Grandparents main childcare providers

ABS reported 30 per cent of children cared for by grandparents.

Grandparents main childcare providers

Data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that 30 per cent of children with two working parents received informal care by a grandparent. This percentage is similar for single-parent families where the parent is employed.

Patrick Corr of the ABS says, “In families where the youngest child usually attended some form of child care, 76 per cent of female parents and 94 per cent of male parents worked.

“This is compared with 45 per cent and 88 per cent respectively in families where the youngest child did not attend care.”

Even though more female parents than male parents use alternative work arrangements – such as flexible work, part-time work and working from home – to care for children, just under 50 per cent of all children aged 0–12 years (1.8 million) still needed to attend some form child care, with one-third attending informal care and one-quarter formal care.

Informal care includes care by family members and relatives, as well as people such as friends, neighbours, nannies or baby sitters. Whereas, formal care is defined as before and after school care, long day care, family day care and occasional care.

Read more at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  

Opinion: It takes a village

I strongly agree with the old adage that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. And that village certainly includes grandparents, for the reward for both parties – grandparent and grandchild – is priceless. However, this must not come at the expense or wishes of the grandparent. That is, we should not assume or expect a grandparent to provide care for a child. Nor should the grandparent be coerced or feel obliged to do so – or made to feel guilty if they don’t – as resentment can build and destroy family relationships.

Instead, care – if any – provided by a grandparent should be based on mutual agreement and honesty. If a grandparent is happy to provide care, it’s only fair that you regularly give something of significance in return, such taking your parent (or parent-in-law) out for the day for a nice lunch and movie on you, or giving vouchers or tickets to something that they’d enjoy. It definitely shouldn’t be the case that because they’re a grandparent they should want to do it, and do it for free. It’s courteous and relationship building to show you value a loved one’s time.

Of course, parents have multiple types of care options from which to choose, including the government’s newly proposed Nanny Pilot Program, so why not use a mix of care? The more caring adults available to nurture a child during their childhood, the more likely the child will turn out to be a mature, well-balanced, confident and independent adult.

What are your thoughts? Are you a grandparent who willingly provides care? Or do you think you’ve ‘done your time’ and parents should pay for care if they want to work?





    COMMENTS

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    Waiting to retire at 70
    29th Apr 2015
    10:52am
    What?

    Baby boomers contributing to society today?

    I was of the opinion, base on the output from journalist and commentators, particularly the Institute of Public Affairs, that we were a bunch of 'leaners' who should be forced out of our homes to reduce the call we MIGHT have on the public purse for partial support once we retire - in my case, 51 years working, including 2 years conscription. All for the good of Gen X's and millenials. And the silly thing is, I'd do it again! Go figure!
    Kato
    29th Apr 2015
    7:51pm
    WTRetire yes that has had me flumoxed re the babyboomers . All the members of the lions club I belong to are baby boomers. And I cannot see the younger brigade stepping up any time soon. There are a lot who seem to think volunteer services are a given right. When people our age have to pull up stumps it could be the loss of a few volunteer organisations.
    worker
    29th Apr 2015
    10:57am
    As a grandparent I another and my wife fully maintain keep how grandchild how is now 13 years old and her (father how son now is 42 years old ).Grandchild mother gives nil to her child.
    my wife and I are 64 years old and I have had to retire from work because of Healh reasons and live from how savings as we do not get any government help.
    BeezNeez
    29th Apr 2015
    10:59am
    Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away....it took a village to raise a child! At some point though, more and more the sole care of one's children fell to the shoulders of parents alone....all sorts of things impacted that, wars, depression, increased mobility and so on, but it changed things forever. I know my mum raised us without much family support, my grandmother's both pretty much did it alone....but none of them worked outside the home (not that they didn't need support - the did-they just didn't get it). And so, when my time came, I too went it alone. In fact, my mum atually told me that if I was planning to go back to work after children came along, then don't expect her to mind them! Well that was a long time ago, but harsh words stick - not that she could have helped much anyway as we lived 1 1/2 hours away by the time bub no. 1 arrived-we had well and truly moved away in search of independent lives. And actually my mum did give me some 'babysitting' once in a blue moon when my childcarer was sick or on holidays, but as I only worked 2-3 days a week at that time, it was a small ask and rare. Do I think parents should have to mind their grandchildren so their kids can work...no, actually, I don't. But do I think that grandparents can be a huge, positive and loving influence on their grandchildren, yes, I do. So why not do it while babysitting? I think that a shared arrangement of some childcare and some grandparents is great, particularly if it's a single parent or two parents working full time...it means that the parents of the littlies still need to be accountable financially and cannot be complacent about the support they get from family but it also means that the little ones get the love of family with them during the week. And if grandparents can't help during the week - why not half a day on the weekend or something that gives the parents a break, even if it's not every weekend....acknowledging that just because you are retired doesn't mean you don't have committments too. But it breaks my heart when I hear grandparents saying that they have priorities, like bowling etc. but can't find an afternoon to spend at the park etc. or playing hide and seek or boardgames with their grandkids once in a while. Something the parents don't have to ask for, something they give because they want a relationship with their grandchildren, not because it's expected. Whatever my children do when (if-fingers crossed), they have kids, I hope that I can be for them and my grandchildren in some way....not every day, but what a joy and a gift - not just to them, but to me, to be able to have those people in my life. :-)

