Worried -Care of My Girls

Updated on September 30, 2009
T.I. asks from Sacramento, CA
20 answers

My daughters' grandfather has been taking care of them (I have two girls) while I work full time. He was great for the first few years but now I am having alot of concerns about the quality of care that they are receiving.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all. I was thinking about getting the little one into a preschool program so will definitely check into that as an option. The oldest may be able to start staying hanging out with a friend and her WAHM.

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M.O.

answers from San Francisco on

Perhaps Grandpa may be going thru some stuff himself. You said that he was wonderful for a few years, have you tried talking to him to see if everything is ok with him, emotionally, physically, mentally. He is aging too. I commend him for being there for you for a couple of years. Not all grandparents would offer to be caregiver to their grandkids. I hope that everything works well with you.

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C.C.

answers from Fresno on

I think you need to have a frank discussion with your father-in-law about your expectations, and really listen to his answers. I don't know how old he is, but maybe he is just too tired to deal with an energetic toddler. It might be very hard for him to face this reality. Instead of sending over information to him about things, tell him that you want him to take your daughter to such-and-such activity. If he doesn't take her, ask why. If you notice her diaper is soaking when you pick her up, point it out and let him know that he needs to check her diaper more frequently so she doesn't get diaper rash. (Or if he's up for it, he can potty train her.) If being direct and clear with him about what you want doesn't help, then I think it would be reasonable for you to enroll your little one in preschool or some other kind of care, even if it's just part-time. If you are worried about offending him, you could tell him that you really want him to have a great relationship with his grandkids, and you feel like giving him a break will allow him to be more energetic during the times they're together.

I think with regard to your older daughter, you may want to find after-school programs for her. However, I do think it's important that she understands respect for her grandfather. True, she will not always agree with what he has to say, but she also needs to acknowledge and accept that he was raised in an era when children did not speak to adults until adults spoke to them, and children addressed adults as "ma'am" and "sir." There's nothing wrong with your daughter having her opinions, however there is much to be said for learning to keep them to herself, and understanding that everybody in the world is not always interested in what pre-teens have to say about everything. Shutting one's mouth at strategic moments is a skill that comes in very handy at work, so it is not a wasted skill for her to learn now! =)

As far as telecommuting goes, I've been down that road and it can be a very good thing for a working mom. You are a bit more flexible to attend school events, pick them up from school, etc. However, don't assume that you will be able to watch your toddler while telecommuting. You still have a job to do, and kids are a full time job unto themselves. When my kids were that age, I had a nanny so I could still attend meetings, travel, go into the office, etc, and she kept them entertained and busy all day. I will say that if you do telecommute, make sure you have an actual office in your house, complete with locking door. I recall several instances where my kids would literally be hurling themselves against my office door while I was on the phone with clients... kids don't really understand why you're on the phone and can't drop everything to attend to their skinned knee or look at the snail they found or whatever. You still need a responsible adult to watch them while you're working.

Good luck with everything. It's really, really hard to work full time with kids. It doesn't really get easier as they get older, at least not from what I've found. Ugh! I feel your pain.

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E.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like burnout to me. My mother-in-law watches my now 3y/o 2 days/week and frequently drags my daughter along to lunches w/ her friends where I know she's not being paid much attention to.
When she goes a bit of time w/o seeing her (i.e. she's been on vacation) I notice that she gives her more 1:1 time. I'd find somewhere else for her to go for the majority of the week and keep their time limited so he appreciates it more/takes full advantage of their time together. Plan outings for them, pre-buy the tickets to the zoo, etc., pack them a picnic lunch--all he has to do is go!
I, too suggested the library and such, but didn't see any action till I got the card and a totebag & gave specific requests such as 'She's learning about ___ in school this week. Can you take her to story time at 11 and then help her find 3 books about ___?' The positive for her is that she gets to relax during story time, can just ask the librarian to help my daughter find the books, and can sit while she plays on the library computer for a little while. PLUS she has a new variety of books to read w/ my daughter, vs. her begging for The Snowy Day for the millionth time ;)
My father-in-law (who loves my kids dearly) has a tendency to put my daughter in front of the TV, but when we joined a park playgroup and I gave him specific times to go there, he did. He got to sit on a bench and relax while my daughter played w/ her friends/the other mommies. Worked out for both of them & the time outdoors guaranteed a long nap. Might be a bit of motivation for him ;)

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S.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I have to say, Grandparents are the best, but you really can't tell them what to do. My kids' grandparents have taken care of them when my husband and I both work, and it's a blessing to have them in their lives plus it saved us tons of money and headache to not have someone else take care of them. I also learned Grandparents will do what they want and they won't "parent" your children like you would like them to because now they are grandparents. It's very different. Your older daughter should be pretty self sufficient by now. Your younger one may just have a lot of energy, but if she's already 3, you may look into a part time preschool. That's what I did with my kids. The kids went to preschool until noon daily, then grandpa would pick them up afterwards and spend the rest of the day with them. That way, it's a win/win for your younger one to learl social skills, interact with others the same age, etc, while letting Grandpa do other stuff. I think it would break his heart if you sent her full time to preschool. Good luck to you! I hope everything works out.

