Looking after the Grandchildren - Dorset

In the past two generations, the number of children cared for by grandparents has jumped substantially from 33% to 82%*.

It may seem scarcely credible, but this statistic will not raise the eyebrows of those who have been following the shift in social behaviour.

This enormous shift is a result of grandparents, who in part, have come to the rescue of working parents; those Mums and Dads who sometimes struggle to meet the costs of childcare.

As some of the formal childcare costs continue to rise, relying on other members of the family can be an appealing option.

Collectively, as a nation, we make huge savings. In fact, childcare provided by grandparents saves the UK economy over £7 billion a year!


Recent research by Grandparents Plus found that 2.2 million grandparents look after their grandchildren to allow the child’s parents to go to work and 1 million do so because the parents cannot afford childcare.


Yet, although many grandparents relish the time spent with their grandchildren, they may not leap at the prospect of being responsible for the everyday care. Interestingly, research shows us that 39% of grandparents would like to have a life free from too many family duties.

Therefore, it is so important for grandparents to be honest and express what is within their capability. It can be exhausting, even if it is fun, to look after children.

The recognition of the role of grandparents and their contribution to society is becoming more apparent. This extends well beyond the realms of childcare savings.

What they have to offer is what children often thrive on – time and attention.

As many parents get swept away with the hectic pace of modern day life, the older generation are perceived as patient and relaxed.

Children who benefit from a strong bond with their elders not only benefit emotionally and mentally but also gain a better sense of identity.

Grandparents very often make strong role models and mentors, plus they are superb historians – telling stories of days gone by, teaching the importance of heritage and passing on family traditions.

Map Family History

Children are often fascinated to hear what life was like before mainstream TV and computer consoles ever existed. Yet, these stories can easily fade as time trickles by, so the elder family members should be encouraged to write down facts, thus preserving memories for future generations. 

This could be supported with memorabilia, family photos, service medals, trophies and even grandma’s wedding dress!

Another great way to map family history is to delve into grandpa’s memory banks and ask him to create a family tree. This all helps to give a child a stronger sense of identity.


Teaching new technologies to Grandparents

However, family learning works both ways. Children are able to teach their grandparents about new technologies and how to use different forms of communication, therefore increasing the quality, range and extent of contact.

Modern day grannies and granddads are clueing up on tablets and mobile phones, and many keep in touch via email and FaceTime.

The rewards of maintaining a strong relationship between all generations cannot be over-emphasised, and children will thrive in a family environment that has depth, and is nurturing.

An integral part of this tapestry is the grandparent, whose love, care and support is simply priceless.


Did you know?



Great value for money deals on Yellow Buses

Benefit from great value for money deals this Easter when you travel with Yellow Buses. With single journeys starting from £1.50 and all day travel tickets from £3.90 there’s so much to explore. You could check out the shopping in Ringwood, build sandcastles in Mudeford, head to Bournemouth Pier or take a bus to the airport for an even bigger adventure.

Concessionary passes, from all over England, are accepted between 9:30am-11pm, as long as the passes display the English Rose.

Children under 5 travel free on Yellow Buses and young people under 19 (with a Glocard) pay just a child’s fare. Well behaved dogs are also welcome to travel! Tickets and real time bus tracking is also available on the Move app.

Find more information at: www.bybus.co.uk






The Blue Pool - Purbeck’s unique beauty spot

Located between Wareham and Corfe Castle, the Blue Pool is an oasis of peace and beauty. Once a clay pit, the Pool changes colour constantly as tiny particles of clay filter through the waters - sometimes green, sometimes turquoise - depending upon the diffraction of the light. Steps lead down to the water’s edge and up to views of the Purbeck Hills.

Children love the Blue Pool. The setting gives them the freedom to ­­run around and discover secret places, in a safe and secure environment. There are three play areas, a marked trail to explore and plentiful opportunities to hunt for model squirrels hidden in the trees. Certificates are given out in the Museum for all squirrel hunters. Find the Blue Pool near Wareham (BH20 5AR). Discover more at www.bluepooltearooms.co.uk





More information:

Grandparents Plus - a national charity, promoting the vital role of grandparents and the extended family in children’s lives, particularly where parents are no longer able to care for their children. Visit www.grandparentsplus.org.uk

Gransnet - a social networking site for the over 50s. Visit www.gransnet.com



Abbey National Complicated Lives Report.

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