    29th Apr 2015
    11:05am
    What choice do grandparents have when faced with the choice of their grand children going into foster care.
    I know of a couple who have aged overnight looking after 3 children when their drug crazed mother could not do so.
    Their retirement years will never be realised...very, very sad, for all concerned.
    Dobbie
    29th Apr 2015
    11:34am
    I don't speak for all grandparents, only for me. I longed for the day when I could have my grandson overnight. It didn't come until the day his little sister was born. Now they have two and realize the value of granny in easing their load. He spends a day and night with me at least fortnightly. I also care for my other little grand daughter day and night for blocks of four days while her parents work shifts and travel out of the country (travel industry). She's not 2 yet, but we have the best of bonds. Yes, I get very tired as there is no grandpa to keep an eye out when I need a rest or bathroom break. The parents repay me in kindnesses all the time and I know that this bonding time while the children are all little is precious in growing the special relationship we will have in the future. Being a grandparent isn't a right, it's a privilege (to me, anyway).
    KSS
    29th Apr 2015
    1:57pm
    Enjoy!
    Patriot
    29th Apr 2015
    2:22pm
    Dobbie
    In many ways - You're very lucky!
    buby
    10th May 2015
    2:37pm
    Yes Dobbie enjoy not all grandparents are so lucky. I for one have not enjoyed my grandchildren, they were not taught to show me respect as they grew older, so i withdrew. I'm not here to be obused.
    Even tho when they were children, there is nothing grandma would or for them or take them anywhere. NOW i'm not even a thought in the wind. NOt worthy it seems tho i was then when ever i could be.
    Enjoy while you can. cheers

    29th Apr 2015
    11:43am
    My wife gets quite put out if she can"t mind some of our grandchildren and if you can help why not especially if the parents are reasonable and the grandchildren are good kids.
    Tezza
    29th Apr 2015
    12:17pm
    My wife and I relish looking after our grandsons and grandaughters. Only conditions are that I phones, I Pads and all electronic toys are left at home. Wife teaches them how to hold a pencil correctly, how to set out a letter (for the older ones), how to make lamingtons, how to polish shoes etc. I show them how to climb trees and ladders, how to use tools, build forts and billy carts (their teacher did not know what a billy cart was), dig holes that they can hide in, erect swings in trees using old tyres, cooking sausages on a fire using an old piece of corrugated iron as a hot plate. By day's end, kids and grandparents are buggered but we have all had fun making things and entertaining ourselves as well as learning things along the way. 14th month old grandson now knows that Pa's 15 year Nokia mobile does not have to have its screen swiped.
    Rob
    29th Apr 2015
    12:23pm
    Tezza - fantastic post. The only thing I would hope is that there is genuine appreciation from the parents.
    Micha
    29th Apr 2015
    1:19pm
    Tezza, that is great. Your grandchildren are learning that there are other things in this world than what electronic devices can provide. I bet they love their time with you and your wife!
    Patriot
    29th Apr 2015
    2:24pm
    Tezza

