Help for Watching My “Wild” Grandkids

Question:

Can you give me some ideas to overcome problems encountered in our last babysitting? We watched our 3 grandkids in their home for 4 days. We had a plan with activities, etc. It was a wreck though. Fighting, hitting, and throwing things were their defaults. Other than prayer, any ideas? I do it alone again in 3 weeks.

Response:

This sounds like a really uncomfortable situation. I can understand why you would be concerned about caring for them alone.

Your best course of action would be to talk with their parent(s) now and discuss the concerns that came up when you were with your grandchildren previously. They need to establish some guidelines for appropriate behavior, rewards for good behavior, and consequences for poor behavior.

You along with the parent(s) want to give them an incentive to behave well. Rewards are best if they do not cost money or are given as gifts. Rather, time spent doing something fun together or increased privileges related to something they already do are the best rewards.

For example, if their bedtime is usually 8 PM, perhaps they can stay up until 9 PM or 10 PM on the weekend nights following your stay. You can explain that their time has been extended because they used their time well while with you.

If possible, it would be best if you and the parents could communicate those expectations, rewards, and consequences to the grandchildren together so they know that you are both in agreement. Let them know that you will be reporting their behavior to their parents when they return and that you hope and expect to give them a great report. It should be communicated in a kind, but firm way, being careful not to sound threatening.

Once the plan is in place, you should reiterate it when you begin to care for the kids and then be sure to follow through on the plan consistently.

Best wishes for a more pleasant visit next time!

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