How To Deal With Grandparent Babysitting Burnout
If you find yourself dreading babysitting your grandchildren, you may be experiencing grandparent burnout.
Ever since our daughter had twins, my wife Joan and I have been eager to help out with babysitting. We love our grandbabies, Emily and Jacob, and cherished the time we got to spend with them while helping our daughter and son-in-law. At first, watching the twins twice a week felt fun and manageable.
But lately, my wife and I have been dragging and realize we’re burned out. Chasing after two toddlers is exhausting. We thought retirement would be relaxing, but babysitting has filled our calendar. Don’t get me wrong – we adore our grand kids. We just don’t have the energy we used to.
My wife and I talked about it and realized we needed to make some changes before we hit empty. I told our daughter we needed to scale back our babysitting schedule. I could tell she was disappointed, but I explained that we need to take care of our health so that we can enjoy being grandparents.
My wife and I are going to start saying no more often, taking time for ourselves while the twins are napping, and being honest when we need a break. We love our family, but we can’t pour from an empty cup. Finding balance will make us happier and healthier grandparents.
I know other grandparents struggle with burnout too. I decided to write this blog to share some healthy ways Joan and I are setting boundaries and making self-care a priority while still being involved and loving grandparents.
7 Ways To Overcome Grandparent Babysitting Burnout
Over the years I’ve learned ways to recharge my batteries and avoid burnout while still having fun with the grandkids.
1. take frequent breaks
The first thing I make sure to do is take frequent breaks. I’ll suggest activities like reading books, doing puzzles, or playing board games that allow me to sit and relax while still interacting.
Every couple of hours I’ll also send the kids outside to run around or take them to the park so I can put my feet up.
Taking even 10-15 minutes to drink a cup of tea or do some deep breathing exercises helps me re-center when things get hectic.
2. Staying well hydrated and eating small
Staying well hydrated and eating small, healthy snacks is another habit that gives me the energy to keep up with the kids.
I always have water bottles on hand and fruits and veggies readily available for quick nibbles. A bag of trail mix or nuts is easy to grab and keeps me going when we’re on the move. Making sure I’m properly fueled and hydrated prevents me from feeling drained.
3. Napping when the kids nap
Napping when the kids nap is also key. I may not always fall fully asleep but even just laying down and closing my eyes for 30 minutes helps me recharge.
The kids understand that Grandpa needs some “quiet time” so I can get a quick cat nap in when they settle down after lunch.
It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready for more fun in the afternoon.
4. Getting outdoors
Getting outdoors is invigorating for both me and the grandkids. When the weather is nice I’ll take them to the park or set up games like cornhole, frisbee, or jump rope in the backyard.
The fresh air and vitamin D give me an energy boost. Plus keeping the kids active outdoors eventually wears them out!
5. stay patient and go with the flow
Attempting to stay patient and go with the flow when things don’t go as planned is important too. Toddlers can be unpredictable so I have to be flexible.
Taking deep breaths and reminding myself that what seems stressful to an adult is just normal kid play helps me keep an even keel when emotions run high. Staying calm benefits me and the children.
6. Laughing a lot and finding joy in the simple things
Laughing a lot and finding joy in the simple things is probably the most powerful burnout buster of all. My grandkids light up my life in a way nothing else can.
Focusing on their laughter, tiny hugs, and love helps any tiredness fade away. Being present and appreciating these special moments keeps me going all day long.
As a grandfather, there’s nothing that brings me more happiness than time with my darling grandkids. Using these self-care techniques allows me to cherish our time together without wearing myself out.
The bonds we share as grandparent and grandchild are so precious to me and well worth the extra effort. My advice to fellow grandparents: take care of yourself so you can wholeheartedly enjoy your grandkids and create lifelong memories.
7 Causes of Babysitting Burnout for Grandparents
As much as I cherish spending time with my adorable grandkids, a full day of babysitting can definitely leave this Grandpa feeling drained! After many years of caring for my rambunctious grandbabies, I’ve come to learn what typically causes me to feel burned out.
1. constant movement and noise
The number one culprit is the constant movement and noise – little ones just seem to be in perpetual motion and always on full volume.
Keeping up with my granddaughter’s non-stop jumping from one game to another or my grandson’s shouting as he zooms his toy cars around the room eventually wears me down, both mentally and physically. The constant stimulation can exhaust any grandparent.
2. having to repeat myself over and over
Another common cause is having to repeat myself over and over. Young kids have short attention spans, so I often have to remind my grandkids numerous times to do simple tasks like picking up their toys or eating their lunch.
Nagging saps my energy and patience reserves faster than I can imagine! I have to take deep breaths and remember they aren’t being defiant.
3. Lack of rest amidst the action
Lack of rest amidst the action also contributes to burnout. Whether it’s resisting naps or waking at the crack of dawn, little ones often derail grandparents’ sleep schedules.
Skipping my morning coffee or getting woken up too early leaves me groggy and makes it much harder to keep up with busy kiddos. This grandpa needs his rest!
Additionally, I only have so much energy and mobility at my age. Chasing after quick-footed preschoolers or hoisting babies in and out of cribs takes a toll on these creaky knees and stiff backs.
I have to stop frequently to catch my breath or massage a sore shoulder. My physical limitations definitely drain me.
4. Trying to get kids to eat
Trying to get kids to eat can also test my patience. Whether it’s picky eaters refusing anything green or my grandson’s tendency to wear his food like a modern art masterpiece, mealtimes can be frustrating and exhausting.
After wiping spaghetti off the walls for the hundredth time, this grandpa is pooped!
5. Keeping little ones safe and out of mischief
Keeping little ones safe and out of mischief requires constant vigilance. I can’t take my eyes off them for a second or they’ll be jumping off couches or drawing on walls.
Staying in this heightened state of alertness for hours is mentally tiring. No wonder grandparents collapse at nap time!
6. nonstop questions, negotiations, and crying
And finally, the nonstop questions, negotiations, and crying can simply be sensory overload. Little kid drama over not getting a cookie or having to leave the park grates on my nerves. The emotional swings leave me feeling wrung out by day’s end.
In the end, any exhaustion is a small price to pay for time with the world’s most precious grandbabies. But understanding common burnout causes helps this grandpa be prepared, ask for help when needed, and stay energized to enjoy each new day with my darling grandkids. The snuggles and smiles keep me coming back for more!