Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Managing tiredness

(34 Posts)
teabagwoman Sat 08-Oct-16 17:22:12

I'm 70 and enjoy looking after my dgd aged 2 but I get very tired. Wondering if all you experienced gps have suggestions for managing the day and/or short cuts to keeping the house clean and tidy so I can make time to get some rest. I would hate to give up looking after her and want to spend as much time with her as I can. My medical history means that I'm unlikely to see her grow up into adulthood.

Liz46 Sat 08-Oct-16 17:33:03

I am also 70 and my grandchildren are a bit older (7 & 9) and therefore easier.

I'm sorry but much as I love looking after them, it is exhausting. I actually do not feel old until I have a day with them.

Occasionally we have them for three days and my OH has been known to dance on the step as they go back with their parents! (and then there is an undignified dash to the pub)

Luckygirl Sat 08-Oct-16 17:33:14

How much time is your DGD with you? Is it every day or is she living with you?

If you are 70 and have a life-limiting condition, then it is not surprising that you are struggling with tiredness - 2 year olds are pretty lively!

My OH and I look after a 3 year old DGD all day on a Monday and a 17 month old DGS all day on a Friday. My OH is 70 and has PD and I am 68 and have some mobility problems. We do find it very tiring indeed. We have deliberately arranged the days so that we have a few days to rest between each child.

That is why I am asking about the amount of time that you are committed to this task.

gettingonabit Sat 08-Oct-16 17:35:49

2 is relentless. At that age, dd had a schedule (for my benefit, not hers).

7am. Up.
9-10. Play/story/make a mess.
10-10.30. Clear up mess/get ready to go out.
10.30-12. Out (park/library/little group etc).
12 lunch and play.
1.30. Bed for nap.

3. Up and more play.
4. Maybe park again.
5. Tea.
6. Pyjamas.
6-7. Play.
7. Story/bed/milk.

I would intersperse with walks to the shop/strolls around neighbourhood.

Nana3 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:37:43

Useful post gettingonabit, I keep to a routine too. I keep a few basic favourite toys in a basket downstairs, play dough is a must. The rest are tidied away and are swapped around or brought out occasionally. I buy bits and bobs from the pound shop to ring the changes.
We do a bit of quiet time watching TV after lunch as my DGD is 3 and doesn't nap now.
I sometimes go to a friends house, who is also looking after her DGD, for a couple of hours in the morning, or they come to us. This works very well.
I have taken her to the local toddler group but she doesn't really enjoy it.
I have a swing and a slide in the garden and they are an absolute godsend.
All the best.

petra Sun 09-Oct-16 11:20:47

Don't feel guilty about using the TV or tablets as entertainment.

Teddy123 Sun 09-Oct-16 13:14:03

I'm wondering if you have her every day. If so it's no wonder you're tired.
My 70th is looming and I also have a chronic medical condition. I only do 3 afternoons a week but still find it very tiring. Even getting him into his car seat is a struggle!

Yet I cope with a massive garden but kids are both mentally and physically a handful.

If you're doing childcare every day perhaps you should suggest a few sessions in nursery.

Wishing you well

josephine257 Sun 09-Oct-16 13:30:29

To help a toddler into a car seat, put a little plastic step (the kind used for tots in toilets and to reach the sink in bathrooms) on the car floor in front of the child seat and get him/ her to climb up. They love it and it saves our backs. My DGD is over 3 now and we've been doing this for 2 years.

Bellanonna Sun 09-Oct-16 13:32:46

As petra says, no guilt about using the iPad/telly. It's brilliant. As long as it's a short session and she's not left alone with it. I bring up kids' songs that we sing together, and some YouTube stuff, such as Jeremy fisher, the ballet version. Lots of lovely music. We look at nursery rhymes and sing along to those. For when I need to prepare food or do something else I put CBeebies on. I don't do any of these things for long, but when we do, we make it fun. If OP is doing this daily then I feel that's rather too much, and if the mum can afford nursery, preschool, or whatever playgroup is called these days, then go for it. I won't see mine into adulthood either, but just glad to have them at all and enjoying them now. I don't do anything on a regular basis btw. If you are, then definitely discuss with her parents.

