Grandparent parenting(17 Posts)
New to the site so if I get something wrong let me know.
It seems I am to have a baptism of fire from next Monday, when I become the full time care provider for my grandson (two and a half). His Mam (we're up north so it's mAm) and dad need to work to live.
To cut to the chase I am wondering if any of you marvelous people can give me advice on how I can meaningfully entertain my Gson. Yeah, I've cared for him before and for days at a time. However, this is long term. Any strategies etc to help me. Particularly interested in potty training.
Sorry if I sound so pathetic.
Potty training - don't even try. Much less messy to leave him in nappies until he's ready. And even if you are caring for him pretty much full-time while his parents work, I think that is clearly their responsibility and you need to let them take the lead on that one.
Trip out somewhere for some fresh air every day - park, local shops, even just walking round the block, but getting out of the house is great for killing time and working off some energy.
Involve him in whatever you are doing - maybe get him some pots and pans and bits of kitchen equipment to play with while you are cooking. Let him help you load and unload the washing machine, use the hoover, whatever - kids love to do grown-up things, and you don't then need to spend all your time amusing him, and can get on with whatever you want to do, albeit with a little helper at your side.
If you have a garden, he could have a little patch that is his special place for digging, plant a few seeds etc.
Don't spend money on toys, he can bring a few favourites from home.
Is there a library near you? They often have story sessions for little ones, and you can borrow a new set of books every week - that gives you a reason for a trip at least once a week.
If you've run him around outside, done some cooking together, fed him, read to him and played a few little games or done some drawing etc, don't beat yourself up for installing him in front of the TV for a while - he'll need down time too.
I'm a SAHM but my ds is a little younger than your DGson at almost 2. My advice would be to look up your nearest Sure Start centre and toddler groups. I go to 2 or 3 a week with ds and dd (18 weeks) and there are lots of Grand parents there. Does he still nap? You might find it easier to plan to run the little legs off him/do toddler groups etc in the morning then home for lunch followed by nap. Are you looking after him at your house or his house?
No advice about potty training I'm afraid, ds is nowhere near ready yet!
Yep, playgroups/toddler groups several mornings a week. You get to chat to other adults whilst keeping an eye on Dgs. Playground in the afternoon if weather is favourable. If not then occupied at home (hopefully he is coming to the age of being able to entertain himself a reasonable amount).
Best to have fairly consistent times for meals, bathtime etc if you can. Batch cook and freeze food for him, makes life much easier.
Be prepared that his behaviour might take a turn for the worse once you are no longer "special occasion" but "every day carer" instead... On the other hand you will learn what works very quickly.
How lovely of you to offer to care for him
Thanks for all the info. I see him most days already and already take him out and about with me. I joke with my missus that he's the boy king Arthur and I'm his Merlin.
Much of what you've said is already in place and part of our lives but it's good to hear it's "good practice" .
I just love the little lad and want to do the best for him.
Thank you all so much.
This might seem over the top, but you need a plan. If by full time you mean 5 days a week then this needs a structure to the day. Not for him but for you.
Lots of, out of the house time, twice a day I would say. That can be park, shops or toddler group. Work out Meal and nap times, Play time and TV time. If you can write out a time plan for the first week, you will be better organised. It will adapt as you get used to each other and then be discarded altogether once you know what works.
I would do all messy activities mid morning, water, sand, paint, cooking and the like so that you have time to clear up. Don't underestimate how far paint and play-doh can travel under their own volition.
Schedule in some down time for yourself. Maybe while he is watching Tv.
It comes naturally to mum's but for us older ones who are used to having a lot of free time the Full On that is a toddler can be exhausting.
I hope you have fun.
Research toddler groups in your area. Baby singing, signing, gym, music, messy play - there's a lot to choose from even in our small town. It tires them out and gives a structure to the week if you know Monday is Story Time, Tuesday is Church Hall Playgroup, Wednesday is Tumble Tots etc. If you go regularly you'll get to know some familiar faces as well.
Childrens centres, leisure centres and churches are good places to start.
Then write a list of free or cheap places to go in the afternoons - park, pet shop to look at the fish, library, train station, any museums or attractions little ones can go in for free (if this isn't rude, if you're retired you might get a discount as well), 'interesting building sites'... (hard to beat a digger when my DS was 2!). Then if it's all going to hell you have a list of quick ideas to get you out of the house. Everything is better out of the house! Look into locals' season tickets for things like petting zoos or soft play.
Rotate toys and get GDS involved in putting things away once you'e finished with one thing before getting out the next, so again you both have a bit of structure - all good when he starts going to preschool/nursery.
What a lucky boy he is to have this time with his Papi.
I'm sure you'll have a great time. We don't have any family support really and I'm green with envy!
