You’ve Gotta Read This if Your Kid’s Grandparents Help With Child Care

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Some people dream of becoming parents — having a sweet little newborn who’s hopefully the perfect mix of mom and dad in the house.

Others dream of becoming grandparents — forging that awesome bond with a little one who loves you immensely, but being able to give the kid back to their parents when everything becomes too overwhelming.

Yet grandparents are increasingly taking on major caregiver roles in their grandchildren’s lives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10% of grandchildren lived with a grandparent in 2012 — up from 7% in 1992. In 2012, 2.7 million Americans were raising their grandkids.

With day care being such a significant cost that many parents aren’t prepared for, some turn to grandparents for a more affordable (or even free!) child care option.

Though grandparents can be wonderful caregivers, recent research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting suggests some may use outdated child-rearing practices, CNN reported.

The study surveyed 636 grandparents about their child care practices and found:

  • Nearly a quarter didn’t know they should put babies to sleep on their backs.
  • 44% thought ice baths were a good method to bring down a high fever. (Warning: It could cause hypothermia!)
  • 68% did not know wounds should be covered.

Andrew Adesman, one of lead researchers, said, “We shouldn’t assume that just because they’ve raised a child before, they’re experts.”

Grandparents did not use old wives’ tales in all cases. Most surveyed knew that putting butter on minor burns is not the way to go, CNN reported.

Though there is a generation gap, it should be noted that grandparents are not the only ones to flub when it comes to recommended child care practices. Raising a child can have a major learning curve for new parents or parents whose children’s births are separated by a significant number of years, even a decade or two.

However, if you’re relying on grandparents to provide child care, even on an occasional or part-time basis, it’s important to make sure they are up to date on modern child-rearing practices.

Start with a simple conversation. If necessary, you could bring them along to a pediatrician appointment or point them to resources like the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children site.

Remember, many grandparents raised their children in a different day and age, so it’s valid to bring your concerns to them. It’s also good to be on the same page on other topics like discipline, diet and screen time. Communication is key.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is lucky to have a strong support system for raising her daughter — including her mom, who watches her daughter while she works.