Guest Author - Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Whether you care for your grandchildren just once in a while or on a regular basis, there are some nuts and bolts information you should be aware of regarding your grandkids' health. Most of theses are just in case things but should an emergency occur, you don't want to waste time scrambling to track down your grandkids parents.
1. Name, phone number and address of their pediatrician and dentist
2. List of allergies and medications including dosages and when to give
3. Insurance information: a copy of the card, front and back, can be useful
4. Parents contact information (travel plans, cell phones, email)
5. A letter giving you permission to seek emergency medical care
6. If you are helping with after-school care you need to know a few more details beyond the basics. Kids do well with consistency so try to stick to the same schedule the kids have when you are not there. To do that, here's the information to learn about from their parents:
*School location and teacher names
*Typical homework schedule
*Timing of dinner and bedtime
*Special routines to be aware of
*Daily medications, including vitamins: be sure you know the names, doses and timing
*What to do for fever and other illnesses: kids do get sick. Knowing how their parents treat common kid illnesses will help you should you face one while caring for your grandkids. Keep in mind, you can always call your grandchild's pediatrician for advice.
*Discipline: Talk to your grandkids and come up with a contract of items they have to listen to you about. Having their parents explain to them that for dangerous and destructive behaviors and safety issues, you have the final say will help you when you have to be firm and set some limits. Find you from your kids what they do for punishments and be consistent. Working as a team with your grandkids' parents will help make the sticky moments easier to negotiate.
Being a grandparent you already have a very special bond with your grandkids. And, knowing a bit more information about your grandchildren's lives will make your time with them even more meaningful for all of you!