    Instead if "Plastic" these kids get "Real" skills that will be of benefit for them for the rest of their lives.
    You're doing a great job it sounds like.
    Many should be jealous!
    Mum again
    29th Apr 2015
    12:32pm
    Some parents these days seem to think the world owes them a favour. I have spent my money & my retiremnet fund on legal fees to get my grandchildren away from there mother. Drugs involved with both parents. Although FACS had 3 folders of complaints & reports, I had to fight to get them. During the 2 year process, things got worse with Mum & FACS (DOCS) took her other child off her & he is being raised by another family member.(he is not related to me) I have had my grand children in my care for 2 yrs now. Recently given sole custody till thay are 18. I run my own business from home working 60hrs sometimes. I am single, have great family support especially my Mum who is over 80. My point is that this is happening far too often, what is the next generation going to be like? It worries me. It was my choice to raise my grandchildren, Im lucky I was in the position to do so. We need more government support. My heart goes out to those that have the same situation, but are not in a position to fight for their grandkids & see them go into foster care
    disillusioned
    29th Apr 2015
    12:40pm
    Why can't loving grandparents who have been looking after their grandchildren be 'funded' for the new 'Nanny' scheme suggested by the Federal Government? They do an incredible job supporting these children. Isn't that better than unknown virtually unqualified people looking after children in homes where there is no oversight as to what they are doing with kids. At least in child care centres everything is out in the open.
    Patriot
    29th Apr 2015
    2:26pm
    That's bureaucrats !
    KSS
    29th Apr 2015
    1:04pm
    "Why can't loving grandparents who have been looking after their grandchildren be 'funded' for the new 'Nanny' scheme suggested by the Federal Government?"

    10 posts that's all it took for someone to suggest another 'handout'!
    Micha
    29th Apr 2015
    1:16pm
    The governments make it so difficult for single parents - the federal government says that a single parent must go out to work, so that they are unable to be at home for their children whether they want to or not. the state government says that if you leave your children at home by themselves to go to work you are neglecting your children. Often grandparents these days are still working themselves. How is this dichotomy to be addressed?
    Many grandparents are full time carers for their grandchildren due to whatever circumstances and I applaud these people for their courage and self sacrifice - they do what needs to be done because of love and caring.
    Dobbie
    29th Apr 2015
    1:40pm
    Thank you Micha
    KSS
    29th Apr 2015
    1:21pm
    Let me say this upfront: Grandparents have no rights of access to grandchildren under the law.

    Now I think there is a world of difference between Grandparents who step up and in effect become guardians of their grandchildren (some examples of such are detailed above) and those who are simply providing temporary babysitting services.

    If you are the guardian then I could agree that access to the same or similar help that is available to foster carers may be appropriate in some situations (back to the asset rich pensioner claiming aged pensions...).

    However, providing temporary babysitting is something most grandparents do willingly if asked. This should not attract any kind of government payment at all. This is what families do and as has been pointed out can benefit all concerned.

    If grandparents have an issue with 'regular childcare' whilst a parent works, then they should take it up with the child in question. Don't go running to the government with your hand out. If grandparents feel taken for granted by their own children, who do they have to blame?
    Paulodapotter
    29th Apr 2015
    1:45pm
    Since the fragmentation of the extended family, it has become extremely difficult for working parents to take care of their children within the family, hence the formation of childcare centres and paid child carers. I fail to see the difference between grandparents who take care of their children's children and paid child carers. As society changes, so too should our attitudes and expectations. I would expect that decent parents would not expect their parents to take care of their children for nothing. There are always expenses and I for one would never consider my parents as full time child carers without paying something.
    KSS
    29th Apr 2015
    1:54pm
    "There are always expenses and I for one would never consider my parents as full time child carers without paying something."