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N.P.

answers from Modesto on

Hi T.,

I am sorry things are coming to a stressful point. For the sake of everyone's relationship, I think it's time to "move on".

Their grandfather knew in the beginning that you needed him to be there for your girls.....he loves them, and he gladly helped you out. After 3 years of doing it, he's not going to complain or tell you that he "doesn't want to anymore" or cannot do it any longer....he knows you need him. But in order to save the relationships....... I believe it's time to figure out something else.

Your oldest would be fine in an afterschool or homework club. At that age she needs FRIENDS! The happier she is in the "friend area" the more pleasant she will be for her already difficult yet "lovely" age :O)

Perhaps you need to find a Daycare for your youngest. Some Daycare's will even potty train, however, they usually charge extra. But in Daycare, she's fed, changed, and napped regularly.....it sounds like that is what you are wanting.

With all of this finally changed, then their grandpa can just be their grandpa. He can love them without having to be any sort of disciplinarian or authority figure. You can take the pressue off of him, and then you won't have to "deal with him" just because he's family....of course he won't be saving you TONS of money each money each month either, but at least you can save the relationships.

Orrrr.....you can always tell yourself, "he may not be the BEST caregiver in the world, but I know my daughters are being loved and are in a safe environment".

Either way, as wonderful as he has been, you cannot expect him to be their caregiver forever. It's time to "relieve" him of some of his responsibilities, if not all of them. He may simply just be tired.

~N. :O)

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

I agree with the others, it's time to put your youngest in a preschool and your oldest in some after school care. You can tell your dad that you want to get your youngest kindergarten ready by putting her in preschool. That should make him feel like it's not an attack on him. Make sure you still spend time with him after you move on. Maybe he's afraid he'll never see his grandkids if he's not caregiving. But it does sound like he's tired. It's not an easy job for anyone :-)

I telecommute, but my kids are in child care while I work. You can't give proper attention to your job and your children at the same time. One or both will suffer.

Good luck,
L.

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D.Z.

answers from Yuba City on

T. -

Just throwing in a support comment for 'moving on'. Still maintain a relationship (maybe take him dinner with the girls one night a week), but for the better of your kids, find another solution. You can do it tactfully. I agree that the middle school girl should be ready to be on her own for a couple of hours, but a book club, after school club or sport activity would most likely be best. My 7th grader watches her younger sisters in short periods and does a great job, but only you know your daughter best and what she can handle without supervision. The little one, find a good pre-school perhaps near your work or your daughter's school, she'll benefit from the activities and socialization.

Maybe you could have the girls make Grandpa a "thank you for taking such good care of us" parting gift to let him know you appreciate what he's done for you and the girls?

Take care,
D.

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V.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like Grandpa is getting tired and older and not willing to admit it. Is it possible to put your younger daughter in pre-school part time, like 3 days a week? Can say for the purpose of socialization and prep for school. Would still give him access/responsibility for some of the time, and therefore still feel useful and involved (and loved) but also allows him a break. Older daughter involved in after school activities? or have after school program (my middle schooler has Tween Time at her school)? (can say she is being tutored or having homework supervision?) Maybe a break from each other and limited time together will help their relationship as well.

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C.D.

answers from Sacramento on

I would think your Middle-school child is old enough to take care of herself at this point and its simple really, if dad cant take care anymore then, find a sitter or daycare. I have 7 children and have always worked but by middle school years my boys took care of my younger ones for the 2-4 hours in the afternoon.

Good Luck!
C.

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Y.M.

answers from Redding on

It sounds like tough love time. This cant go on any longer. Your youngest needs stimulation and just like you say she is not getting tired out. What do they do all day, nothing? Or maybe its TV day in and day out. And as for your older daughter it is obviously not working. I would make the switch to day care or pre school very soon.

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K.M.

answers from Seattle on

My oldest son just started middle school and our local community school has a program for kids 11-12 called home alone. To prepare them for spending a couple of hours on their own. Of course you didn't mention your work hours but she may be able to participate in afterschool activities and arrange rides for her to get home. Or maybe grandpa can pick up from school and drop her home.

My Early Childhood Education background coming out - a child aged 1-4 is in a very important developmental stage of their life and it doesn't sound like Grandpa is providing the opportunities for learning your child may need. I would register the little one for some programs and let Grandpa know that the preschool is expecting her each day.

