5 Persuasive Techniques to Get the Grandparents to Babysit
Few of us have any difficulty convincing our parents to indulge us in the occasional babysitting job. After all, they’re as invested in those cute chubby faces, pudgy toes and dimpled knuckles as you are (aren’t they so damn irresistible?).
But face it mums and dads, cute as your cherub may be, there comes a time when babysitting starts becoming a chore. Maybe your kid’s hit the terrible twos and loves nothing more than throwing tantrums on the grubby tiles of your local shopping centre. Or maybe those babysitting requests are piling up, from the odd job here and there to daily or every-other-day occurrences.
Here are 5 persuasive techniques to get the old folks back on board.
1. Show due respect
The first step to successful persuasion is showing some respect. Don’t abuse the relationship that is your parents’ love for your child.
Treat your parents as you would any other babysitter by setting some ground rules. Make their babysitting job professional and legit. You don’t want resentment to start bubbling when you make one too many last minute requests or to boil over when your last-minute cancellations start stacking up.
Some simple ground rules include:
- Letting them know well in advance when they might be needed
- Using their services only when it’s really important – not just so you can pop out to your weekly yoga class
- Making some rules around last minute cancellations
- Making it clear it’s OK to say ‘no’ to a job
- Supplying everything the kids might need
- Making no assumptions about your parents’ availability or willingness to do a job
- Keeping communication open to hash out any issues
2. Entice with a little payment
It isn’t bribery … OK, it’s a little bit like bribery. But if the babysitting jobs are pretty regular and you’re saving epic costs on skyrocketing child care fees it doesn’t hurt to offer a bit of dosh to the nannying nanna or pop.
Many grandparents will beg off the idea and insist they adore their time with little boo. But persisting with payment allows those grandparents to consider the work a job and encourages them to take a more professional approach.
Plus it’s a decent way to show some appreciation for their effort. Kids are tiring, after all, and those seniors aren’t as agile as they once were.
3. Make the “job” an “event”
This is a cheeky way of, well, basically marketing the job to Grandma and Grandpa. Think of a passion shared by generations one and three and make a day of it.
If Granny and Gramps are wildlife people, suggest they have a day out with the kids at the zoo – on you, of course. If they’re sports-obsessed, ask if they’d like to take the little tyke to the next match, your shout.
You can dial it down too. If Pop’s a book owl, tell him about the latest book you’ve been reading with Tommy and invite him to share in the adventure. Tie it in with a babysitting night and tell him you’ll bring the book over. If Nan’s an enthusiastic baker, buy up a load of ingredients for one of her trademark recipes for her to share with the kids on the next childminding night.
4. Let them be ‘loco parentis’
Nobody likes to babysit when they don’t feel entirely in control. A grandparent’s worst nightmare is watching a sulky child spiral out of control in their own home, eventually leading to smashed china or ear-piercing screams, and not knowing where they can draw the line.
Let them set some boundaries of their own and tell them you trust them to discipline a misbehaving tot as they see fit (if you’re concerned about their disciplinary actions, set some boundaries first).
The idea is that they know they’ve got the reins. That means they set their own schedule or invent their own activities to do with the kids. They’re not under your behest; this is collaborative parenting. It means they’ll look forward to your kid’s visits a hell of a lot more knowing they can dictate the terms.
5. Promise an exchange of services
If the grandparents are too stubborn in their ways to accept a cash payment, offer a variety of other services. With those creaky joints and stiff backs, there are plenty of activities the grandparents won’t find as enjoyable or feasible to do as time goes on.
Offer an exchange of services; a night of babysitting for a day of gardening, painting the guest room or mending that fence that’s about to topple. Sometimes these are the services that really count (and will ultimately save them some pretty dosh as well).
So there you have it, some easy peasy ways to make babysitting seem like not such a big deal – or at least, seem a worthwhile one – after all! A happy grandparent makes a happy babysitter. And satisfaction all round leads to a happier you. What can be better?
… Well, maybe a happy child in a pair of our super comfy kid’s shoes. And while you’re here, share with us your own convincing techniques in the comments section below.