Grandparents' role in families and child care

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See more resources on Grandparents' role in families and child care in the AIFS library catalogue

The composition of grandparent childcare : gendered patterns in cross-national perspective.

Craig L, Hamilton M and Brown J
Timonen, Virpi, ed. Grandparenting practices around the world. Bristol, Uk : Policy Press, 2019: 151-169
This chapter compares informal child care by grandfathers and grandmothers, and how this differs in countries with different family policy regimes, family obligations, and labour force participation patterns. It analyses grandparent time use survey data by gender from four countries: Australia, Korea, Italy and France.

First-time grandparents' role satisfaction and its determinants.

Condon J, Luszcz M and McKee I
International Journal of Aging and Human Development 24 Oct 2019: Advance online publication
This article explores new grandparents' satisfaction with their role. 318 first-time grandparents were surveyed when their grandchild turned one and again when they turned two, regarding their role satisfaction and the influence of such factors as attachment and child gender, age and temperament. The study found that attachment was the most powerful predictor of role satisfaction. Though having a male grandchild was significantly and directly associated with higher role satisfaction at age 1, this association had disappeared by age 2.

The Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa, migrant grandparents and transnational family life

Hamilton M, Kintominas A and Brennan D
Sydney, N.S.W. : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, 2018.
There are currently two main avenues through which overseas grandparents can visit their families in Australia: visitor visas and permanent parent visas. However, there has been tightening of parent migration in recent years and a more flexible temporary visa has been proposed, the 'Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa'. This briefing paper explains the context and discusses the issues involved. Some are the considering the scheme as an option to temporarily increase the availability of grandparents to undertake child care without potentially burdening the health and social security systems through a permanent arrangement. A significant and growing number of families in Australia have at least one parent born overseas, but these families report less use of grandparents for child care than families with both parents born in Australia, reflecting the less accessible nature of grandparents for migrant families.

Grandparents matter : optimizing grandparents' involvement after child safety concerns.

Gair S, Zuchowski I, Munns L, Thorpe R and Henderson D
Child and Family Social Work v. 23 no. 4 Nov 2018: 684-692
This article is part of a broader study on contact between grandparents and their grandchildren in the context of child protection concerns, a study which involved interviews with family members, foster carers, and workers. This article focuses on grandparent and other family members' efforts to maintain contact with grandchildren, often having served in a kinship care role for a time. The interviews highlight how family can be excluded from contact, decision-making, and having a role in the lives of these children.

Convenient yet neglected : the role of grandparent kinship carers.

Zuchowski I, Gair S, Henderson D and Thorpe R
British Journal of Social Work 11 Oct 2018: Advance online publication
This article is part of a broader study on contact between grandparents and their grandchildren in the context of child protection concerns, a study which involved interviews with family members, foster carers, and workers. This article focuses on the 20 study participants who were providing kinship care as grandparents. It discusses grandparent motivation and willingness, desire to stay connected to grandchildren, care arrangements, stress and safety risks, recognition, and support needs. The findings highlight how kinship care is often seen as a cost-effective alternative to foster-care, with kinship carers not receiving the support and resources they need.

Parenting stress and the use of formal and informal child care : associations for fathers and mothers.

Craig L and Churchill B
Journal of Family Issues v. 39 no. 12 2018: 3203-3224
Though nonparental childcare is increasingly relied upon, little is known about how it affects the emotional and psychological strains of parenting. This article investigates the association between the amount and type of nonparental care and parenting stress, drawing on data from employed parents of preschool children participating in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The study finds that greater use of nonparental care was associated with higher levels of parenting stress for fathers and mothers, suggesting that though outsourcing care may relieve parents of some child-related chores, it does not address role strain and is not as psychologically beneficial as the input of a co-parent. However, the study also finds that parenting stress is significantly lower, for both fathers and mothers, if the care is provided informally by family members.

