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'Rules' when babysitting

(33 Posts)
Twix Thu 19-May-16 15:08:18

I looked after my grandson who is six months old for the first time at the weekend. My daughter came over with an A4 sheet of paper filled with notes on both sides, about bottle feed times, snack times, nap times, how to put him to sleep, what to do if he cries etc. I skim read it out of politeness but just did what I would have done with my own children as babies. I know she was annoyed when her MIL completely dismissed the note she wrote when she babysat for GS. Does anyone else follow the 'rules' set by parents or do you do your own thing?

rosesarered Thu 19-May-16 15:14:54

Do our own thing.We don't get given lists of rules, luckily the DC seem to realise that we have managed to raise the three of them without a rule book and trust us to get on with it.You did the right thing to pretend to read the list though.grin

ninathenana Thu 19-May-16 15:17:59

At the bottle feeding age I did sort of follow the plan. D was very relaxed about it though and it was only given verbally.
Now at 4 and 7 I keep to bedtime routines. The GC wouldn't let me do otherwise grin. D has always said"Do what ever works for you"
As long as baby is returned to it's parents fed, clean and warm. Who's to know wink

Twix Thu 19-May-16 15:39:18

I pretty much stuck to what she said anyway, she didn't need the list.
MIL hasn't looked after GS since!

fiorentina51 Thu 19-May-16 15:55:54

I generally followed the rules when they were babies apart from using the baby monitor. We live in a bungalow so felt that unless we had suddenly suffered loss of hearing we would hear them well enough. Anyone else dislike baby monitors? They are so sensitive they picked up every snuffle and snort the twins made. We barely slept the first time we used one even though the twins did! Never bothered after that.

Judthepud2 Thu 19-May-16 16:15:30

I like to have a guide to routine and little habits to work within. It makes it easier on the wee one. Of course I use my common sense too, acquired after raising 4 children and a lot of hands on with 6 DGCs.

It is always a good idea to appear to following parent guidelines as that develops their confidence in you. Challenging them is only going to cause trouble. It is worth remembering, they know their children better than you do.

Perhaps the 2 sides of A4 instructions are because this is the first time you have minded the baby.

The monitors used by my DDs monitor breathing patterns and temperature as well as sound. They also play nauseam! I really HATE Paschebel's Canon now!!


Greyduster Thu 19-May-16 16:35:18

I don't remember DD dishing out too many instructions when we had charge of GS, except she was very specific about him sleeping on his back - he mustn't sleep on his side, on his front, etc. So I got a bit paranoid about that, and was up and down like a brides nightie, checking if he was still in the recommended position! Did he stay on his back? Not a chance! He was more often curled up into a ball in the corner of the cot. I didn't mind playing by her rules because, as someone has said upthread, it's all about maintaining confidence.

Thingmajig Thu 19-May-16 16:35:26

We sort of followed the (written) rules when DGD was a baby ... it was a bit daunting as it was 30+ years since we'd done it, and we'd never had to deal with a premature and very small baby at all.
Now we have a gorgeous 2.5 yr old we still follow some of the rules but more often do our own thing when we have her. We do stick to nap and bedtime times and don't fill her up with chocolate too often!!!grin

NanaandGrampy Thu 19-May-16 16:38:00

We stuck generally to feeding times etc but other than that , it's Nana's House Rules smile .

Both daughters trust me to use common sense and experience to deal with the children and in fact , they eat better and sleep better when they stay with us.

We are consistent and I think the little ones like that.

Newquay Thu 19-May-16 18:28:55

Local DD, mother of 4-she and dear SIL had two batches, like the Queen. DGC now aged 19, 17, 7 and 6 never gave is any insteuctions as she knows we know their routines.
Other DD - a few hours away- had her first baby later than her sister. We don't have the same day to day contact so when we were left in charge I was glad she gave me an outline of times for sleeps etc and which "snacks" she preferred.
As others have said we have done this before and are confident.
I like the monitors so I can keep an eye and ear out during the evening without disturbing DGD.

Marmark1 Thu 19-May-16 20:11:51

Yes,I follow the rules,not that there's many.But I would never not follow rules anyway.I wouldn't even walk in the cycle lane.

loopylou Thu 19-May-16 20:15:42

I'm happy to follow the (few) rules. At least that makes disrupting the routine less likely - I've recently looked after dgs1 twice for a few days, and it made things easy for both of us.

Luckygirl Thu 19-May-16 22:13:43

I try to stick with the sort of routine that the little ones are used to when they are tiny, but as they grow they welcome the break from routine that is represented by being with others than their nuclear family. I try to achieve a balance - not doing what I know my DDs would not like, but not necessarily doing the same things as they do.

Deedaa Thu 19-May-16 22:24:17

I used to follow the rules that worked and lie about the rest grin I'm sure DD knew quite well that it wasn't all true.

