Redditor Asks if It's Common for Grandparents to Expect Payment for Watching Their Grandkids

One Redditor has sticker shock after Grandma raised her babysitting rates. Reddit's two cents: Pay up.

In not-so-breaking news, child care is expensive. The average cost for the care of one child is between $9,200 to $9,600 per year. That's about 10% of household income for a married couple and 34% for a single caregiver.

One parent of an 18-month-old gets some of these costs offset by Grandma, who watches the child for free once per week. But recently, the parent wanted to go to a wedding, and Grandma raised her rates. The person took to Reddit to ask if that's normal.

"My mom asked for [$75] to watch my daughter for the evening while my husband and I went to a wedding," started u/PeppermintOil in the Parenting subreddit. "She stayed the night and offered to take care of any night wakings (my baby sleeps through the night)."

The Redditor couldn't help but be taken aback.

An image of a grandfather and granddaughter playing with blocks.
Getty Images.

"Maybe I should just be grateful I have anyone to watch my daughter at all," the original poster (OP) continued. "I was just surprised that she would charge us something other than taking her out to dinner…My baby is a very cute and easy 18-month-old."

OP wanted to know: "Is this common?" More than 300 Redditors have chimed in over the last 24 hours, and the comments highlight how sticky the situation can be, though the top comment relied more on snark than substance.

"'Very cute,' haha," wrote the Redditor in reference to OP's last line. "If she was an ugly baby, then Grandma's charges are totally reasonable."

Others were more constructive with their takes.

"Many grandparents will babysit for free; however, it is not a right but a privilege to have that sort of support. It seems like she is already giving you some of her time for free but feels like overnight is something she is less comfortable doing for free," said one.

Other Redditors don't get free babysitting services, either, so they empathize with the OP. But ultimately, they understand the grandparents' side.

"My mother won't watch my 6-year-old for free. Never has, never will. Do I wish I had a more supportive mother? Sure. I always have. Do I recognize it's not my mother's responsibility to watch my kid? Totally," one person replied.

"My Mom told me when I had children, 'You chose to have them. It is not my responsibility to look after them,' which she was absolutely right about. I never assumed that because she was a grandparent that she should watch them. Did she ever watch them? Only in an emergency. Did she ever have them overnight? No. Do my kids think they have the best Grandma ever? Yes," said another.

While experts say grandparents will often reject a payment, it's not an outlandish expectation. A grandparent is sacrificing time and energy to help. If they do turn down cash, experts recommend offering to compensate them another way, such as cooking dinner or getting their car washed.

Either way, make sure grandparents know they are appreciated.

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