Childhood education and care, Australia, June 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This resource presents information on the use of child care and educational programs in Australia, compiled from the June 2017 Childhood Education and Care Survey (CEaCS). It provides statistics on: use of formal and informal care; types of care used; age of children in care; use of care by couple and one parent families; comparisons from 1996 to 2014; use of preschool and main reason for choosing; child care costs since 2011; use of flexible work arrangements by mothers and fathers to care for children. Children aged 2 or 3 years old are the most likely to attend formal or informal care, at 71.8% and 71.1% respectively. Though there was significant growth in the use of flexible work arrangements to care for children at the start of the new millennium, by both mothers and fathers, the uptake of these arrangements has slowed since 2008 for working mothers.

Childcare in New Zealand 2017

New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand
Wellington N.Z. : Statistics New Zealand, 2017
This set of spreadsheets presents data from the 2017 Childcare in New Zealand Survey. The survey, conducted as a supplement to the September 2017 Household Labour Force Survey, looks into how parents use informal and formal childcare arrangements and government childcare subsidies. It provides data on use of formal and informal early childhood education and out-of-school services, by child, geographic, and parent characteristics and hours of use and costs. It also looks at use of the Childcare Subsidy and the OSCAR subsidy for school children, work arrangements used in the last week by employed parents, by family type, age of youngest child, and type of childcare arrangements, and work arrangements used last week to help with childcare, by family type, age of youngest child, and type of childcare arrangements. A table is also included comparing the proportion of children in formal and informal care type arrangements in 2009 and 2017. A set of media releases have also been published that highlight particular themes, these are: Childcare a challenge for 1 in 6 working parents; Grandparents lend a hand for childcare; More toddlers in formal early childhood care; Over half of children in formal care there due to parents' work arrangements; and Working from home helps with childcare.

Grandchildren and their grandparents' labor supply

Rupert P and Zanella G
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2017.
"Working-age grandparents supply large amounts of child care, an observation that raises the question of how having grandchildren affects grandparents' own labor supply. Exploiting the unique genealogical design of the PSID and the random variation in the timing when the parents of first-born boys and girls become grandparents, we estimate a structural labor supply model and find a negative effect on employed grandmother's hours of work of about 30% that is concentrated near the bottom of the hours distribution, i.e., among women less attached to the labor market. Implications for the evaluation of child care and parental leave policies are discussed."--Author abstract.

Grandparental childcare in Australia : gender differences in the correlates of providing regular grandparental care while parents work.

Craig L and Jenkins B
Community, Work and Family v. 19 no. 3 2016: 281-301
This article investigates the time use and pressures of grandparents who provide regular care for grandchildren while parents work. Using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey 2006, it investigates grandparents' characteristics, which childcare activities they undertake, time spent in other activities, subjective time pressure, and satisfaction, with comparisons by grandparent gender and between those who provide regular or non-regular care. The findings indicate that taking on regular care repeats the gender patterns of parenting, with women disproportionately affected by meeting family care needs.

Grandfathers in Australia : the gendered division of grandparent care.

Horsfall B and Dempsey D
Buchanan, Ann, ed. Rotkirch, Anna, ed. Grandfathers : global perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Palgrave Macmillan studies in family and intimate life 9781137563378: 147-164
Older men are becoming grandfathers at a time when social mores in Australia are encouraging father involvement in children's lives. This chapter explores the gendered dynamics of how grandparents provide child care in Australia, drawing on interviews and data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The findings indicate that a substantial proportion of grandfathers are caring for grandchildren; however, as with labour division between fathers and mothers, grandfathers do less of the labour associated with child care and play more of a supportive play. Nonetheless, the contributions of grandfathers as male role models and playmates for children are highly valued.

Grandparenting : contemporary perspectives.

Moore S and Rosenthal D
Abingdon, Oxford : Routledge, 2016.
This text book provides a overview of the latest social and psychological research on grandparenting. Chapters include: Grandparenting: the third act?; Becoming a grandparent: transitions and bonding; Psychological benefits of grandparenting; Roles and relationships; Grandparents and primary carers; Diverse family structures; Health and wellbeing; The experience of grandfathers; Laws, policies and programs; and Grandparenting: an agenda for the future.