Victoria08 Sun 09-Oct-16 13:35:54

I am also 70 and find childcare for one year old exhausting.

Like you said Teddy 123, just getting them strapped into car seats, high chairs, and buggys is a struggle, especially if you have arthritic hands.

I now only look after dgs once a fortnight, as I feel ill after he has left and don't want to feel like that every week.

It takes a day or two to recover from these visits, don't you find.

But it is a joy to see them take their first steps and the progress they make.

Also, had forgotten how messy weaning was.

Oh the joys of being a gran!

jenpax Sun 09-Oct-16 13:38:22

Gosh reading these makes me realise how fortunate a lot of young parents are! I am not sure I would have the energy for minding active toddlers in my 70's!

Bellanonna Sun 09-Oct-16 13:45:22

As a slight aside, do all small children wear bibs? None of my 3 do and clothes end up messy. I hate to see this, and do try to wrap something round them when I feed them. Mine always had bibs and plastic food catchers so I don,t understand this trend, or is just my DDs?

Wobblybits Sun 09-Oct-16 13:46:55

WE have just worked for 30 minutes in the garden, planting garlic and broad beans, we are both in pain walking/standing, but got it done between us. Sat in the chair and I can feel an afternoon nap descending fast. Why is pain so tiring?

merlotgran Sun 09-Oct-16 14:43:34

I'm so glad I had my DCs in my early twenties and they then did the same. It means at 69 I no longer have to worry about having enough energy to look after them because they're all teenagers now.

I remember the childminding days seemed so long and tiring. They were a joy to be with but I don't miss it.

Greyduster Sun 09-Oct-16 14:48:22

Bellanonna my GS wore bibs or muslin squares when he was small - and then a plastic bib with a "catcher" at the bottom! I kept my muslin squares and he will still ask for one now and again if he is eating something messy (so does grandad!).

gettingonabit Sun 09-Oct-16 14:59:43

Oh yes, don't feel guilty about telly/ipad etc. I don't think I could've coped without Tellytubbies.

Childminding is hard.

NanKate Sun 09-Oct-16 15:14:31

I'm 70 too and find looking after our 5 and 3 year olds very tiring, especially as they are usually taken out both morning and afternoon by their mum in the summer hols.

DH has more energy than me and often let's me have a lie down whilst the looks after the 3 year old.

We find Garden Centres and NT places good to take them and we always include a tea or coffee break. DH has in his bags about 10 little cars for them to play with whilst we are drinking our tea. We give them each a tray from the cafe so that the cars do not keep falling in the floor.

One of the most successful games at home is letting them empty onto a newspaper their money boxes, then sort and count the money and then replace it in the box. Our eldest GS must have spent over an hour doing this and we did a few sums along the way. smile

Rosina Sun 09-Oct-16 15:23:50

Bellanonna I find this odd too - my GS doesn't wear a bib and if left with me I either put a bib on or if it's hot, as it has been, take his clothes off and let him sit in his nappy to eat. He wants to feed himself so you can imagine the mess. He loves pasta and tomato sauce - I can never get that out of anything, even with special powder put in the machine, so stripping him off or even putting an old clean tea towel around his neck and shoulders, fastened with a peg, is a lot easier for me.

inishowen Sun 09-Oct-16 16:23:26

I'm 64 and as I type I have my three Grandchildren here, aged 4, 3, and 1. Their mum is having a nap and dad is minding them upstairs. I get absolutely shattered when I mind them, even if hubby is helping. There's no way round it. Little ones are exhausting.

Linsco56 Sun 09-Oct-16 16:25:24

Just a couple of suggestions for amusing children on wet winter days when you're stuck indoors.

A blunt children's sewing needle, shirring elastic and dried macaroni or any type of tube pasta and they can spend an hour or so making necklaces, bracelets etc. The pasta can be coloured by putting a few drops of food colouring into a plastic ziplock bag and shaking then empty onto a baking tray to dry.

