Photo from Straits Times
Many of us may be keen to let our elderly parents take care of our children. First and foremost, we tend to trust our parents more than domestic helpers or childcare workers. Another reason is that we hope that our children can be a form of companionship for our elderly parents. This is especially if we are not living with our elderly parents, and they are retired and do not engage in many social activities.
Lastly, some may also feel that it is a more affordable option compared to hiring domestic workers or paying for childcare services. Having said that, there are a few other factors we need to consider before making a decision.
For those of you who are thinking of asking your elderly parents to take care of your children, here are 4 things to consider:
1. Would your elderly parents be keen?
While we may have the idea that all grandparents would love to take care of their grandchildren, that may not necessarily be true. They may be too busy or do not feel that they have the energy for it, or they may just not want to. Do talk to your elderly parents to find out if they are keen to look after your children.
2. Is it safe for both the young and old?
The next thing we need to consider is whether our elderly parents would be able to cope with the physical demands of childcare. Note down all the things you are doing for your children at home and observe if your elderly parents would be able to carry out those tasks. This may not be a big issue if your children are old enough to do most things themselves. You can also consider hiring a domestic helper to assist your elderly parents with the household chores while they look after your children.
3. Would your children be spoiled by their grandparents?
Some of us may be worried that our elderly parents would spoil our children. It is not uncommon to hear stories of grandparents who secretly let their grandchildren do things that are not allowed by their parents such as gaming for hours, snacking or drinking sweet drinks.
This may be a larger concern if your children are going to be at their grandparents’ place on most days of the week.
While it is not necessary to fully control how our elderly parents interact with their grandchildren, do communicate with them about important things such as those relating to health, safety and the values you would like to impart to your children.
4. What would the arrangements be like?
It would be wise to discuss several things with your elderly parents before sending your children over as it would reduce possible conflict in the future. The discussion would cover details such as on which days will the children be at their place, what time you would pick them up, whether they need to prepare meals for the children, how much they would be paid and more.
Make sure that your elderly parents are agreeable with the arrangements as the last thing we want is to strain our relationship with them.
All in all, having your elderly parents take care of your children may help the whole family bond. For those of you who are not close with your elderly parents, this may be an opportunity for you to visit them more often. With proper planning and communication, getting your elderly parents to take care of your children can bring all three generations closer together.
Are your elderly parents taking care of your children? What advice would you give to someone who is planning for this arrangement?
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