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Anxious nannie

(36 Posts)
Bungle Wed 09-Aug-23 13:17:04

Hi there, just wondering if anyone had any advice.
I look after my 2 grandchildren 4 and 2, two days a week.
They are both quite a handful especially the 4 year old. Doesn't like being told what to do, very boisterous as are lots of little ones, but they are becoming so put of control sometimes that it's making me anxious as I can't get them to do as I say.
Their parents are very laid back and they do mostly what they like at home.
It's the anxiousness I feel which I'm finding difficult.

Septimia Wed 09-Aug-23 13:25:22

I think it might help if you establish that, in your home, they do what you say and things aren't done the same as in their home. It'll take a while for it to work, but I'd give them 2 or 3 chances to do what they're told and if they don't, then restrictions follow. These might be no television, no going to the park, no treats. Reward them when they obey. It'll be hard work for you to start with but will, hopefully, pay off in the end.

I had to do something similar with a class of children. It took a lot of effort at first but in the end they were a joy to work with.

crazyH Wed 09-Aug-23 13:28:06

Anxiety is my middle name, whether they are with me or safe in the arms of their parents. I have 6 GC of varying ages ( I don’ t have them with me altogether of course) . I feel guilty when I say this. The 4 year old gets my old iPad, on which I have downloaded a few games. He plays with it for hours. It’s wrong I know, but I leave the disciplining to the parents. It keeps him busy 😂

sodapop Wed 09-Aug-23 13:36:47

I agree with Septimia different rules at Nanny's house. However you do say you are very anxious Bungle maybe you need to separate out the things which need your attention and the smaller things which you can pass on. Choose your battles and don't stress about everything. Good luck.

Hithere Wed 09-Aug-23 13:45:03

"it's making me anxious as I can't get them to do as I say."

Kids that age do not follow instructions as you wish they did

I would recommend to refresh on childhood phases and reset your expectations

If babysitting is not good for you, you can always change your mind and cancel the arrangements

Casdon Wed 09-Aug-23 13:54:08

Have you thought about taking them to playgroup, it will tire them out so they are more likely to behave at your home?

jenpax Wed 09-Aug-23 14:37:52

I have DGC of similar ages and one (who has ASD and possible PDA) is extremely challenging. My advice is to keep demands to the minimum eg only those things which are a danger to themselves or others or cause irreparable damage to property. any other task or demand can slide. Demands for young children and especially those with PDA would include even things which you do not think of as stressful eg hurry up and get your shoes on or choose what you want for dinner

wildswan16 Wed 09-Aug-23 14:48:49

She will pick up on your anxiety. Keep things simple - only ever two choices e.g. "would you like jam or cheese on your sandwich" "this book or that book". Ignore bad behaviour as much as possible and respond quickly and enthusiastically to good behaviour. If able, take them out for walks, library book clubs etc.

But talk to their parents and explain you are struggling. They need to speak to the child and ensure she behaves at your house, otherwise you will not be able to look after them.

Hetty58 Wed 09-Aug-23 15:01:27

Bungle, do think about changing this arrangement. It may well be too much for you.

I have one set of 'fairly normal' grandkids, another who are perfect little angels - and the third lot, those uncontrollable, wild, noisy, destructive devils (I call them feral grandkids). I don't look after any of them on a regular basis - I do know my limits!

coco12 Wed 09-Aug-23 16:00:42

I find bribery works a treat 😄 we're due to look after our two for a week. I'm armed with supplies of all that will entertain them. It's not a regular thing though so not so bad!

Norah Wed 09-Aug-23 16:07:06

I find running and lots of exercise helps. We go outside, no danger to the house - walk, run, skip, eat picnic food, splash in puddles. Move the cars from the garage - play wild out of the rain.

Shelflife Wed 09-Aug-23 16:29:56

The eldest is now old enough to understand that GM rules are not the same as rules at home ( if there are any ,! ) Their parents should respect this too. If not tell them their children are too much for you to manage , then back out of the arrangement - simple! You should not have to feel this way. Be brave , set your bounderies for the children and their parents , if they are unable to respect your rules then that can pay for alternative day care for their children. Remember There are their children and their responsibility!!

Glorianny Wed 09-Aug-23 16:57:28

You will need to change things gradually. Decide what parts of their behaviour bother you the most and what would improve things. Start with one thing. Get a star chart and set a target for each day for each of them. Something not too difficult that you know they can do, like tidying away their toys. If they do it they get a star. 2 stars (one each day) gets them a little prize.
The trouble with bad behaviour is that it becomes a downward spiral you get trapped in. Try to find some aspect of their behaviour which you are happy with and when they behave well give them a hug and praise them. Watch them and see what they really like and use that to reward good behaviour. One word of praise is worth 10 of criticism. Sometimes it is really hard to do, but it does work.
Good luck

Smileless2012 Thu 10-Aug-23 09:07:41

Some really good advice on here Bungle including talking to their parents. Their laid back approach may work for them, but it clearly isn't working for you and they need to know that and support you if they want you to continue to look after the children.

welbeck Thu 10-Aug-23 11:24:36

it's too much for you, say so, stop doing it.
they are their parents' responsibility, not yours.
you do not have to endure this extra anxiety in your latter years.
you are entitled to live as well as possible, relaxed as possible.
cut out the stress.
good luck.

