What To Do When Your Kids Are Picking Up Bad Habits From Their Grandparents

Although your preschooler spends three hours a day in kindergarten, his main caregivers during the day are his grandparents.

Unfortunately, you’ve begun to realise he’s picking up bad habits from them, like watching TV all day instead of playing with his toys, and shouting out when he wants something instead of asking nicely.


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A new study by Rutgers and other researchers finds that today’s grandparents are still true to their traditional fun-loving image — allowing their grandchildren, while under their supervision, to spend about half of their time on a mobile phone, tablet, computer or TV.

The study, published in the Journal of Children and Media, suggests that grandparents should restrict media use by setting simple rules for screen time when babysitting. This is particularly needed when children bring a device from home and expect to watch even more.

“Grandparents play a very significant role in raising their grandchildren. We need to educate them about the impact of media on children’s lives and on proper use that will benefit the wellbeing of their grandchildren,” said study co-author Dafna Lemish, a distinguished professor of journalism and media studies and associate dean for programs at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s School of Communication and Information.

The study reviewed the experiences of grandparents of children ages two to seven who take care of their grandchildren at least once per week and found that during an average four-hour visit, the children spent two hours either watching videos or playing games on electronic devices.

You don’t want to offend Grandma and Grandpa, but you do want to wean your growing child off these awful habits. You need to tread carefully! Here are some suggestions to try when you feel your children are picking up less-than-ideal habits from their grandparents:

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Text: Young Parents / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok