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looking after grandkids

(65 Posts)
Silverfish Mon 21-Jul-14 18:02:07

I look after my DGD for 2 days a week the other gran 2 days, but where I am organised and lay the toys out for her and try to do a selection of activities both educational and fun, the other gran just doesn't seem to bother, she lets little one out to play with next doors kids, there is no fence so they just swarm everywhere, DGD is under 2 so I worry. 'other' gran says she keeps an aye on her and so ,supposedly, does the neighbour. I really don't like kids out playing disorganised play, just running around and shouting. I would prefer them to have organised stuff like I do.
When my DD was small, I would ask friends to the house for a couple of hours, lay out games, colouring books etc on the dining table and put garden toys in garden and play with them for a few minutes at each activity(depending upon age). I had drinks time and story time all planned and it seemed to work. I chose nice kids who were clean and well mannered. No way would I have snotty nosed, dirty or rude kids in to my house to play. At the appointed time I would see the kids back home and their parents always knew where they were at all times. Why cant parents nowadays be like that. It worked for me.

whenim64 Wed 23-Jul-14 12:01:42

I often feel like a sheepdog - I round them up when they're straying into something they shouldn't be doing, prompt them to try something a bit different when they're looking a bit lost or stuck for ideas, make myself a little bit scarce when they're looking for someone to take sides or argue, and pen them in the kitchen for food or baking if I want them to concentrate, learn or have some fun round the table.

They do like me to join in with them, though - easy to get down on the floor but not up again! They love sitting in the garden blowing bubbles and making daisy chains like we did at our grandparents' house. I only put structure in when I think they need it. Some people like structure they can depart from occasionally. I like structure I can resort to occasionally. There are a few house rules, but they are free and easy to play as they like within those boundaries.

MiceElf Wed 23-Jul-14 13:11:16

Whenim, much like me. The only difficulties I get into are when I can't contextualise the imaginative games and I am supposed to be a certain character who exists in the GC's imagination but not in mine and when the rôles change and I've been allowing my mind to wander.

I do insist on serious help when cooking though. A lad who can't cook or who doesn't like good food will be at a big disadvantage when seeking girlfriends / spouse.

Flowerofthewest Wed 23-Jul-14 19:51:45

Where I agree that the 2 year old should be supervised I also think that childhood should be about freedom, fun, running, climbing and generally having a great time. There will be enough structure when they start school or pre school. I remember collecting caterpillars, chasing butterflies, playing in the long grass. I know that there is an element of fear nowadays about letting the children have their freedom but surely running in and out of the house, chasing each other, laughing, shouting and having fun is what childhood should be about. Leave the paints and craft things out and they will graduate towards them for quieter play.

Flowerofthewest Wed 23-Jul-14 19:55:41

I once found my 3 year old son on his bunk bed with his little friend (girl) with a 'nest' made out of the duvet and them stark naked in the 'nest'. Her mother went bullistic and dragged the little girl home telling her off. I asked my little one what they were playing "Baby birds in a nest", why didn't you have any clothes on "Baby birds, tiny tiny ones don't have feathers mummy or clothes"

rosequartz Wed 23-Jul-14 19:58:58

Silverfish, if she is running around the garden with the other children I am sure that is OK for a bit (I trust there are no ponds and that fences are secure?). If they go outside to play on the street that, imo is a no-no for a child of that age. Your DD will have to have a gentle talk with her MIL without causing any problems (difficult).

Aka, if the cassis is vodka based it is not for me, makes me ill!! Thank you (although I am sure I have drunk some in white wine and was OK, but normally just one vodka and tonic would have me heaving!).

grannyactivist Wed 23-Jul-14 20:06:07

I'm looking after my four year old grandson for the week and whilst it's great fun I am very tired each evening. Today we visited Haldon forest in Exeter to walk the 'Gruffalo' trail (brilliant), then drove to Lanhydrock for a picnic lunch (new cafe and toilets) and finished the day with ice creams at Cardinham Woods (the stream was bustling with children and dogs cooling down). The glaringly obvious thing at all three places was that grandparents and children vastly outnumbered parents and children. The children's play area at Cardinham was heaving with young children, but there was not one single parent in sight - every child was with grandparents. hmm Many of us spent a happy time chatting together about the responsibilities and joys of grandparenthood.

Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 12:11:42

Sounds exhausting grannyactivist

whitewave Tue 26-Aug-14 12:20:35

I have only 4 more days to go before school!! The rest of the time my daughter has arranged for the boys to spend the day with friends - so that is a break as far as I am concerned. I do enjoy having them, but it is tiring. Taking the youngest to Brighton and Hove football ground on Thursday for a tour. DH was going but has done his back in and is polaxed at the moment, so I am in charge!

Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 12:20:52

Two weeks ago we were double booked for babysitting. I had promised my DS that I would look after their baby at their house from about midday until around 10pm as they were going to a wedding. My eldest DS had also asked me to have their two boys for a couple of nights while he and his wife went away. My DH said that he would look after the two boys (from around 6pm until I got in, they are almost 4 and 6) I rang him at around 6.30 to hear a terrible sound in the background of them mimicking their Grandpa, calling him names, fighting and generally being obnoxious. I asked for the older one to come to the phone, he declined. I spoke to the little one who spat down the phone, laughed and called me names. I suggested to DH that he used a warning and then the naughty step which he did. They continued to be absolutely defiant, rude and downright horrible to their grandpa, who they usually listen to, love and take notice of. He is a playful man who loves them dearly. I tried to ring my DS and DiL to no avail, their phones were switched off (wonder why) The boys finally dropped off to sleep about 9.30. I got home to find my DH exhausted and near to tears. He said he felt hurt by their behaviour and saddened that they chose to act like this. In the morning I spoke to them both (we were going to take them to the seaside on the following day - I had said to DH on the phone that he could say to them that if their behaviour didn't improve then they wouldn't be going) I told them that because of the behaviour we would not be going and they accepted it. When their parents came to pick them up I said that I would have liked their phones to be left on if we ever had them again but we wouldn't be having them to sleep over together until their behaviour improves (apparently they play my DS up the same when their mum is at work 2 nights a week) We have seen them since and they ran into our arms like the lovely little scamps we know they truly are. Not sure why I am posting this. Good to get it off my chest.

Elegran Tue 26-Aug-14 12:49:55

Flower It is time your son and DiL got to grips with this, I think, for their sake as well as yours. Do I detect a touch of playing up one parent's rules against another's? They need to get together and rewrite the rule book with the same routines and penalties whoever is looking after them.

Not sure what you can do about it, apart from encouraging your son in establishing that when he is in charge, they co-operate with him.

Aka Tue 26-Aug-14 12:50:17

What a horrid experience Flower.

numberplease Tue 26-Aug-14 15:56:33

When I, and my siblings, were small, it was the done thing to play out on the street with other kids, as it was when my own children were young, in the 60s and 70s, it may sound bad nowadays, but back then perfectly normal. We sometimes didn`t see our kids for hours on end. When I looked after several of my grandchildren, in the years between 1994 and 2012, I was conscious of having to take great care with them, but if they wanted to play out with neighbouring children I let them, with the understanding that they stayed where I could keep an eye on them, and it always worked out fine. I never "organised" play for them, there was a box of assorted toys, plus books to read, they just helped themselves to whatever took their fancy at the time.

grandma60 Tue 26-Aug-14 21:24:38

Flowerofthewest I do feel for you and your DH. A few months ago my DH went to my daughters to sit with our usually lovely DGS who was home from school with a bad cold. As soon as our daughter left the house he started behaving exactly in the way you have described with your grandsons. My husband came home very upset as was our daughter when he told her what had happened. Later she got GS to ring and apologise but he could not explain why he had done it. I know he is only 5 and wasn't well but still......
Since then he goes from being really sweet to a return to that behavior. Our daughter and SIL have been at their wits end. It does seem to have started since he went to school.and he seems to have been better during the holidays. Unfortunatly my.husband doesn't cope well with this sort of thing so I do hope it is.just a phase for the sake of family.harmony.

Flowerofthewest Tue 26-Aug-14 22:53:58

Thanks for kind words. When my son came in, he had been told that why they hadn't gone to the seaside, he said 'Well boys did you have a nice time with Grandma and Grandpa at the seaside today. The 6 year old said 'We didn't go daddy because we were really horrible to Grandpa the other night and it was our punishment' I never used the word punishment, I think they got the message. We are taking them out for the day on Friday this week. See how it goes. I hope they have learned their lesson.