Grandparents play a key role in the lives of a large proportion of British children

A new study has found that grandparents play a key role in the lives of a large proportion of British children.

Information was collected from 8752 families in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) on grandparent involvement when children were aged eight, 15 and 24 months.

It was found that grandparents regularly cared for 44% of children at these ages. Independent of the availability of paid help with childcare, the most important factors associated with grandparent care were the age of the mother and her level of education.

In families without access to paid childcare, the child's position in the family, the mother's employment status and the mother's recall of caring parenting by her own mother were associated with variations in grandparent care.

The authors of the study conclude that grandparent care was a significant contributor to the care of young children. The ALSPAC study data suggest that where it occurs, grandparent care is a relatively stable feature over the first 24 months of children's lives.

The contribution that grandparents are making is significant in terms of issues such as the role of extended families and their importance, effects on child development and support for maternal working outside the home.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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