MerylStreep Thu 10-Aug-23 11:34:17

You need to perfect the look and the voice 😡

JayDee60 Thu 10-Aug-23 12:04:05

I think you need to lay down the law on how they behave when they’re with you. Otherwise you are going to resent them coming and give yourself unnecessary stress which will only hinder your enjoyment of your grandchildren. Sit the 4 year old down and see what they like. I have bought my grandchildren age appropriate maths and English books. Find out what they like and find some outside clubs, libraries are great for holding activities.

welbeck Thu 10-Aug-23 12:15:07

are you paid for this work, OP.

hicaz46 Thu 10-Aug-23 12:25:22

I echo all those who advocate Nanny's rules in Nanny's house. When looking after my grandchildren they always knew this and were always happy to comply. In fact I think they actually like helping to lay the table, clearing away when older and being more disciplined in their approach to stays with us. My DD and DIL always knew too and were very happy with my rules. I hasten to add they were not onerous rules just things to make life easier for us all..

Delila Thu 10-Aug-23 13:28:33

I think children easily pick up on adult anxiety (including when you put on a confident act), and can use it to their advantage, testing to see how far they can go.

I agree with those who recommend asking them to help you with things in the house and garden, allotting special responsibilities, appointing them “monitors” of this and that. Star charts are brilliant. Engaging in activities away from the house might help take the focus off you and use up some energy.

I used to take my grandchildren on “expeditions”, fungus hunting was a favourite. Once home they would draw and paint what they’d seen. Try things that match your own energy levels, whilst using up some of theirs and engaging their interest.

rowyn Thu 10-Aug-23 14:18:14

It's a bit like dog training. You reward them ( verbally or with a hug) when they do as you say, and - as far as is possible - give them the minimum of attention when they don't.

The 'reward' may just be telling them how good they are being and how pleased you are . Make a point of telling Mum about anything they've done that has particularly been good as well.
Don't get into the trap of feeding them sweets or similar as a reward. On the other hand you could maybe allow them to make decisions as a reward - choose what they would like for lunch, for example, or what activity they would like to do.

Saggi Thu 10-Aug-23 14:59:54

My daughter ( child psychologist ) and her husband is much stricter than I was ….the result was two lovely …boisterous …well mannered individuals which I used to look after 2-3 days a week over period of 10 years. A delight to be with ….still are. Even though I did things slightly different than my daughter , it was within ‘family principals’….and that’s all that matters. Your home so your rules…

twiglet77 Thu 10-Aug-23 15:19:15

My grandsons range from 6 to 1 year old. Best thing is to get outside - boys are easily delighted with a ball, a stick, a puddle… a hill to clamber up or slide or roll down. Bike or scooter, take a drink and snacks, keep on the move. I have apps on my phone to identify plants and insects, the eldest has been fascinated with these since he was about 4. I pick up bargains at charity shops so there are always clothes at my house that can get wet, muddy or spoiled without parental concern. Swimming things live here too, and we go to the local pool through the holidays for a 90 minute fun session. Frisbee on the recreation ground, throw balls into the stream for the dog to retrieve, visit ALL the local playgrounds to rank slides and zip wires in order of preference. Take kites up to the field if it’s windy, or bubble mix. We get outside in all weathers, they have wellies, raincoats and gloves here. And afterwards we can settle on the sofa with books or a film, or do drawing, or make paper planes.

I much prefer having them here than looking after them in their own homes. Even if they’re here once or twice a week, the slightly less familiar setting makes it much easier to occupy them!

Farmor15 Thu 10-Aug-23 17:14:37

Most 2 year olds and many 4 year olds won't do what their told - whether accompanied by stern voice, threats or bribes!

OP says minding them is making her anxious, so is it about safety? If they are out, and won't stop or come back when called, that's a real problem. In the house, if they persist in playing with cooker or chasing each other on stairs, despite being told not to, it will cause huge anxiety.

If these kinds of issues are worrying you, Bungle , you need to have a serious chat with the parents about whether you can continue to provide childcare.

lyleLyle Thu 10-Aug-23 17:41:35

I think it might be too much for you to handle. You’re getting loads of advice on how to handle them that isn’t even remotely age appropriate. Toddlers run around. They cause worry about bumps and scrapes. That’s just what they do. It’s better for them to have caregivers that can both understand where they are developmentally and have the energy to run after them. You aren’t going to discipline their nature out of them. They are doing what kids do at their ages.