As for telecommuting. I do :) I am a single parent and working from home is the only option for me. However, my children had to have fulltime childcare. Work hours are work hours and you won't keep your job if you have children interrupting your calls.

My middle school has always come home afterschool and he knows the rules. Over the last few years my younger children had opportunities to be home occasionally and they too know the 'moms working rules'.

Now that they are all in full time school I have opted out of daycare completely and have a 'mom assistant' /nanny part time from 2pm-5 30 pm each day who keeps them busy.

If you are considering the cost of full time childcare - you may want to look at help in your home using a site like www.greataupair.com

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D.O.

answers from San Francisco on

It really all depends on your relationship with your father. Any time a family member is giving a a parent child care - it is out of the parent hands.
Just a creative idea: if your father do not want to let go of his responsibility, but do not do it very well any more (may be it become too difficult and he cannot admit it?) may be you can hire a helper for him, like a high school kid that will come and do the playing and activities and may be the diaper changing??

Just an idea.

D. Orr

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F.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Maybe it is getting to be too much for your Dad but he doesn't want to admit it is. How old is he? Does he have any help with the kids? Does he have things he would like to do? Maybe have the younger in a child care program three days a week to give him a break and for her to have some friends and learn social skills and have some fun leaning things. We took care of our granddaughter but then we have a child care home preschool so it worked out great except our daughter didn't want to come home so I could go to college one or two nights a week. I would sit down with your Dad and have a friendly chat to see how he is feeling and what his needs are too. If he is tired and stressed out from your little one not napping then he snaps at your oldest who may have had a rough day at school too. The little one needs to get and so does he. He may not want to hang out with the kids and adults at the library program depending on his personality. Do what is best for your kids.
F.

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L.B.

answers from Sacramento on

T., Your father may just be tired. You may want to look into other childcare. You two year should be working on getting out of diapers. And needs to do activies to keep busy. I run a childcare in Lincoln. I have space open for a two year old. give me a call email if your looking to change and live in the area [email protected]____.com your older child. Well she is comign into her own. Normal behaviors for her. She probley doesn't want to be baby sat and what to just be with her freinds instead of grandpal. she is probley old enough to stay at home by herself if she can be trusted and responable. Im thinking she is around 13.

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P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Maybe you can find a mom at the middle school or someone else to take your daughter to and from school. There has to be another arrangement -- it sounds like grandpa's not good for either girl any more. Who cares what he wants, preschool seems like a better place for your little one to be.

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E.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

Hi T.-
I hope that the other mom's have some better suggestions than I do, but it sounds like the grandfather is aging a bit more than at first and the girls should go to daycare- at least the smaller one. The older one, if she is in middle school, can enroll in after school programs, clubs, or sports that will keep her occuppied at school until "quitting" time. This is what my parents had me do when I was younger. My grandmother was caring for us and it was really hard on her, and the relationships started to go sour after a few years. Luckily my youngest sister was in elementary school and my mother was only gone from her for a few afternoon hours. She and grandma got along the best. I was in highschool, and I played sports, took extra curricular courses, and joined clubs. Not only did this uncoordinated genius get her Varsity letter in sports, but I graduated with honors and my grandmother and I earned our relationship back. The eldest was in college and otherwise occuppied, but this is how we made it work. The girls' grandfather may also feel like it's a lot of thankless effort, but at the same time is of the mind that he doesn't want a stranger taking care of his grandchildren. I say preschool or day care for the toddler, and after school stuff for the middle schooler. She can even do a homework course and work on projects or use the library, and that would take care of the afternoons until you get off work.
I hope this helps
Good luck
-E. M

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S.R.

answers from San Francisco on

I've worked by telecommute and you really still need daycare, even when working from home, to be able to get your work done. Even though the oldest is old enough to take care of herself, she is within a period of her life where she is very vunerable to peer influence, and since you have to provide daycare for your younger child also, I think you should also try to find a place where your oldest daughter can go as well, just so that she has adult influence in her life during those hours you're at work.
In regards to your grandfather... possibly he is getting old and is not as energetic anymore? That's understandable, but you have to do what's best for your children - even if that means finding alternate care for them as this situation is no longer working out for you.
Why not look for a licensed home-care day care center in the area of your oldest child's school? Licensed home daycare centers are less expensive than more institutional day cares, and have more of a family environment - which is what you older child needs after spending the whole day in school... the last thing she needs is more structure, at her age she'll only end up rebelling against it. Have the younger child in this facility for the full day, and have an arrangement with the care provider that your older child checks in after school (this is why I advise to find one that is close to the older child's school... so she can walk there after school, check in, have a snack, do her homework, but still be in the same general area as her classmates' homes so that after she's done with these things, as she is older and needs to have some independence, she has permission to go to a neighboring friend's house, etc.) You can work out the details about she'll need to call you and let you know, tell the daycare provider where she's going and leave a phone number, or have her call you from the providers house, ask permission, and then put you on the phone with the provider to okay her release to a friend's house after the work is done.
If you are concerned about not hurting your grandfather and wanting to keep his influence in your children's life on a regular basis, sign them up for this daycare M,W,F, and let them continue going to grandpa's T, Th, or the other way around if 2 days in a paid home-care is more within your budget. This way grandpa gets a rest, oldest gets additional adult influence and opportunities for independence while still being supervised and meeting responsibilities, and youngest gets their diaper changed regularly. Maybe the break that grandpa receives will give him the momentum to be more active with the kids.
Good luck!!!

