How grandparents can say no to babysitting without feeling guilty

Your children are all grown, and you have begun to rediscover yourself and your spouse. You have resumed your old hobbies and even discovered new ones.  Your days are now filled with the things that you love, and you are enjoying the freedom that you once gave up to raise your children. Maybe, you have even re-entered the work force, and you are enjoying an exciting career.

However, your grown children now want to you to babysit their children.  So, how do you say “no” to babysitting your grandchildren without seeming like a selfish villain?

Use the following tips:

Be true to yourself

First all, you must be true to yourself.  You have done your duty to your own children.  You gave up your hobbies and your time to be there for them.  Now, it is your time to do all of the things that you couldn’t when you had young children. Don’t feel guilty because you have things that you want to do. Simply tell your adult child the truth-you are busy.

Be firm

If your child continues to insist upon you babysitting, take a deep breath, look your child in the eyes, and stand your ground. Be firm and don’t feel pressured into babysitting or doing anything else that you really don’t want to do. Explain to your children that you can’t take on any more responsibilities at this time.  Explain that “no” now doesn’t necessarily mean “no” forever.  There may be other times when you are able to help out with your grandchildren.

Establish boundaries

While your children lived at home, they had almost unlimited access to your time.  They are now grown and must learn to be responsible.  Their children are “their children”, and they are the ones responsible for them.  Begin to establish boundaries.  Don’t let your children drop by with and just drop off your grandchildren.

Gray areas

Nothing is ever just black and white.  There are shades of gray. If it is really an emergency and your adult child just can’t find anyone else, it is okay to compromise. You are allowed to change your mind.  Just be sure to let your child know that this is not something that you will do on a regular basis. 

Offer another solution

Don’t be afraid to offer your children other solutions to their babysitting problems.  Maybe you know someone else who would be a reliable sitter to your grandchildren or you know a great daycare center nearby.  You may even be willing to help out with daycare expenses if money is an issue. 

Saying “no” to babysitting your grandchildren can be hard. However, you have already raised your own children and deserve your hard earned freedom. Don’t be afraid to offer your adult children other solutions to their babysitting dilemma. Remember, there may be other times when you are able to help out.