Review your concerns
Before lodging a complaint, think about possible explanations for the way they look after your child.
Perhaps they’re getting on in age and simply don’t have the physical energy and mobility to keep an active child busy every minute he’s with them.
Consider their age
They may have forgotten how to play with young children, so they can’t provide the sort of activities and stimulation he needs.
If one or both of them have visual or hearing difficulty, this may restrict what they can do with your child during the day, too.
Speak up gently
And if they don’t realise you disapprove of the way they speak in front of Junior, they’ll think you’re happy with their standard of childcare.
Weigh up the alternatives
Of course, one option for you is to take this responsibility away from them and hand it over to a paid carer. If you can afford it and do choose this course of action, you’ll need to use tact and diplomacy in order to protect their feelings.
Bear in mind that Hubby may be upset by your proposal, especially if the difficulty lies with his parents. Discuss your concerns with your husband in depth, weighing the pros and cons very carefully until you’re both in agreement about what to do next.
Come up with new ideas together
Once you’re of like minds, explain to the grandparents that you’ll be making other childcare arrangements. Do this in a way that avoids criticism or disapproval (for example, explain that this will make life easier for them).
The other option is to stick with the current arrangement, but suggest changes to improve Junior’s experiences when he’s with them.
Give them suggested activities
Your child likes variety, with a wide range of games, toys and play activities each day. Draw up a list that his grandparents can work through during the typical day. They’ll probably welcome your suggestions, as this gives them a plan of action to follow.
Arrange play dates
It’s also worth reminding the grandparents that your child likes to spend some time in the company of others his own age.
Ask them to take him to see his friends sometimes or to arrange for them to visit during the day.
This provides social stimulation and allows him to develop his social skills.
Give them your wish list
Instead of complaining about the bad habits he learns from them, tell the grandparents how you’d like him to behave – for example, to ask nicely for things, to share his sweets, and to say “please” and “thank you”.
Ask them to encourage these positive habits whenever they can.
You may be surprised to find that the grandparents do change their ways following your discussions with them. That would be great for everyone.
But if you do find that their pattern of caregiving remains the same despite your suggestions, you may decide that’s the point when you need to choose different carers.
(Text: Young Parents / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok)