Thursday 10 September 2015

How To Be a Good Granny Nanny

Bear can't speak yet so I'm not sure what he'll call me but I refer to myself as Nanny. When I look after Bear whilst his parents work am I a Nanny Nanny? Nanny carer? Nanny grandson minder? 
I'm not sure, so I'm calling myself a Granny Nanny.

When I first started to look after Bear I searched the internet for tips. I didn't find any, only forums where mums were asking for advice about problems with their child's grandmother, mother in laws mostly.

I'm very lucky, I get on great with my daughter in law but it made me think what makes a good Granny Nanny? I wanted to look after Bear and I chose to do it but am I a good Granny Nanny

Do you look after your grandchild whilst their parents work? Is it your son's child and you are the Granny in law? How do you make it work? Here are 10 tips for Grannies on how to be a good Granny Nanny.

1. It's Not Your Baby

You know this. Every time you have the urge to comment, to give unasked for advice or to criticise their parenting just repeat this to yourself until the urge goes away.

2. Obey The Rules

Whatever the rules are, obey them. "No chocolate" doesn't mean "a little bit won't hurt, they won't know". Yes it will, the rule is there for a reason. You don't like the rules? Then repeat number 1.

3. Be Honest

So you gave chocolate against the rules, well you're still a granny and "mistakes" happen. Be honest and apologise. Just don't do it too often. Baby has a bump or a fall, be honest. Tell them. Trust is a very important part of this, remember that they've let you look after the most precious thing in their life. 

4. It's Not a Competition

Praising the little one's achievements is wonderful. I do it all the time. Bear did this today, he said that, he slept for an hour, he ate his lunch
Do not try to be better than his mummy. He always eats the food I cook, he always sleeps for an hour when I put him down. Get my drift? 

5. Things Have Changed

You did it differently with your children? What was good advice 20+ or 30+ years ago may not be good advice now. Get up to date, read what babies should be eating, what to avoid, what they should be doing, what games to play

Baby care has changed. The advice has changed.  
Babies used to be given cows milk at 6 months, they're not now. 
Babies were put on their tummies to sleep, it stopped them from choking on any sick and dying, or so we thought. They don't do that now. Babies should sleep on their backs. 

It's different now.

6.  Talk To Each Other

Find some time to talk even if it is just a few minutes when they collect their little one. Talk about the things you've done, mention any problems. Ask for advice. Maybe you can solve the problems together.

7. Ask Permission Before You Change The Routine

You don't like the times they are due to be fed? Or the times they are due for a nap? Ask before you change anything. It's probably taken months to fine tune the routine so it works, don't mess with it unless you really have to. 

8. Make Your Home Safe

Chasing after an active baby can be exhausting so try to make your home child friendly and as safe as possible. Move precious ornaments/photos out of their reach. Fit a gate to the living room door or to the stairs. Have a playpen or a safe place to put them for a few minutes when you need to have your hands free. 

9. Have fun

I only have Bear for 3 days so I get 4 days to do what I want to do. It must be much harder if you have them for the whole week but remember to do things you like too. I like walking. Grandad likes walking. We both love gardens too and so walks around parks or gardens are fun for us as well as Bear.

10. Why Are You Doing It?

You have no choice and you let them know at every possible opportunity? If you're not doing it because you want to then either keep it to yourself or don't do it. It really is as simple as that.

Am I practically perfect in every way? No I'm just trying to do the best I can, but I'm not Mary Poppins!

Woman and baby sat on sofa in sunlight both laughing
Nanny and Bear sharing a joke

Does your mother or mother in law look after your precious one? What does she do that you love? What advice would you give to me and other Granny Nannies?


  1. Good Job Granny Nanny, keep doing what you are doing.

  2. Thankyou! It's hard work but I love it!

  3. Granny Nanny! Love it! This is such a good post. A lot of my friends rely on grandparents for childcare while they work and although it is wonderful to see grandparents and grandchildren having such a close relationship, I know there are often 'issues' on both sides, as you have said with routine, treats becoming regular, or unnecessary advice, or grandparents feeling like they are taken for granted and the parents unwilling to take on board anything they say. I think communication is the key on all sides really. I love your rules though and it is great you have thought so much about how you see your role. x

    1. Thankyou for the encouragement, I'm very new at this! I must admit it's easier for me because I have a wonderful daughter in law and we talk. We go out for coffee together, we went to baby club together! I also have a very sensible husband who for the first few weeks after Bear was born said to me "its not your baby" more times than I care to mention Lol.


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