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Grandparent -childcare

It has been said that being a Grandparent is great because you can hand the children back at the end of the day, meaning that you can enjoy the fun things about childcare without the constant, ongoing day to day stuff that gives parents bags under the eyes!

We see lots of Grandparents bringing their Grandchildren to Bressingham for a great day out so we thought why not look into the joys and the hardships of Grandparent childcare in Britain today!

Grandparent childcare: the statistics

The baby boomer generation comes into it’s fair share of criticism from young whipper-snappers but they’ve been proven to pull their weight in the child care department!

Government statistics show that a quarter of working families enlist the help of Grandparents for childcare, with the figure rises to one third of working mothers.

Recent research done by a YouGov Poll in Grandparent childcare revealed that:

  • one in 10 (12%) looking after their grandchildren at least once a day
  • a fifth (18%) look after them 4-6 times a week
  • two-fifths (38%) look after them 2-3 times a week

A large part of this high number of gran-parent baby sitters is the escalating cost of living (requiring both parents to be out working) and the increasing cost of nurseries (between £100 and £200 per week for a full time placement).

On top of this the grandparents themselves, due to increases in retirement age and greater longevity, are often still working themselves!

Is Grandparent Childcare good or bad?

Looking after Children has its up and it’s downs - the same as above YouGov Poll demonstrated that most of the Grandparents it spoke to who were providing regular childcare derived great benefits from spending time with their grandchildren (and, presumably getting rid of them at the end of the day!)

  • half (50%) said it kept them physically and mentally active
  • 14% admitted it stopped them from feeling lonely
  • almost two-fifths (38%) admitted it gave them a sense of purpose

At the same time there are horror stories where Grandparents have been taken for granted and even taken advantage of!

One article on Family support service Family Lives had this story of a Grandparent being stretched to the limit:

“Grandparents are being expected to care for long or erratic hours and to pay and provide food, nappies and treats.

I know of a grandparent on a very limited budget who is now caring for two small grandchildren by two different children. She has had to childproof her home, buy a larger car, car seats and a double buggy. She is really struggling physically - due to a recent operation - and financially.”

Help and resources for Grandparent child carers

Family Lives offers advice to families to help them avoid getting to crisis point - they provide warnings and guidance on what can be done if and when childcare become and expectation.

They suggest in situations like the one above that a Family Childcare Agreement can be drawn up so everyone knows where they stand.

In addition Grandparents in need of support and advice could contact Grandparents Plus who only national charity in England & Wales exclusively supporting “kinship carers” (relatives raising children not living with their parents).

Finally the UK Government actually recognises the beneficial effect Grandparent childcare has on the UK economy in the form of a scheme that allows Grand parents to boost their future State Pension based on the hours they put in caring for grandchildren.

Well worth discussing with your children if you are a Grandparent providing childcare - because your Grandchildren’s welfare depends on yours!

Is there anything we should’ve mentioned?

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By Alastair Baker at 3 Mar 2020, 00:00 AM