Your mother or father may have been excited to become a grandparent. They may have been so excited that they were willing to help care for their grandchildren. However, as home caregivers explain, the word “help” should have been defined.
Think about this: Your mom or dad spent a good portion of their life raising their children, and now it is their turn to enjoy retirement and whatever else lies ahead. Too often, senior parents try to satisfy their adult children. If their children and grandchildren need childcare assistance, they will likely spring into action and become a full-time babysitter/caregiver.
Babysitting should typically be a job that adult children hire out. It’s important for senior parents to spend quality time with family, which isn’t possible when they are worn out from babysitting. Also, because your parent is older, they may not respond as quickly to a fast-paced toddler. Although your mother or father may be able to play a game of cards with their friends at the senior center, playing with their grandchildren at the park is a very different situation.
At home caregivers warn of possible conflicts between parents and grandparents, too. Society is different now than it was before, and you may have one set of standards for your children, while your parent – serving as a full-time caregiver – believes in another set.
Additionally, if your parent offers to pick the grand kids up from school, are your children safe with them behind the wheel? Home caregivers urge you to ask yourself, “Should mom or dad really be driving?” Of course, if the answer is no, find someone else.
It is wonderful if your parent wants to and is able to help with childcare, but just be sure to set boundaries and know their limits. Allow your parent to enjoy being a grandparent without the added responsibility of being a caregiver.