Relatives who help take care of children, what should you keep in mind

The upbringing of a child is a stage in which parents participate mostly. However, others relatives they also help in this mission, something that facilitates the work-life balance in fathers and mothers. Grandparents and uncles sometimes become improvised kangaroos that allow parents and quiet to work knowing that their children are in good hands.

However, as much as these relatives Do it willingly, before asking for this help you have to take into account several factors. Something about what it is about Lourdes Alcañiz in her guide for the pregnant woman and where she deals with the 'rules of the game' that parents must accept before involving these relatives in the upbringing of their children so that everything goes right.


Speak to avoid misunderstandings

Although they are family members, it must be taken into account that each household has a way of understanding the upbringing of a child. It is possible that a grandfather or uncle have different opinions on how to care for a child, a clear example is the 'permits' that can be given to children. Or for example, parents can look for the child to start sleeping alone and not in the company of Adults.

The best in these cases is make clear the points that we must continue in this sense. For example, it will be necessary to define the schedules in which the child can watch television at home or the tasks that are pending at school. In this conversation the other person can also contribute ideas that can be taken into account when caring for the little ones.


It must be remembered that these relatives also have experience in the care of children and that therefore their recommendations they will be valid. The objective is to ensure the well-being of the youngest children, something that the relatives also look for with their attitudes. These conversations will avoid misunderstandings and possible discussions on some points that are not clear.

The rules to keep in mind

At the time of assuming this responsibility, both parents and family members must take into account a series of rules to ensure a good experience. These are the rules to follow:

For relatives:

1. Assume complementary roles. Grandparents must assume their role as collaborators. It is important that, from the beginning, the grandparents are clear that their grandchildren are not their children and that, therefore, there will be decisions that can not be made without first consulting the parents, who are ultimately responsible. That does not mean that their opinion does not matter, but that they have a complementary role that consists in collaborating with the parents without supplanting their role.


2. Avoid comparisons. Education adapts to changes, which are happening generation after generation. That's why today's parents do not educate the same way parents did a few years ago. However, it is common to see that grandparents compare the way that parents have to educate today with the education they taught their children. Using comparisons will not be constructive: it will not help the parents, who will see it as a criticism, and will not help the grandchildren, who they will see as grandparents and parents face.

3. Support parents. Emphasizing to parents what they do wrong and looking for defects in their way of educating is an error, sometimes common, that grandparents repeat. On the contrary, it is best to seek their virtues and reinforce them. In this sense, it is important to support parents with the rules they have established at home. Respecting their standards will be the first step for grandchildren to respect. If they see that the grandparents do not agree and that, apparently, it favors them, they will take advantage of this situation to refuse to do the established thing, protected by the opinion of the grandparents.

4. Apply guidelines and rules with grandchildren. Faced with the belief that grandparents are rude, it should be remembered that they must also set rules and guidelines for their grandchildren, having previously agreed with parents. If the grandparents do not set limits, what the children have learned at home during the rest of the year will be lost in those moments that grandchildren and grandparents spend together and then it will be much harder for parents to put it into practice at home.

To the parents:

1. Trust grandparents. Many times parents, worried about their children, leave them with their grandparents along with an instruction book. This distrust in grandparents can cause their discomfort and also generate insecurity. Parents, on these occasions, should give advice on what they think may be unknown to grandparents, but always showing confidence in the way they will perform their work, and the success of their decisions in case there is than to take the initiative in front of some problem in the family.

2. Propose them, not force them. Caring for grandchildren should always be an option that grandparents can choose by free choice. Although they always accept caring for enchanted grandchildren, parents should not think that this is their only occupation and that they are available 24 hours a day.Grandparents are an aid to which parents can appeal but should not abuse. In addition, although it is always necessary to agree on one another, parents should not require grandparents perfection when carrying out their work, in which they always do their best.

3. Advise instead of criticizing. It is always necessary to give grandparents some guidelines on what to do with children, however, advice should never become critical. It is important not to detract from the actions that grandparents do with their grandchildren: take them to such a place, buy this or that, etc. Thus, in those moments when parents and grandparents do not agree on certain decisions, the correct thing will be to advise them how they should have done it or how they should do it next time, without limiting themselves to criticizing the ruling.

4. The value of the memory. Experience is not a transferable value of grandparents to parents, however, it is an aspect that both grandchildren and parents should take advantage of. The time that grandparents spend with their grandchildren, sometimes higher than the parents spend with their children, allows them to become teachers sometimes, transmitting to their grandchildren a perspective of history and life that, by their short old, have not lived. It is a way to teach the value of memory.

Damián Montero

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