Granny as Nanny

Talk Money

Put your parents on the payroll? It sounds like child-star territory, but maybe it's not such an outlandish idea. Most grandparents, Dr. Newman says, would probably reject payment, but some parents find that token remuneration helps them feel better about asking their folks to sit. Kristi Schmidt, a mom of two boys in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, relies on her dad as a full-time sitter -- and gives him $250 every two weeks. She admits that's a bargain compared with what she'd fork over for full-time day care, but she also knows that providing her dad with some extra cash makes his life a little easier

Although your parents might not accept money, you should still acknowledge the work they're doing and the sacrifices they may be making, McCready says. Consider other ways to compensate them for their generosity, such as sending them on a trip or hiring someone to clean their house.

"My parents refuse to be paid," Donley says. "But my husband will cook dinner for everyone, and I try to get my mom's car washed and fill the tank." The Donleys also tackle home-maintenance chores for the grandparents. At the very least, be sure you supply everything your munchkin needs (from diapers to a crib), particularly if your parents will be caring for your child in their home.

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