From Getty ImagesWhile Cooperative’s expertise is in St. Louis home care and aging parents, we understand not every aging parent needs home care.  Or, if they do, it may be a one-time episode as a result of a fall or hospitalization.  By the time they are discharged from Medicare home health care, they’ve regained their independence, they don’t need ongoing assistance or supervision and they resume all of their regular activities.  This is a wonderful and refreshing outcome for them-and us!

For many aging parents who are also grandparents, one regular activity they enjoy is watching their grandchildren.  While parents are working or simply enjoying some grown-up time, many grandparents help with childcare full or part-time.

My two young girls have both local and long-distance grandparents.  Their local grandparents watch them for one day or night at a time.  They see them regularly, so “Granny and Gramps” are both aware of the girls’ home routine and have established their own routine for them at their house, with which the girls are comfortable.  Meanwhile, “Grandma Sharon and Pa” live in Chicago and don’t have the same familiarity with the girls’ daily routine.  Thus I’ve created a guide that I update each time they are watching the girls.  As their childcare stints have been for a weekend up to a full week, this thorough guide quickly gets them current and helps them maintain the girls’ regular schedules.  This simple step makes for happy kids, grandparents and parents!  Here’s what we include:

  • Parents’ contact number and itinerary
  • Alternate emergency contact
  • Pediatrician name, number and after-hours “exchange” number
  • Any medications/instructions, allergies and other health information
  • Child’s bathroom routine, e.g., ‘please remind Sue to use the bathroom every two hours as she is toilet-training’, or, ‘Joe may say he has a tummy-ache when he has to go to the bathroom’.
  • Child’s mealtime routine, e.g., ‘Sue dislikes carrots but loves cucumbers and edamame’, or, ‘please include a peanut-free snack in Joe’s school lunch’.
  • Child’s bedtime routine, e.g., ‘here are the words to the song Joe likes at bedtime’.
  • Child’s morning routine, especially if they attend school, e.g., ‘wake Sue at 7 a.m.; cue her to use the bathroom before dressing; teeth brushed after breakfast and out the door by 7:45 a.m. to arrive at school by 8 a.m.; her teacher knows grandparents are dropping off/picking up this week’.
  • Child’s extracurricular activities information including schedules, instructions, directions and supplies needed.
  • Miscellaneous information including ideas for activities and outings.

What did you like?  What did I miss?  Let me know!  And thanks Pa, for the idea!


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