04 Jul 2022

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: Back To Work … Granny’s Turn …

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: Back To Work … Granny’s Turn …

So, last article about the childcare choices you may have as you choose to go back to work, or maybe college or university. I’ve written about choosing a day care nursery, a Childminder and even maybe employing a Nanny.

I suggested lots of things to think about, offered a few questions you may like to ask, and mentioned a few things you may like to consider or watch out for!

Deciding on the right childcare is so very important, as you know, because the right opportunities, support and environment really do make a difference, a positive happy difference to how your little one grows, develops and feels about him, or her, self.
So this week it’s all about Granny (or maybe Grandad or Aunt and Uncle).

Some of us are very lucky to have parents, or family members who are able (and want to!) look after their youngest family members. But there are a few things you should consider before saying ‘YES please and snatching their hand off!

Food …or should I say snacks! One of the biggest things I hear is that you don’t want your child have that biscuit, lolly-ice or sweets (or whatever it may be) and Granny always lets him (or her) have it! So to this I would offer two thoughts …. Granny raised you on the diet she thought was best, so why is it wrong now when you’ve turned out healthy and happy! Or maybe consider it IS a Granny’s job to spoil their Grandchild - she’s done the ‘parenting’ and now wants to enjoy and treat her Grandchild - is this so bad?

But if you are really against any snacks that aren’t healthy, don’t mind a few sweets occasionally but really don’t want your little one to have too much, then why not invest (as a present!) in a ‘Granny Jar.’ Simply a nice jar, maybe a cookie tin, full of all the snacks that your little one can have AND share with Granny :)

Early learning and education … often we think it’s only if our little ones go to nursery that they’ll learn all the pre school skills they need. But remember your Mum taught you all you knew before you went to school.

It may not be formal ‘sit down’ learning, but baking cakes, making dinner and washing dishes are all early science and maths skills, walking to the shops, looking after the garden and visiting the park all link directly to knowledge and understanding of the world - also on the early years curriculum.

Sitting together and sharing stories - early literacy and I bet, your Mum knows more nursery rhymes than you - this links directly to early phonics and early reading skills. That’s just a few.

And if you are still not convinced then … did you know that some children’s speech is not as well developed today as it was when we were growing up? This is because all that talking you and your Mum shared laid very, very strong foundations for all your learning - the time she’ll spend talking to your little one will do the same for them. Without good speaking, listening and attention skills any learning is difficult.

Social experiences… some Grandparents are happy to attend Parent & Toddler groups or music classes etc and some are not - you’ll have to discuss this with them and explain how important these experiences are - maybe reach a compromise and ask they just attend one or two a week and agree which ones together.

But do remember that your Mum will, I would think, be taking your child out to the shops, maybe to the library, maybe to the park and all these do offer opportunity to say hello to others, and even play with other children (at the park) or maybe even at Rhyme Time in your local library.

Love, because this is your child - their Grandchild, your Mum will love your child, more than any child care provider will - it’s that simple. The bond between a Grandparent and child is so special and the more time they spend together, the stronger their love and bond will be, and this is a bond that will last a lifetime.

Cost, yes cost! Although many of us are lucky enough to have parents who are willing to care for our children it is important to think about cost. Who will buy the toys, pram, provide the food, nappies, snacks (fill Granny’s Jar!) and pay for outings etc. Is it really fair to expect them to pay for all these things too?

It’s also worth thinking that if your Mum is able to look after your child then surely she may be able to go to work if that’s what she wanted - so by looking after your child she is actually unable to work - does this mean you should consider paying her?

I know a lot of Grandparents would insist they not be paid, they are doing it for love and to help you. But could you maybe think about ‘payment in kind’ - maybe contributing towards a holiday, maybe paying for a weekend away, maybe surprise gifts once a week (flowers, chocolates, a voucher for her favourite shop or beauty salon) or even agreeing on a nominal sum together.

This will help your Mum feel appreciated and not taken for granted - after all you are giving her the most precious thing in your life - your child - surely she deserves something?

So there’s been a lot to think about over the past few weeks, but as I said at the start, do take your time, consider all your options, do some of research and ask lots of questions - this is a big decision and you and your little one need to be, and feel happy. Maybe you’ll choose Granny, maybe a Childminder or a Nanny, or maybe even a mixture of two!

Good luck x

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