I am a retired 57-year-old woman who babysits my neighbor's 3-year-old daughter. I have kept her since she was 2 months old. Both of her parents work 4 days a week, 10 hours a day, with occasional overtime on regular days and sometimes for a 5th day. I have her from 5am until about 5:30 pm on a regular day.
Recently the child has gone from a babybed to a regular bed. She gets up several times a night, waking her parents. She has started to have bad tantrums at bedtime and at other times as well... like when she's told no or asked to do something. Like, falling in the floor flailing screaming, hitting, throwing tantrums.
This child does not have a very firm bedtime routine. Her bedtime varies between 8 and 9. She spends the night away from home a lot on weekends with various grandparents where there is no routine and probably where she rarely hears the word no. There have been occasions when the child has been away from home for 4 nights in a row (Thursday to Sunday night); more often it's 2 nights in a row (Friday to Saturday). There are at a minimum 4 different households where she alternates spending the night. Sometimes this happens on consecutive weekends.
This child and I spend more waking hours together than she does with any other person, parents included. I love her and her parents very much and only want what is best for them.
I believe that she needs to spend more time at home to establish a firm routine. I think these tantrums are a result of exhaustion as she only gets about 7-8 hours of sleep on a weeknight (less lately because of waking several times in the night, waking the parents and often having a fit before falling back to sleep).
She has a good routine here with me, including daily naps. I strongly believe in structure and routine.
Is it ok for me to give the parents advice, opinions, suggestions relating to these tantrums?