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Grandparenting

Situation forcing rules to be broken

(98 Posts)
Toddy Wed 03-Jun-20 13:33:19

I'm increasingly aware that many friends and fellow grandparents are being forced back into caring for their grandkids as parents return to work. Some doing this with trepidation but can't see any other option, especially where the children are going and never been to nursery or childminders. Opening schools without regard for the thousands of families who rely on grandparents or other family members for childcare is putting many in an impossible siuation! My own daughter is a single parent of 3. As a teacher, she has been allowed to work from home but is needed back in school from mid june. I've always cared for the 2 yr old and done school run and after school care etc. What is she supposed to do now if I don't take up where I left off before lockdown. Any decision I make has to be balanced against breaking the rules and possibly putting myself and husband at risk. We are mid 60s and husband has asthma but otherwise well. What would you do?

Smileless2012 Wed 03-Jun-20 13:47:46

Are there nursery places where your 2 year old GC could go Toddy? Will the other 2 be going to school because their mum has been called back into work? With no alternatives I would pick up where you left off before the lock down. Easy for me to say as we don't have GC to look after.

I appreciate the high cost of nursery's, child minders and before and after school care is out of reach for some parents, especially if there's only one parent on the scene, but this pandemic does appear to have highlighted a problem, where the only child care givers apart from parents are GP's.

PinkCakes Wed 03-Jun-20 13:54:36

I'm in my early 60s, have Asthma. My husband is early 60s (furloughed). My GC have gone back to school as their mum is a keyworker. I'd love to look after them (but our DIL won't allow us to, so they go to a neighbour until she gets home)

Oopsadaisy3 Wed 03-Jun-20 14:49:25

Nobody should feel that they are being forced to look after any GCs, if you became ill your daughter would have to make other arrangements, so maybe she should make preparations now rather than risk your DH getting the virus and then everyone has to stay at home as you are all ill.
As Smileless says it has certainly highlighted a problem that so many Grandparents are acting as unpaid child minders to their adult children, it really shouldnt be allowed to carry on. Retirees deserve a life of their own, not looking after another generation.
So, do retirees grit their teeth and carry on until they drop?
Do parents not have children if they can’t afford the childcare?
Or do taxpayers pay for child care to cover the children until they go to school and also after school childcare?
Or should one parent stay at home to look after the children?
I think it’s a problem that will never go away and I wonder where the money will come from to pay for it all.
Maybe they should cap what the nurseries charge? Would that help?

Summerlove Wed 03-Jun-20 14:59:20

I think (hind sight and all that) That these situations need to be discussed when entering into caring for grandchildren.

So many grandparents offer help joyfully, then get resentful when it becomes relied upon.

My mother told me always that she had her own life, and while she’d love to have any kids I had occasionally, she was never going to be full time care.

I always appreciated that honesty.

There need to be a lot more honest conversations going forward. If grandparents are not wanting to continue being care, that needs to be stated

sodapop Wed 03-Jun-20 16:35:58

You are right summerlove . Adult children and Grandparents need to think carefully about any child care arrangements.
It's difficult when an only child has siblings and its expected that Grandparents will continue caring. Also if there are multiple families involved
. There are many considerations, finances, health, freedom for Grandparents and so on. I was still working when my grandchildren were young and I was quite clear that I would not be giving up work to help with child care. I was available on some days off and holidays. What I read on GN about the amount of time given by Grandparents for child care is worrying.

I realise a lot of Grandparents give their time freely and with love but it should not be an expectation or entitlement by adult children.

Toddy Wed 03-Jun-20 21:00:54

Thanks everyone. It's certainly a dilemma. My daughter and estranged husband will manage childcare between them best they can. She is exploring nursery place for toddler but none seem to be taking new children. Also, as none of kids ever been cared for outside of family it's a bit daunting! Just hoping for clarity before September and hoping there's a balance between grandparents re-engaging with extended family whilst protecting our health ha!

Furret Wed 03-Jun-20 21:22:00

What do you want to do Toddy?

Iam64 Wed 03-Jun-20 21:28:43

The invisible army of grandparents whose actions in caring for grandchildren, doing school runs etc is currently often under lock down.
I want to help by resuming care of our grandchildren whose parents are key workers. I'm shielding so I can't. The other grandparents are late 60's and can't either because they feel the risks are too great.
The stress on their parents is huge because before and after school clubs aren't open. Parents have juggled work and lock down for three months. That looks set to continue over the long summer holidays. Very difficult for all.

Nannarose Wed 03-Jun-20 21:59:34

Did you see today's Downing Street press conference, when the PM was asked about childcare for returning workers, he said that they would have to explain to their employers why they were unable to work?

Hetty58 Wed 03-Jun-20 22:11:37

Nannarose, he said that employers had to be reasonable and that the 80% furlough pay would continue for those unable to resume work. How long that continues - who knows?

In my family, grandparents don't do childcare, just occasional babysitting. There is no expectation otherwise. I did look after my eldest grandson when he lived here, but I offered to. I was younger then (in my 50s) and I wouldn't have the energy or patience now.

