Friday, 20 September 2013

Grandparents Providing Child Care

Grandparents Providing Child Care

Grandparents providing childcare for their grandchildren is an increasing phenomenon in the industrial world, whereas in the developing world grandparents, primarily grandmothers have always been the back bone of the family childcare system.  

In the industrial world there was a swing in the 80’s and 90’s to using formal daycare for  childcare when mothers returned to the workforce.  Since 2008 there has been an move back to the use of grandparents.

Wells, (2012) reported that between 2008 and 2012 the number of children who received daycare services from grandparents increased by 19% - going from 26% to 45% in Australia with USA, Canada and the United Kingdom reporting similar trends.

Statham, (2011) found that grandparents fall into four categories of childcare providers.

Avid -caregivers whose lives revolved around their grandchildren

Flexible - caregivers who were concerned with family but also gave some priority to their personal time

Selective - caregivers whose grandchildren are an important part of their lives but who did not want to be defined simply as grandparents

Hesitant - caregivers who did not anticipate caring for their grandchildren” (Statham, 2011)

Paul provides care for Emily and Ruth on an average of 8 hours a week.  This is an activity that he find emotionally very rewarding and as reported in the research at times physically draining.  
Paul is a flexible caregiver.  He is able to say no to care-giving when there other priorities that need his attention, he balances his role as grandparent, with that of father, husband and community member.

No one style of care-giving is better or worse.  It is important however that grandparents think about what their style of care-giving is and that they communicate what they are prepared to offer honestly.  That they set good boundaries for themselves and their children.

As a couple grandparents needs to talk about the potential differences in their styles and expectations of care-giving.  Looking after grandchildren should not become a marital stress or a point of resentment within an extended family system.  

Like everything else in life being a respected and respectful grandparent requires good communication and self awareness.

Grandma Snyder

© 2013-2014 twosnydergirls


Statham, J. (2011). Grandparents providing child care Briefing Paper. UK: Childhood wellbeing research.

Wells, R. (2012, May 17). Grandparents bear greater share of childcare duties. The Sydney Morning Herald National,
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