Grandparents Babysitting: Everything You Need to Know - Small Legacies

Grandparents Babysitting: Everything You Need to Know

By Kendra Johnson*

Can grandparents babysit? Or Better Yet,  SHOULD grandparents babysit their grandchildren? 

My husband and I both work full time from home and we do not have our children in daycare. Our house is often in a state of pure chaos. Our 5, 3, and 1 year olds have gotten used to a crazy schedule of my husband and I switching off working hours and we often need to rely on our parents for help with the kids. So this dilemma, (if grandparents should babysit their grandchildren)  hits close to home for my family.

Grandparents are an integral part of a child's life, and many families rely on them for support. One of the most common ways grandparents can help is by babysitting their grandchildren. But is it normal for grandparents to babysit, and how often should they be asked?

In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know about grandparents babysitting.

Is it normal for grandparents to babysit?

Yes, it is entirely normal for grandparents to babysit their grandchildren. In fact, many grandparents enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and see babysitting as an opportunity to bond with them. Additionally, grandparents can provide a safe and familiar environment for children, which can be reassuring for both parents and kids.

  • Yes, it is normal for grandparents to babysit.
  • Many grandparents enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.
  • Grandparents can provide a safe and familiar environment for children.

Is it OK to say no to babysitting grandchildren?

Yes, it is entirely OK for grandparents to say no to babysitting their grandchildren. While it's common for grandparents to help out with childcare, they should never feel obligated to do so. It's essential to communicate your expectations and boundaries clearly and have an open and honest conversation with your children about your availability and limitations.

  • Yes, it is OK for grandparents to say no to babysitting.
  • It's important to communicate expectations and boundaries clearly.
  • Open and honest communication is essential.

How often should you ask grandparents to babysit?

There is no hard and fast rule about how often grandparents should be asked to babysit. It depends on the grandparents' availability and the family's needs. Some grandparents may be able to babysit regularly, while others may only be able to help out occasionally. It's essential to have open communication and mutual respect when discussing childcare needs with grandparents.

  • There is no hard and fast rule about how often grandparents should be asked to babysit.
  • It depends on availability and family needs.
  • Open communication and mutual respect are important.

How can I be a good grandma babysitter?

To be a good grandma babysitter, it's essential to communicate with your children about their expectations and needs. You should also establish clear boundaries, such as your availability, the number of children you can look after, and any specific rules or routines the parents have in place. Additionally, you should be patient, loving, and attentive to your grandchildren's needs and be prepared to adapt to any challenges that may arise.

  • Communicate with your children about expectations and needs.
  • Establish clear boundaries.
  • Be patient, loving, and attentive to your grandchildren's needs.

Should over 70s look after grandchildren?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on the individual's health, energy levels, and other factors. While some grandparents over 70 may be perfectly capable of looking after their grandchildren, others may not feel up to the task. It's essential to have an honest and open conversation with your family about your capabilities and limitations.

  • It depends on individual health and other factors.
  • Honest and open communication is important.
  • Capability and limitations should be discussed.

What are the benefits of grandparents babysitting?

Grandparents babysitting their grandchildren can have many benefits, both for the grandparents and the children. For grandparents, it can provide an opportunity to bond with their grandchildren, stay active and engaged, and feel useful and valued. For children, it can provide a safe and familiar environment, promote a sense of family and community, and create happy memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Grandparents can bond with their grandchildren.
  • It can provide a sense of purpose and engagement for grandparents.
  • Children can benefit from a safe and familiar environment.

So, is it ok for grandparents to babysit?

Grandparents can play a vital role in their grandchildren's lives, and babysitting is just one way they can help. Whether it's a regular commitment or an occasional favor, it's important to communicate openly and honestly about expectations and limitations. With mutual respect and understanding, grandparents can provide invaluable support to their families, and grandchildren can benefit from the love and care of their grandparents. It's a very personal decision. 

Do I personally use grandparents to babysit? 

After doing all the research, I've concluded that YES, in my case it is acceptable and even mutually beneficial for my children to be looked after by their grandparents while I work. My mother and father in law in particular are always excited to spend a day with my boys.

Do I personally use grandparents for full-time childcare?

Personally, I take special care to make sure I never take advantage of their time or ask too much of them. When asking a grandparent to babysit full time, it turns the relationship into a more contractual working one. 

Although I would love to have a normal 9-5 work day every day of the week to get my 40 hours in, I don't want to put the pressure on my parents and in-laws to be watching the kids every single day. So instead I work odd hours, including nights and weekends to make our schedule work. 

And if I'm being totally honest, I LOVE that I can start my Monday mornings slowly just playing with the kids and gradually build up to my work day (because I am not a morning person).


The Ideal Schedule for Grandparent Babysitting for the Working Parents (2 Days a week) 

Our family thrives on routine. Below is the ideal schedule for my family. This is me sharing my personal experience and I acknowledge that it would be disrespectful to assume everyone has the same luxuries we have. We are very blessed to have two sets of healthy, loving, dedicated parents who are able and willing to help. 

Each set of grandparents babysits for 4-8 hours twice a week. Although we have 3 sons, the grandparents rarely have all three kids at one, unless there are extra adults on hand to help out like my aunt who lives next door to my mom. Here's what our week looks like:

  • Sunday: Maternal Grandma Babysits (along with my aunt). My husband get a date day playing board games. 
  • Wednesday: Paternal Grandpa Babysits the two youngest boys while Ben and I work. Our oldest son stays with us for a few hours while we work then goes to school half of the day. 
  • Friday: Maternal and Paternal Grandparents split the care, with each of them watching 1-2 kids all day. 

 In addition to this weekly routine, once a year or so my husband and I will take a trip to visit family and leave the kids behind for up to 5 days. But we found 3 or 4 is better for everyone when leaving for overnight trips. 


So now that you see what works for my family, I'd love to hear your opinions and thoughts on grandparents babysitting.  What do you think? What has worked for your family?  Comment below! 

Kendra Johnson is a certified elementary educator based in rural Wisconsin. As a parent and teacher, Kendra has a passion for teaching through engaging and varied techniques. Her background in theatre, educational technology and curriculum development have fueled her passion for teaching life skills to youth creatively.

*Some elements of this Blog post were generated with the help of ChatGPT

Comment 1

Kim Newcomb on

I have kept my grandchildren before and after school for 3 years now and my daughter is now teaching in a different school district and wants to transfer her children to that school. I am so saddened and will no longer see them daily. How should I approach my daughter about this change? I am not emotionally prepared for this as they have given me a purpose to care for them.

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