Latest figures from charity Grandparents Plus reveal that one in five grandparents regularly give more than 10 hours a week of childcare to their grandchildren.
More women with children under five now work than those who stay at home, according to latest figures from the Resolution Foundation. But working with a young family requires military precision and organisation − and it all rises and falls on finding good, reliable and affordable childcare. It’s no wonder that grandparents are often the ones who best fit the bill.
Why your mum or dad is a grand childcare option:
•Your child can be looked after by a family member you know and trust, sometimes in your own home
•Spending regular time together, without your influence, allows them to forge a closer bond
•The price is right - some grandparents are prepared to offer their services for free or very little money
•It enables you to pull together as a family with a common goal - your child’s everyday health, wellbeing and fitness
Grandparents often have more time to chat than busy working parents might, says author and behaviour expert, Judi James. ‘Much of their conversation will be based on questions followed by undivided listening, meaning the child gets a chance to communicate about their life and their feelings in a way that might be difficult in a busier household.’
Not all grandparents find ‘play’ easy but picking a hobby that they both enjoy can be mutually rewarding. Activities like basic cookery or meal preparation can be fun and teach valuable life skills. Spending time gardening can keep both grandparent and child physically active and fit too.
‘Grandparents tend towards old-fashioned forms of play or social participation,’ Judi adds. Your children are likely to engage (perhaps over a game of cards or chess) in the kind of discussions that will prove useful later in life.
•Your parents and in laws may have old-fashioned or simply different ideas about parenting. Ask them to follow your rule on things like sweets, eating vegetables, developing social skills and discipline, so your child gets consistent messages about the things you value.
•A grandparent can get worn out by young children, make sure you don’t overstretch their generosity by asking for too much.
•They may be prone to ill health, so have a Plan B if they are unavailable occasionally
For more information, visit our Pregnancy and Childcare centre. Do you have a question about your child’s health or wellbeing? Ask our experts!
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