Hithere Thu 04-Jun-20 00:11:51

Agree with summerlove.

Childcare sounds very nice in paper - seeing the gc frequently- but the reality and responsibility of it are another story.

What if grandparents get sick? What happens then?

newnanny Thu 04-Jun-20 00:32:34

I do believe that some childminders have vacancies as some parents are at home on furlough do not taking up places. Could your dd check to see if there are any childminders with a vacancy neat her? You can get a list from councils.

newnanny Thu 04-Jun-20 00:33:57

Key workers cannot be furloughed nanarose.

MawB Thu 04-Jun-20 06:47:34

Newnanny I thought childminders were still restricted to one child or, if more, children from the same family.
I may be out of date though.
This whole scenario highlights the role some grandparents play in their grown up children’s working lives.
Never having been a “regular” caregiver to DGC I am not in that position but have been happy to help out in emergencies or on a more occasional basis.
I don’t know what the solution is but given the cost of childcare even when it is available it is clear some mothers are working for very little.

1Kingsroad Thu 04-Jun-20 06:58:52

Although a Grandparent (54) I have been lucky enough to be paid by my DD for looking after my DGS for the last seven months so have continued to do so during this pandemic. I am registered as her employee with all NI/Tax paid. I was under the category of could not work from home and so continued. This also helped as two elder GC were off school and I was there for them. It does seem a bit silly that you can't look after GC if you are not paid but can if you are.

craftyone Thu 04-Jun-20 07:04:00

I am a safety net to my DD and her husband, both in highly important work, one a cornerstone keyworker and one with patients. They are both going back to work next week and don`t yet know their hours. They are worried about overlapping hours and the 2 children 9 and 12, their schools are not yet open. I have offered and will drive over to step in, there is no way they could both get back to work without my help.

It is a bad situation but I will help, obviously at 9 and 12 they are aware and will be careful as will I. No-one else can do it. 72 and well, somewhat overweight but nothing else

MrsEBear Thu 04-Jun-20 07:21:44

I happen to have a child and grandchild of similar age and used to be part of my daughter’s regular childcare arrangements. Her family relocated for work reasons and the children started school so school holidays were our times together.

We haven’t seen each other since the start of the lockdown and my household has been ultra cautious as my child has a disability (but is quite well and happy at home!) and my risk is higher than average but not shielding level.

My daughter’s family have been very careful but far from isolated. My grandchild has continued at school throughout because unfortunately my son in law became seriously ill with a non Covid illness just before the lockdown. It’s been a nightmare for my daughter with most NHS and support services being reduced to a skeleton or suspended altogether.

I want to be there to help and support and, in the long run, move to be nearby. They are facing a long and difficult journey with SILs illness.

oliversnana Thu 04-Jun-20 09:11:41

We are looking after our granddaughter as daughter is a key worker. Could you look after gc in their own home. We are both 50's and well so all good.

hicaz46 Thu 04-Jun-20 09:13:59

So hard for everyone concerned. Unfortunately and sometimes fortunately I live too far away from all GC to be called on for regular childcare, but in current circumstances if I lived close I’d have to say no now.

oliversnana Thu 04-Jun-20 09:15:09

newnanny my husband works in the supply chain for shops and classed as a key worker is on furlough so they can

Tweedle24 Thu 04-Jun-20 09:17:23

Whilst I agree with those saying that grandparents should not automatically be expected to look after grandchildren, many do it very willingly and enjoy it. This pandemic, though, could not have been expected and has put people, the parents and grandparents, into a dreadful dilemma.

The OP’s daughter was able to afford her children Oopsadaisy. With her parents’ help, she has been managing OK. As a single parent, it sounds too that her situation has probably changed since she had the children.

aonk Thu 04-Jun-20 09:23:51

I’ve read all the posts with great interest. I don’t have to think about this very important issue yet as my AC are all currently working from home. It’s been hard for them looking after the children as well but it’s been accepted by both sides that they will manage without my help. Normally I spend 3 days a week looking after my grandchildren and love every minute. It’s 3 days each with a different family. This is how I want to spend my retirement. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do and the benefits of a close relationship with the children and a purpose in life massively outweigh any disadvantages. As I get older so do the children and the care becomes easier when they’re at school. I love it!

Tina6 Thu 04-Jun-20 09:25:10

This is a difficult one in normal circumstances. Sometimes you offer to help with young grandchildren and don’t want to admit that you are sometimes overwhelmed with their demands and become quite exhausted on the days you may have them but feel it is your duty to help.

Dwmxwg Thu 04-Jun-20 09:27:58

My daughter and I are both nurses, she is a single parent. We have always looked after her children at our house whilst she works nights.
My OH is over 70 with underlying health problems. We made the decision very early on that the only way she and I could continue to work was if my OH and I socially distance at home (separate bedrooms and bathrooms) and I continue to care for her boys overnight at her house and they go to keyworker school whist she sleeps. Yes it was bending the rules but as Boris has said all along use common sense. There was no other alternative other than us both stopping work, financially and ethically we believe we made the right decision