Hah, cross post with Florentina on the weekly/daily timetable! Mine was taped up inside the DTs wardrobe so I knew what I was doing as I got them dressed that day!
I have no advice as my DS is much younger, but wanted to say that you sound lovely and I hope you both have a nice time.
WOW thank you for even more wonderful advice. All taken note of and will be used. Thank you all and anyone wanting to join in please do.
...and can I add, it feels like I have a group of experts to call upon if anything goes wobbly.http://www.mumsnet.com/emo/te/x4.gif.pagespeed.ic.-btgXlP15N.png
Oh and potty training... Definitely leave it till it's warmer and he's older (closer to 3). In the meantime you could try getting him used to pulling his own trousers up and down, and maybe in a couple of months start putting him on the loo or potty at a regular time each day just to get used to the idea.
My mum looks after my DS (a few months younger than your grandson) 3 days a week but comes to our house so she does not have to worry about toys, activities etc. - I do that bit, and they play with them :-) I second all that has been said about finding local toddler groups or classes to go to, to break up your days. Once you have found one group/class that you both like, you'll quickly learn of good groups on other days of the week by word of mouth from other parents/grandparents you get talking to. If my mum's experience is any guide there will be plenty of grandmas and a few grandads at most toddler groups you go to. I also second the suggestion about an annual pass for a local childrens' attraction, the National Trust or similar. A morning running round a garden or childrens' farm tires them out reliably, and annual passes can be really good value. One possible negative thing to be aware of in relation to filling your days, which my mum has commented on, is that you might not have open to you one of the staples of the SAHM's week ie playdates - so the organised toddler groups become that bit more important. I don't disagree about getting out of the house every day but equally, don't put yourself under pressure to be busy busy busy. My mum finds that DS is often v happy just spending the afternoon pottering at home, following her about, "helping", and playing/reading together. I batch cook or make sure there is something equally easy for them to have together for tea as I know everyone is generally flagging a bit by the end of the day, and my mum finds this works for her so another vote here for batch cooking! Will your grandson be going to preschool when he is 3? They often have quite long waiting lists so maybe check now that his name is down and that it is located conveniently for you if you will be doing drop off/pick up when he starts.
I have a son who turned two in September (and a four month old!) Like others have said, I try to get out every morning, whether it's a trip to the park, softplay, toddler group, a friends house... I find that he is much calmer and settled in the afternoon if he hasn't been stuck in all morning. I read somewhere that it is a good idea to give toddlers control over things that you don't mind for example if he wants a drink ask if he wants blackcurrant or orange, or does he want to wear his red jumper or blue jumper? Giving my little one lots of choices to make for himself seems to work and I have had very few tantrums, maybe coincidence, maybe not! With regards to potty training, wait until he is ready, maybe buy a potty and leave it in the corner of the room, we had the book 'Pirate Petes potty' which my son had for months before we actually bought a potty, we red it regularly and once we bought a potty he started doing the odd wee in it (still had him in nappies, he just used it when he wanted, I was in no rush as I was pregnant with number 2!) A few weeks later he declared that he wanted big boy pants, we had about 3 dayswith a few accidents then he was pretty much dry, we maybe have a little accident every 3 or 4 weeks. Definitely easier to leave it to them to decide! Have fun!
Oooh and things that my son enjoys, that keep him in one place for a bit.... playdough, duplo, colouring books/stickers, and he loves to help me bake cakes!
You don't sound the tiniest bit pathetic.
YY to imposing some structure in the week. This is possibly OTT but we had pics up on the wall of the weekly structure and we talked about what would happen each day from when my eldest started nursery. Check out local sports centres and community halls for little classes. A habit of a little quiet time after lunch most days is a nice recharge for you both, even if he's given up napping. I think classes are harder for blokes, my DH really didn't like most of them, but it's finding what works for you. Preschool is probably a good idea when he gets his free hours - he doesn't have to go 5 days a week. He will get to mix and do messy stuff and you get to recoup your energy for the afternoon shift!
It is very normal to struggle with the post-4pm slot. We mainly saved telly for late in the day for this reason!
Toilet training tends to happen a lot later these days because disposable nappies are so good. Also it's best done at a time when life is settled, so leave it for a while, while your grandson adjusts to the new normal. Generally I would try to get as much info from his parents as possible and follow their lead. A notebook in his bag might help to keep you abreast of changes in his routine if his mum and dad want to do that.
They might well appreciate you texting the odd photo so they can see he's happy, but if he reaches a huge milestone while he's with you, it might be better to keep schtum. Let his parents decide the big stuff.
I think we could all do with a bit more Merlin in our lives (btw Papo do a lovely Merlin figure and Papo/Schleich do lots of knights).
If it's just the two of you, why not do some classes? Most council pools do a toddler session, there are loads of music and play groups to try out. It will give some structure to the week.
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