A new report by the charity Ready Generations, the University of Sterling and not-for-profit care village operator Belong, on the role of grandparents in children’s lives and how this has changed during the pandemic has been published. The report is designed to act as an ‘authentic voice’ of grandparents on the modern grandparenting roles especially in regards to Time spent with grandchildren, providing childcare and the impact of the dyad relationship with grandchildren
In the report, ‘Care to the Nest’, grandparents stated that:
- 98 per cent spent considerably less time with their grandchildren over the course of the pandemic despite childcare bubbles.
- 98 per cent had grandchildren to stay for regular sleepovers before the pandemic. This has dropped to 25 per cent.
- 12 per cent had not seen their grandchildren at all during the pandemic.
- 72 per cent felt that their enjoyment of time spent with their grandchildren was of great importance to them but connecting virtually was not as rewarding because the physical closeness was missing.
- The invaluable role of grandparents in providing childcare was also highlighted by the research. More than a third of those surveyed provided at least one form of childcare on a regular basis pre-pandemic. This has reduced considerably as the pandemic has progressed, despite the Government’s allowance for childcare bubbles.
The majority of grandparents identified with a range of support responsibilities. Nearly three quarters identified strongly with companionship accountabilities (including being a friend, story-teller and entertainer). Grandparents most identified with being a listener.
Well over half saw themselves as providing instructional support (defined as being a mentor, disciplinarian and emotional nurturer), with 75 per cent reporting taking on the roles of problem solver and ‘wise elder’. More than half said that they gave practical support, such as financial assistance, transport and health advice.
Pre-covid, spending time outdoors was ranked amongst activities grandparents most enjoyed sharing with their grandchildren, closely followed by teaching life skills, such as baking.
The Report concludes that further research is needed to better support greater intergenerational connection, co-operation and understanding, to explore further the potential value of older generations connecting. This will help to better understand and raise the profile of their commitment to supporting family, providing quality childcare, supporting children’s wellbeing ultimately strengthening local community assets. Brought together, such a combination is both powerful and influential with the potential to bring
significant additionality to the UK support provision for mental and physical health as well as wealth creation and economic prosperity.
To read the full report please see website link