Before You 'Hire' Your Parents

Amy Goyer, program coordinator for the AARP's Grandparent Information Center, recommends the following steps before entering into a grandparent day-care situation:

  • The Family Meeting - "It's important," says Goyer, "to be very clear about expectations, to discuss things beforehand and come to some agreement."
  • For parents, that means letting the grandparents know what your rules are on issues like discipline, schedules, TV use, etc. For grandparents, you'll want to have assurances on what your hours and days will be, and that you won't be "taken advantage of," says Goyer. These family discussions should continue on, at least, a monthly basis.
  • Safety First - If child care is to take place in the grandparents' home, safety issues must be addressed. All of the usual age-appropriate precautions must be taken for indoor and outdoor areas, along with posting of emergency numbers and information. "Medications are a special issue," Goyer says, "because many grandparents have to take them. Kids need to be protected from accidents."
  • Grandparenting 101 - Grandparents might want to consider brushing up on their discipline skills, says Goyer. "Some need to be educated on current practices, like time-outs, giving choices and the like." Parenting classes are available in most communities - and more grandparents are taking them, Goyer says. "Grandparents really want to do a good job."
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