When our dayhome was closed for a month with less than a month's notice, we were left scrambling for care for our daughter. If needed, we were prepared to each take two weeks off work to watch her but that would really suck because that means no family vacation! Luckily for us, my mother-in-law stepped up and volunteered to watch our daughter for two weeks. While we were grateful, we were also nervous for two reasons:
1) Our daughter has never been babysat for long periods of time outside of our dayhome. We have left her with granny or grandpa for an hour or so but nothing super long. We weren't worried about her capability in taking care of our daughter but was worried about what she would do to granny's energy levels.
2) We had no idea what they would do all day long. Even though she might nap during the day, it is still a very long day to "entertain" or watch over a 3.5 year old that is used to a ton of activities and friends to play with.
Turns out, we didn't have anything to worry about. My daughter had a great time with granny, like any other kid would have back in the 1970's. Here are some great things they did during the two weeks they had with each other:
The first day granny and Grace was together, they played in basement for three hours with basically nothing other than a bed, blanket, and some play mats. They imagined being in a park, on a river, at a campsite, in a jungle, etc. Using only their imagination, they just went with the flow. They didn't need a ton of fancy or electronic toys at all.
READ "JUST" BOOKS
Granny didn't read "little girl books" rather read whatever book Grace chose. Some of these were long 200+ page books! (Obviously, still appropriate content. Usually princess related!) Granny or Grace would read their book, put a bookmark in where they left off, and went back to it when they were ready. They weren't reading books for "pre-schoolers," they just read books that didn't necessarily had an age recommendation.
NO FANCY OR PRETTY FOODS
Granny made sure Grace's lunch includes a protein, veggie, carb, and fruit for dessert but her meals were never made into cute little characters. The meals were never overdone or "Pinterest" worthy but guess what?! Grace ate it without any problems. Really goes to show how unnecessary some of the things we do (or I do) are!
MADE FRIENDS ORGANICALLY
After a couple of days of cabin fever, granny and Grace ventured out on a bus ride to McDonalds. After eating most of her happy meal, Grace was allowed to play in the play area with other kids. Grace played and talked with the other kids while granny did the same with the other parents and grandparents. (The day they went had a lot of grandparents!) There was no playdates scheduled days or weeks in advance, or pre-screening of what the kids or parents were like. They just talked and played like people used to before we got judgmental or suspicious of each other.
HAD A GENERAL ROUTINE
We provided granny a general outline of Grace's daily routine but they weren't scheduled on the hour by the minute. When didn't want to restrict granny and Grace's time. This was such a good thing because granny and Grace still followed the routine but it happened naturally. Grace had a bit of a say and knew what was expected of her. Their routine was what happened naturally and not forced. As a result, there was also very little arguing.
The two weeks granny watched Grace was an eye opener for me. She showed me how going back to the 1970's or really just "back to basics" can be applied to parenting now. We don't need to intentionally plan play dates, find things to go to, read or do activities identified for an age group, make "Pinterest" worthy food or take "Instagrammable" pictures. We can just have fun with our little ones. What are some of the back-to-basic things you do with your kids?
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