Does this sound familiar: “My mom offered to baby-sit for the kids this weekend. Maybe we can just go out for a few hours.”
Of course, if the relationship with your in-laws is fraught with constant disagreements, past resentments and the like, it’s probably best to avoid starting a babysitting relationship. Past troubles will just complicate an already tenuous connection.
But, if you have a reasonably good relationship with your in-laws, the use of discreet, diplomatic tools can produce a near-perfect situation for all parties involved.
Setting out some initial ground rules is essential to making this work.
First time out:
1. Stay close to home, within a half-hour from home is probably best.
2. Plan to stay out no more than two hours.
2. Leave the telephone number of a close neighbor who would be willing to drop everything and jump in if the need arises.
3. Leave printed instructions, especially with regard to treats, television time, important phone numbers, etc. Its really hard to lay down the law to your parents but its absolutely necessary.
4. Discuss discipline, especially what you feel is appropriate and not appropriate.
5. If the grandchildren are old enough, discussing boundaries in their presence avoids later arguments.
6. Be sure the grandparents feel welcome and happy so that if this does work out, you can they feel comfortable about asking them again!
Remember your parents actually did raise children at one time. Assuming you're relatively OK, they probably did a pretty good job.
This weekend would be a great time to try out a first-time baby-sit with the kids and grandparents. The kids have been home and snow-strapped seemingly forever and the novelty of having the grandparents stay for a few hours will be a welcome change.
Looking for ideas? Stop by on Saturday night for a few hours. The Glen Road coffee shop now has live music to accompany their fabulous array of coffees and desserts. And, no matter where you live in Newtown, you're never more than 20 minutes away from home.