Ice cube trays in different shapes (there lots of different ones) make or buy some plaster of Paris and pour into the moulds. When almost set, press a small safety pin into each mound and allow to set. The kids can then paint or colour the little brooches. Just be sure to buy a plastic tablecloth first!

radicalnan Sun 09-Oct-16 16:56:03

I have recently had 3 grand children to stay with the was thrilling to be back in the thick of it playing games etc.

My 5 y/O grand daughter is very disabled and has a sister of 4, we played wonderful games using what I have to hand. The melamine picnic set was used when we ran a cafe, this involved using all the remotes for tellies as pretend phones and ringing in ridiculous orders.....there was much crashing and banging of the plates and disabled GD was able to scoot about with my car keys pretending to get shopping for the cafe. I had to drink numerous cups of imaginary tea of course.......

Then we had a shoe shop and I could be all sort of customers, nice ones, old ladies, princesses (bloody picky they are abut shoes) then when we were bored with that, we built towers with the tea set from the cafe and disabled GD smashed them down amid howls of laughter.........

I save old perfume boxes and bottles and have a dressing up basket of stuff from charity shops and old scarves etc........I am shattered but love it. Also cover from polish types sprays build well into towers and come in all colours.

Plenty of stories and singing.big finish ...hold your arms up high, applause can go on for ages.

What is house work ??

Teddy123 Sun 09-Oct-16 16:56:06

Josephine257 ... Thanks for suggestion re car seat & little step.

I think the solution would be to change my 3 door Corsa for a bigger 5 door car.

But I don't want to do that. My Corsa is great for the rest of my lifestyle

teabagwoman Sun 09-Oct-16 18:19:17

Thank you all for your suggestions. I only have gd one day a week as a rule although I do a lot of evening babysitting and sometimes have her for part of the weekend as the parents have to cope with a difficult shift system. They would put her in nursery for an extra day immediately if they thought I was having difficulty coping but I desperately don't want them to do that. I'm fit at the moment but I know that previous health problems are likely to return so I want to have as much time with her as I can. It's helpful just to hear how tired other older people get.

annemac101 Sun 09-Oct-16 21:59:37

I'm not 60 yet but I too am exhausted when they've gone. I have my two GC 5 and 2 for two or three days at a time every couple of weekends or so. Housework stops apart frond throwing things in dishwasher. We draw,paint, bake, have picnics ,play shops etc but I also use TVs and tablets to have time for a rest and cup of tea. The weather does make a difference ,if it's dry and you can't them to a park to run around then that it is great. I have another one coming in the next few weeks and after a year Im going to be looking after him/ her for a few days a week . I know I will be exhausted but it's better to feel tired and have aches and pains doing something you love than having similar feelings sitting doing nothing all day.

pamhill4 Sun 09-Oct-16 22:10:28

Have you considered finding a Parent and Toddler group locally during the week? It's not just for parents and often gps attend as do Dads and childminders! They are a great place for toddlers to run off their energy and take a chunk of the morning or even afternoons away. It also keeps the house tidy!! For weekends try a paid play centre as they have toddler areas, but can be quite noisy I'm afraid, but again useful to consider.
Routines are essential so fill the day with a trip to the park, or to town (lots to see especially if you go to toy/bear shops) whilst the child watches from the safety of a prank/pushchair. Even a play in the bath allows you a chance to chill out on the loo whilst they play to their hearts delight. Or get some garden toys- sandpit, trike etc and a bench for yourself. Even 10 minutes on the kitchen floor with pots or bowls and a few spoons keeps them happy. And forget about tidying up and keeping your usual standards whilst babysitting as you can do it when dgc has gone/different days. Childminding is a full time job so concentrate on that alone when you have them! Plus if evening babysitting is regular then suggest they join a babysitting circle or find a regular sitter so you can rest. Don't overdo it and you'll be around and useful much longer.