Saturday, March 6, 2010

“Where’s My List?”

At work, I have checklists for everything! At home, however, I didn’t realize the value of having a checklist (or list) until I had grandchildren to take care of. When my grandchildren were younger, my daughter-in-law would obligingly write me a list every time I watched them. With a grandson who has cystic fibrosis, forgetting to do something isn't an option, but I wanted a list for my granddaughter too.

My list included:
medications for my grandson, but also any medications my granddaughter was taking, including how much and when to take them
food choices (for my grandson) but also if there was anything special my granddaughter liked (Kraft has some great food ideas for kids), how much formula to give and when, etc.
• what time are bedtimes and naptimes
...and anything else that I needed to know.
Sometimes my list was four pages long, other times it was one. The more information the better, in my opinion.

I would refer to my lists frequently, to make sure I was doing everything I needed to. Taking care of your grandchildren isn’t just about having fun with them (and knowing how to make them laugh), you are also “responsible for them,” and you need to know what you are doing. Having a list just makes it easier for you to concentrate on having fun and not worry about forgetting something.

The list isn’t just for you; it also helps your children feel comfortable knowing that you are referring to it and no one has to rely on their memory, which is a good thing, especially as we get older! Also, we may sometimes forget as grandparents, that parents are trying to keep their children “on a schedule,” so you should try to keep to the "usual routine" as much as possible. Now, you just have to remember to keep those glasses handy so you can read the list!! My daughter-in-law used to write in big black marker on top of the formula can, how much formula and water to use. It certainly worked for me!

Some things you can ask:
• do they need a soother (and where is it), bottle or sippy cup?
• what about potty training and naptime?
• do they sleep with a blankie or special toy?
These things change and most of us are not with our grandchildren 24/7, and sometimes the parents forget to tell us.


  1. Great post! Never underestimate the power of a good list! Nice to know that Grannies appreciate being told what to do every now and then ;)

  2. I certainly know the value of lists and communicating with the caregiver, whether it be a babysitter or grandmother. When my daughter was young I used to babysit some children. One little boy was from Vietnam and couldn't speak a word of English. His Mother, in broken English, said it was very important when little Neang said "dung" to take him to the bathroom. Funny, some words just make sense no matter what language they are in.