By Nanny Love
In my twenty years in professional childcare and working as a nanny, I’ve encountered many grandparents who create, albeit unknowingly, conflict with the parents of their precious grandchildren. Grandparents play such an important role in families today and the parents want and need their support, but many times, they get off to the wrong start.
In today’s stress-filled world with both parents working, a nanny may be called in to take care of the newborns right up to school age. Unfortunately, I’ve come face-to-face with grandparents who want to override the parent’s wishes and do things with the babies their way. While that is understandable, it’s best not to do that.
As the hired nanny, parents make rules and pay me to enforce them, but when the grandparents are on the scene it can get uncomfortable if they don’t know or honor the parents wishes. So this is for all you first time and even a few veteran grandparents when you come to visit.
My first suggestion is that you have a sit down with the parents (nanny too, if possible) to hear straight from the parents what they want and don’t want. Yes, I know this can be difficult. After all, you raised one of these parents and they turned out OK, so why the heck wouldn’t you be the ultimate authority and why should you have to follow their rules or be open to learn anything from them? The answer is simple, because now they are the parents, not you, and they need to run the show even if it drives you crazy and they make some mistakes along the way.
For today’s column, we’ll start off with Meal Time. This seems to be an especially volatile time that can result in conflict and hurt feelings.
Meal Time: How to aid or not aid in mealtime during your visit. Parents have these ideas of how they want their child to be fed. Shocking, I know. But I believe most of you had ideas for your parenting style as well.
These busy working parents hire someone like myself to provide care for the children. Part of that care is my preparing and feeding of healthy nitrate, sugar, additive free meals. Respecting that practice and your adult child’s right to choose how to feed and raise your grandchildren helps immensely.
Mealtimes can be fun for you to get to see or help with. I would love you to help, but first a couple tips…
- If the baby eats a meal at say 12:00 p.m, please arrive at least a half hour earlier if helping is your goal. There is prep work that needs to be done and the simple fact is that one or more screaming, starving babies do not care what the clock says, or that they have a visitor coming to help or observe.
- If you change plans and decide to come after the baby’s feeding time, that’s OK, just let the nanny know so she can plan accordingly. The baby will have been fed and may now be playing in the living room.
- I love that you may want to eat with your grandbaby, but please remember, they already ate the healthy, organic meals that the parents prefer. So, please don’t offer up other foods. One grandmom actually offered up part of her pre-packaged sandwich from 7-11. This is not OK or helpful.
- Please don’t put Nanny in the middle by feeding the baby/toddlers against the parents beliefs. I’ve had toddlers spit out tomatoes all over the couch causing stains. I’ve found pieces of paper towel the next day (choking hazards).
- Please don’t be mad at me….it’s my job to follow the parent’s rules. They pay me to enforce them. Please help to keep it from getting awkward. Arriving earlier is ideal and eating in the dining area would be wonderful. Perhaps coming later and after you’ve eaten would be grand as well.
If you have questions for Nanny Love or just want to share your nanny experience, please send an email to email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Nanny Love is a full time private nanny with 20 years of professional childcare training and experience. In addition to loving and taking care of children, she enjoys, outdoor adventure, hiking, swimming and walking.