Newquay Thu 19-May-16 22:45:29

Oh deedah and Marmark-just got in from choir practice and am tired esp after a v demanding day at work (with a new computer system-grr!)-and you both made me laugh out loud-thank you!
I wouldn't even walk in the cycle lane-lol!
And lying about the rest-now I couldn't do that. . . . But I would allow them to mislead themselvessmile

Alea Thu 19-May-16 23:34:29

It's OK to do your own thing until the DGC can talk.
"Oh at granny's we had chocolate"
"We got to watch television"
"Granny lets us.......(long list of disapproved of activities)

Indinana Fri 20-May-16 07:53:42

The first time I was due to babysit my GS I had to go round for a practice run beforehand to 'learn' how to bath him and do a massage with baby oil after. Also, what music to play on his iPod during the massage.. hmm
I'm all for following a young baby's routine, but a verbal explanation about the massage and music really would have sufficed!!

Liz46 Fri 20-May-16 08:03:14

The first time we looked after my grand daughter overnight we had two foolscap pages of instructions! I have a photo of me showing her the instructions and informing her she wasn't following them.
Times changed. Another gorgeous grandchild later and they are just 'thrown in' and the parents shoot off to enjoy their freedom.

gillybob Fri 20-May-16 08:04:59

I have been having my 3 DGC overnight since they were only weeks old. I can honestly say I have never been given one rule by my DiL, I think she just trusted me and DH to do what we thought was right for our grandchildren. It has worked pretty well as we still have them every week for one/ two nights and everyone is happy.

janeainsworth Fri 20-May-16 08:27:08

I should think your DiL wouldn't dare give you instructions gilly grin
Only joking wink
I remember giving my DM not a list but a whole booklet of handwritten instructions, including suggested menus, and what time she would have to get up, when she came to stay in Hongkong to look after DS and DD1 while I was in hospital for 5 days having DD2. blushblush
To be fair, there was no paternity leave so MrA had to go to work & DM was in charge for lengthy periods, and had to take DD2 on 2 buses and a ferry to visit me in hospital.
I really think it depends how long the GC are being looked after and whether it's your place or theirs.
I tend to look after the GC at their place so welcome detailed instructions.

thatbags Fri 20-May-16 09:03:54

I never left instructions with anyone: husband, mother or mother-in-law. I assumed they had enough nous to cope. I also assumed they wouldn't do things exactly (or even remotely!) the same way as I did. It didn't worry one jot even when I left DD1, whom I was still breast feeding, at five months old, to go to an OU summer school. She was fine, and although she gave me a dirty look when I came home, she carried on breast feeding for several more months no bother.

It things like this, when I read what other people did, that make me realise how much of a fuss-pot and worrier I was not. That's not a criticism of anyone else, just a self-realisation. Each to their own. I just winged it by instinct. Seems to have worked smile.

Wendysue Fri 20-May-16 10:40:25

Followed rules (not too many and given verbally) when my DGC were babies and, with one DD, was expected to keep a record of what they ate (which I did). At this point, I know the rules and routines for each set of grands, just have to be told if/when there's a change.

Generally, I'm happy to follow their rules though, as long as nothing conflicts with my house rules (so far, it never has). That's what I expected of my DM when she babysat my kids.

On a more somber note, here in the States, there is, unfortunately, a growing number of GPs who are raising their GC, often due to parents being strung out on drugs and so forth. I would rather have a parent come to mewith a list of rules any day, even if they used both sides of the page!

harrigran Fri 20-May-16 11:57:49

When GC were babies I always followed DIL's instruction sheet, certainly about bottles and which foods to use when weaning. Once they were old enough to stay at Grandma's then it was left to my discretion as to what they ate but they still expected reasonable bedtimes which I agree with.

fiorentina51 Fri 20-May-16 12:03:22

The only rule we gave our parents when they cared for our two children was not to take them out in the car unless they had a child's car seat.
All was fine until my then 4yr old son came home from spending the weekend with my in laws. He proudly recounted his ride in Grandpa's van when he went to visit Gt Grandma and what a lovely time he had on the ride back, kneeling between the two front seats and holding onto the backs of his grandparents.
I leave it to your imagination as to the telephone conversation I had with MIL a few minutes later! It probably didn't help my mood much that I had an 8 week old baby at the time and lack of sleep had changed my personality from my normal sweet self to a screaming virago.
Cue MIL refusing to visit or attend said baby's forthcoming Christening. DH backed me up thankfully. They did attend the Christening but it was a bit strained. No apology was ever given but they did soon buy suitable car seats. Ah the joys of family life.......😈

yggdrasil Fri 20-May-16 12:33:39

Luckygirl said
"I try to stick with the sort of routine that the little ones are used to when they are tiny, but as they grow they welcome the break from routine that is represented by being with others than their nuclear family. I try to achieve a balance - not doing what I know my DDs would not like, but not necessarily doing the same things as they do."
I agree with this. Routine is important with babies, but with older ones, knowing that in Granny's house, Granny's rules apply, is a good lesson; that there may be different ways of doing things :-)