whatsoever--I could keep up with them fine--and I don't nap.

One vital point I have not seen mentioned: Mom's rules, Dad's rules, and Grandma's rules all need to be the same. Adults should figure this out somewhere away from the kids--then everybody's expectations will be the same...no confusion for the children...consistency all the way around.

Lepetitange3

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2017, 12:11:42 PM »
+1 to screen time, Sesame Street or something grandma knows and will remember is an ok show or if you have a portable DVD player you can set her up with a rotation of shows your family is ok with DD watching.  That way if Grandma does get tired, she can fall back on that.

Also, if there's an outdoor space, you can pick up used play sets big and small from Craigslist.  We found a kitchen set for $30 or so and put it on the patio at my mothers house.  If the kids went over when they were young, mom just sat on the porch and read or whatever if she needed a breather while the kids played kitchen and "cooked" for grandma.  On summer days, she would add water to the play set.  Fun ensued.  Everyone won.

TabbyCat

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Re: Please give me ideas to make childcare easier on grandparent
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2017, 10:04:45 PM »
+1 to having one set of rules for everyone.  I thought that we had worked that out, but it turns out Grandma was using special rules to make things easier for awhile (more screen time, more milk, more junk food, less encouragement of speech to get things she wanted instead of just pointing and yelling).  I understand why all of those things went lax, but it actually just made it harder for everyone involved.  I tried to make it easy to communicate and asked often if she wanted to be done watching the kid, but she felt she was doing the right thing as well by shifting rules instead of saying.  No blame at all (well, a little bit of me blaming myself for not seeing it earlier) - just something for you to look out for that benefits everyone involved.