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D.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello T.: As the mother of 5, and now a grandparent, I have a few questions that you did not make clear.
First off are you paying this grandparent? Are you expecting more of him than he can give at his age? Would he just like to be the grandparent and enjoy the children and not be the full time care giver? Is he ready to have a life of his own and do things as he wishes and not around a childs schedual?
I can honestly say that my father in law has never as much as he loves our children ever babysat for us once! I have never even considered asking my father!
I have run a home based day care, for years and have Grandparents that pick up or drop off all the time. Very few that I have talked to; want to be responsible for raising grandchildren all day everyday.
Your pre-teen, is at the normal age for rolling the eyes, and giving attitude.(just wait until you get the "oh mom"). You have 2 generations looking at different parenting styles. If you are asking him to do the day care then you have to respect that! My daughter in law works one week 3 days from homeand then the next week she works 2 days from home. When she is at home I often go and watch her little ones so that she can get her job done. It is not an easy task. The children must be quiet for phone calls, or conferance calls, you have to be dedicated to getting the work done and not just being there for the child. I feel its is a brave and wonderful thing that she does. These jobs are getiing harder to find as is the fact for most jobs now days.
Can your older child take the bus to school? Can she pay one of her mother's friends to pick her up and take her to and from school?? With gas prices and frustration that will be expensive. I did before and after carpooling for a year and then swore I'd never do it again!! Since we have 2 times had a child graduate from High School and Kindergarden the same day, and 2 times had a child graduate from middle school and pre school at the same time I really do know how it feels, to have such varing ages and the things that go along with the choices you have to make. I don't know where you are from but I can tell you that day care prices are varied depending on the number of hours ( some children are there only 8 hours and some are there 12) and the number of days. I know that one son pays $1200.00 a month for his babies day care. I have a friend that runs a pre-school and she charges for a child in diapers- 1 1/2 times what she charges for a toddler out of diapers. She actually has a waiting list!
I hope that this Grandfather, feels appreciated, for all his efforts. Our older Grandchildren, have spent a lot of time with their Grandfather and helped me take careof him with his long illness and then his passing away. They have great memories of him reading to them, telling them stories and sneaking them treats AS WeLL as being told on by them for his doing something he was not supposed to. Ask your daughter to talk about her memories of time with her grandfather and see of it is as sweet. Good Luck, you have some tough choices to make, and as the mother you are the only one that can make them. Nana G

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K.H.

answers from Sacramento on

This can sometimes destroy relationships. I would suggest you find a friend from school for your older daughter and see if there are any willing and responsible parents that would help you out for after school care or supervision. I would also try to look for a daycare/preschool for your other little one. Sounds like the grandfather may getting overwhelmed and tired.

Good luck!

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M.R.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,
It sounds like you are in a difficult circumstance and my heart goes out to you.
I would first like to address your child who is of middle school age...
I would immediately talk to her teacher or even the administration of the school and find out what kind of programs are offered for her after school. What programs are in the community? Do all her friends go home? Could she go to a friends house a couple days a week?
It is so very important for her to have extra curricular activities after school because as you know this is such a pivotal and vulnerable time in her development.
My best advice to you is to reach out to your community and speak with your daughter about what alternatives are out there and let her know that you are working on it and you can see that this is not working out anymore.
As for your littlest one...
Their Grandfather has good intentions but it does seem clear that he is having difficulty providing the right environment for your youngest daughter and he's also having difficulty taking care of her basic needs.
If your place of work doesn't provide childcare I would definitely ask around to people you know or who are in your area if they know of any good childcare situations.
You could even ask on Mamasource my giving your city location and see if anybody has any recommendations. I know you probably don't want to hurt their grandfather's feelings and he has really been trying his best, but if your instincts are telling you that this no longer a good situation you must listen to yourself and rely on the community around to help you with yoru solution.
wishing you well,
-M. R.

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