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Grandparents: The Right Childcare For You?

Your parents may love an evening’s babysitting – and for many families, grandparents are a childcare must

Guilt. As a mum, it’s everywhere. How you feed them. When you feed them. When you leave them. Where you leave them. But why?

Forget for a moment the reasons why you have to leave them in the first place – studies show that all types of daycare improved children’s level of understanding, sociability, intelligence and concentration.

But, what about when it comes to involving your own family in the day-to-day care of your baby or toddler?

The charity Grandparents Plus found that one in three working mums have childcare help from their parents. This could mean anything from occasionally helping out to a more regular arrangement.

Before you hit that ‘mum and dad’ speed dial button, work out whether turning to grandma and granddad is the right option for your family.

Why it works

Granny care is great for avoiding meltdowns and separation anxiety. Your child will love the opportunity to spend the day with grandparents and you won’t be worried about how they’re getting on.

‘This set-up is perfect in many ways – your child knows and loves Grandma already and you know exactly how your parents or in-laws will look after your child,’ says Katy Hayden, nanny and childcare expert at Tinies Childcare.

Pay and a contract?

They’re your parents but you could still benefit from getting some official guidelines in place.

‘It can be useful to have a contract, no matter how informal, and offer some payment, otherwise you’ll feel unable to set rules about how your child is cared for,’ says Vicki Scott, a nursery nurse, midwife and baby confidence coach.

Explain they will be doing you a favour if they accept some money, as it will make you feel more comfortable.

Grandparents can also get national insurance credits, if they are of working age and are choosing to look after grandchildren rather than work. They will need to care for your child for more than 20 hours a week to qualify. You can find out more at dwp.gov.uk.

Your child will love the opportunity to spend the day with grandparents and you won’t be worried about how they’re getting on

What to look out for

What your child eats at Grandma’s could be an issue. Studies have found that children looked after by grandparents have an increased risk of being overweight.

Plus, a study found that babies left with grandparents become slower learners at school – grandparents don’t have the same up-to-date skills as nursery workers.

It’s also worth getting reassurance that your mum will tell you if her darling grandchild is just too knackering. Children are exhausting, and as they grow from babies into toddlers your mum might not be so keen to race around the duck pond.

 
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