    And that's the point Paulodapotter, it is the parents' responsibility not the grandparents' or the Government's.
    Ron
    29th Apr 2015
    1:33pm
    My wife and I enjoyed looking after our grandchildren because both our children and their partners worked. The grandchildren have now grown up and are now in the same position as their parents. We have regained our popularity. We know a phone call from our grandchildren asking, "What are you two doing?" is not an invitation out, but a request to look after our great-grandchildren.
    Paulodapotter
    29th Apr 2015
    1:50pm
    Good on you Ron. However, I hope that your grandchildren offset any financial costs to you by compensating you for looking after their children. Of course, if you are well off and the costs don't cause you too much concern, then why not have fun with your great grandkids and hang the expense?
    KSS
    29th Apr 2015
    1:56pm
    Ron as long as you are willing and not being taken for granted than there is no issue. Enjoy!
    Ron
    29th Apr 2015
    5:33pm
    We are not well off but we have a lot of fun with our great-grandchildren. They don't realise that we have been through our own childhoods and their parents' as well. Our family's friends have adopted us. We are not allowed to pay for the many occasions to which our family and friends invite us. It certainly beats sitting alone in a couple of old rocking chairs.
    kess
    29th Apr 2015
    2:01pm
    My husband and I took over the care of our grand daughter when she was 14., Her parents had separated and she was living with her mother who was found to be dealing drugs from the house. She was resentful and felt we had "kidnapped" her. We felt we were keeping her out of very real danger. It was certainly not an easy 2 - 3 years but now she is very good mother to her son and our daughter in law is off drugs and leading a good life. Often wonder whether I would do the same again - but there seemed few choices - then or now!
    Paulodapotter
    29th Apr 2015
    3:41pm
    You did a very good thing. One of the problems we face in this day and age is the lack of will of the extended family to step in when needed. The safety of children is paramount and often those who do step in to protect children find they get little support from authorities. I'm glad the final outcome was good and I hope you have the loving relationship with your children and grandchildren you deserve.
    kess
    29th Apr 2015
    2:01pm
    My husband and I took over the care of our grand daughter when she was 14., Her parents had separated and she was living with her mother who was found to be dealing drugs from the house. She was resentful and felt we had "kidnapped" her. We felt we were keeping her out of very real danger. It was certainly not an easy 2 - 3 years but now she is very good mother to her son and our daughter in law is off drugs and leading a good life. Often wonder whether I would do the same again - but there seemed few choices - then or now!
    Judy in the hills
    29th Apr 2015
    2:08pm
    It seems so sad to me that quite a few of the "comments" today mention the problem of drugs and therefore the fact that elderly grandparents have just had to step in, some to give full time care to grandchildren. We just have to get HARDER with penalties for drug distributors - the governments all need to have a very large sum of money set aside for building uncomfortable gaols for the suppliers once caught - they seem to at best end up with a small fine, or a short trip to a rather pleasant prison with all mod cons and probably go back into the 'business' they just left asap afterwards. This drug taking by so many people these days is absolutely ruining Australia's future - no wonder so many of the affected generation don't actually hold down a job and live what used to be known as a "normal life" - enjoying one's youth, hopefully meeting a good and reliable partner, having a child or two or three and then guiding those children along to adulthood, etc. The world is certainly NOT a better place, yet it should be.
    Paulodapotter
    29th Apr 2015
    3:46pm
    Draconian retribution for drug offenders has no effect on countering drug use or distribution. You should know that by now. Even firing squads will do nothing to prevent drug crime. Prohibition DOES NOT WORK! It's high time governments looked at strategies that do work as unpalatable as they may seem. With the stroke of a pen, drug crime can be eradicated overnight if the political will was there to implement it.
    Tezza
    29th Apr 2015
    3:50pm
    Hi Judy in the Hills. You make some very valid points and it is sad that some of YLC contributors have been impacted by the drug scourge. I am sure that YLC will report on the recent Indonesian outcome for the well advertised penalty for drug trafficking.
    The blogs will run for hours with name calling, finger pointing, blame, calls for 'an eye for an eye', etc, etc. Let's see who raises the issue about how many families and generations that drugs impact upon in Australia.
    Chris B T
    29th Apr 2015
    3:54pm
    How is it perfectly acceptable for strangers to be paid for minding young children by Gov subsidy schemes. As soon it is a family member you are taking money from our taxes.
    The payment can be the hours required for centerlink requirements, so no direct payment of money.
    For most child care placements are not flexible enough, close by, affordable (even with subsidies) and not enough placements.
    Pensioners have an earning restriction anyway.
    So what is it to be pay a stranger or family member, and make use of another resource.
    There will be plenty of them.

