Should You Babysit Your Grandkids for Free?
When it comes to children, two things are true: (1) they're a treasure and (2) they're even more work to take care of as grandparents than as parents.
Few relationships are as special as the bond between children and their grandparents, and this makes the hard work from babysitting worth it.
Before you send your child and in-law the bill for your babysitting services, first think about what you gain from looking after your grandchildren.
Babysitting Can Be Good for Your Health
Taking care of your grandchildren can help you stay healthy for longer because it requires you to be active, and it helps keep you in a positive state of mind. Grandchildren help you meet your daily exercise quota and keep you feeling happy and youthful, and all of these factors are linked to better mental health.
But what about when you feel overworked?
Set Healthy Boundaries
If you feel like charging babysitting fees, then you likely feel that you’re being taken advantage of. Many parents unwittingly drop their children off with grandparents because they assume that grandparents always want to be around their grandkids.
Explain to your children that you’re happy to babysit within reason. Let them know that you also have a life and that you can't be expected to fulfill the role of the babysitter at the last minute if it's not an emergency. Babysitting is work, and like any other job, you need days off.
The Bottom Line
Remember, just because your children aren’t paying you in money doesn’t mean that you’re babysitting for free. Perhaps they already repay you in other ways, like doing chores and running errands for you.
Spend some time thinking about your relationship with your children. Make note of all the things that you do for them, as well as the things they do for you. If you still feel like you’re in a one-sided relationship, have a talk with them and work to reach an agreement.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com user AndreyPopov