    29th Apr 2015
    4:19pm
    I have always loved caring for my grandchildren and did so at every opportunity. I still do for my daughter, caring for her two-year-old son whenever the need arises. She shows her appreciation in spades - not that I want thanks or reward, but it's just nice to not be taken for granted. She also always provides everything he needs and if I go out and buy something she didn't provide, she is quick to offer to reimburse the cost.

    seldom see my other grandchildren now. Although I enjoyed every minute I spent with them, it hurt that there was no appreciation. I incurred heavy costs to provide for them and despite being very well-to-do, my son never once offered reimbursement. He seemed to think he had an entitlement to demand whatever he wanted from us, and give nothing - not even a thank you - in return. Now the children are older, I am apparently no longer needed, so all contact has stopped. I never get to see them or talk to them except at a rare family gathering. I think it's the children's loss. My grandmother was a huge positive influence in my life. I believe a good relationship with grandparents is extremely beneficial to any child. Sadly, my son's children have also been cut off from communication with their deceased mother's family - the only connection they have to their mother. I wonder will the children ever fully understand just what they were deprived of?
    Jen
    29th Apr 2015
    6:58pm
    For a year, I picked up my three grandkids from school and brought them home, helped them with their homework, gave them dinner and showered them ready for bed. Mum then arrived and picked them up and took them home to bed. It nearly killed me. These days, I willingly babysit them because it's not a regular, daily thing and I enjoy them (and I can cope!)
    Kato
    29th Apr 2015
    7:46pm
    There is a big difference between careprovider and babysitting.
    Jen
    29th Apr 2015
    9:06pm
    ^^True. I think being a permanent care provider as grandparents is a huge task. I'm not sure I could do it, but I guess if the situation demanded it, I would find a way. Certainly wouldn't want anyone outside the family to take them.
    cougar
    29th Apr 2015
    9:33pm
    I am so jealous of comments made revealing people 'grandparenting'. I moved states to be close to my daughter and her children. After 6 months I was told that I was 'surplus to requirements'. It broke my heart, and thinking about it now, I am sick with an incredible sadness. My beautiful grandchildren have no contact with any of their grandparents.
    CindyLou
    29th Apr 2015
    10:31pm
    I'm a grandparent who provides a considerable amount of care to grand kids so that parents can work...it's a huge responsibility, I am under significant scrutiny, I think it was easier caring for my own children. In respect to the questions relating to this topic I believe firstly, I would never want to receive money for providing care, secondary to be honest there are times when I'd prefer not to called upon so often as I've more than one my time. However, I step up and rarely refused requests as I understand the pressure of today's families and basically this is not forever.
    mollie
    30th Apr 2015
    7:03am
    Yes it is sad that someone should mention another government handout to grandparents minding their grandkids. Red tape, bureaucrats, courses for grand parents to take health and safety and psychological tests the list is endless. More interference by big brother- it is nice to mind kids and not be bothered by rules and nanny state interference. Yes, I mind my grandkids almost all the time, every day I have a call on my time. If we go away, then the family work around us if possible, but we are lucky, we have travelled and got that out of our system. The grandkids are still young and still actually 'like us" so we are counting this as a special bonding time. Wouldn't have it any other way, the families have fathers who work full time and mums who work selected days a week. We may not always be able to do this but we will while we can!
    Anonymous
    30th Apr 2015
    3:53pm
    You forgot to mention "police clearance" Mollie....that will be next!
    Wstaton
    2nd May 2015
    7:22pm
    I have mixed feelings about payments to grandparents. Apart from this if a grandparent gets this certificate they can look after other peoples kids for payment but not their own grandkids.

    Yet again, certificate and police check or not they can look after their own grandkids but cannot get payment by the governent but possibly could if the parents paid them the same but didn't apply for the grant. Something screwy here.

    There again all it needs is for two lots of grandparents to get together each get the certificate and then each look after the others grandkids then its legal.

    My gosh.
    HOLA
    3rd May 2015
    7:27am
    I had the greatest of times looking after my grandchild from when she was a little tot to teenager. My husband thought I was being used up all the time but I did it for her. Mother always flitting around socialising. Her poor Dad working his guts out. I loved to take her to her swimming lessons, dancing lessons you name it and I was there. I wanted her to experience having afternoon tea at David Jones, all dressed up. She loved it. Unfortunately I was brought up strictly and never had Grandparents I felt comfortable with. She is now 19 with a boyfriend so I get to see her less and less. But I have all those wonderful memories.


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