Grandparents in their young grandchildren's lives.

Baxter J and Warren D
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2015. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016: 13-40
Grandparents play a vital role in many families, whether supporting parents or enriching children's lives through a wider family network. This chapter explores the different ways that grandparents are involved in the lives of children, using data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC). It provides insights into grandparents' involvement with children from infancy to the early teenage years, including the characteristics of grandparents and their families, co-residence of grandparents with children in multi-generational households, grandparent-provided child care, and the amount of contact children have with their grandparents. It also investigates whether family and parental characteristics explain differences in involvement.

Family life.

Wilkins R
The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey : selected findings from Waves 1 to 14. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2016: 6-14
This chapter looks at four concerns of family life: having children, child care use, lone parents, and parents with non-resident children. Data is taken from the first 14 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which were conducted between 2001 and 2014. Information is presented on: lifetime fertility patterns, parental age at birth of first child across different cohorts, likelihood of having a child in any given year, characteristics of men and women at time of first birth, factors associated with decision of couples to have their first child, use of formal and informal child care by family type, expenditure on child care as proportion of income, use of grandparents for child care, characteristics of grandparents providing or not providing care, lone-parent families with dependent children, characteristics of lone mothers compared with partnered mothers, number of lone parents who have ever been legally or de facto married, lone-parent duration and partnering of lone parents, factors associated with partnering of lone parents, changes in wellbeing on becoming a lone parent, proportion of parents with children aged under 18 not living with their children, contact with non-resident children, nights per year children stay with non-resident parent, and changes in wellbeing on becoming separated from children, compared with changes for parents who remain partnered.

The composition of parents' and grandparents' child-care time : gender and generational patterns in activity, multi-tasking and co-presence.

Craig L and Jenkins B
Ageing and Society v. 36 no. 4 Apr 2016: 785-810
This article investigates how grandparent child care differs from parent child care, in terms of three dimensions: (a) the activities child care consists of (routine versus non-routine), (b) whether it is multi-tasked (and whether it is paired with productive activities or with leisure), and (c) whether it is done solo or with a partner present. Gender differences are also examined. Data is taken from the 2006 Australian Time Use Survey.

Growing up in Ireland, National Longitudinal Study of Children: non-parental childcare and child cognitive outcomes at age 5

McGinnity F, Russell H and Murray A
Dublin : Stationery Office, 2015.
"This report investigates the experience of non-parental care in early life and its association with children's cognitive development at age five using a large representative sample of children (circa 9,000) from the Growing Up in Ireland survey. This survey collected data on the same children in infancy in 2008/2009, at age three in 2011 and at age five in 2013 ... The report addresses a number of questions. What do we know from the Growing Up in Ireland survey about the nature and extent of non-parental childcare in infancy and at age three, prior to participation in the Free Preschool Year? Do children who experienced different types of non-parental childcare at age three differ in terms of their vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning from those who have just experienced parental care? Does participation in different forms of childcare influence the change over time in vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning scores between ages three and five? Does the influence of non-parental care differ for advantaged and disadvantaged children? ... The report distinguishes between relative care (usually by a grandparent), non-relative care (typically a childminder) and centre-based care (e.g. creche) as main non-parental care types at age three. The report also considers some aspects of the children's experience of the Free Preschool Year, a major policy initiative in recent years in the area of Early Care and Education in Ireland ..."--Executive summary.

Home and lifestyle data reference report

CoreData Pty Ltd, Greenstone Financial Services, Australian Seniors Insurance Agency
Baulkham Hills, N.S.W. : Australian Seniors Insurance Agency, 2015
This report explores older Australians' attitudes to technology, changing family structures, and living arrangements, produced for financial services company Greenstone. An online survey was conducted with a nationally representive survey of 1,000 people aged over 50, with a control sample of 200 younger people. Part one looks at the embrace of new technology, including concerns about digital security, use of social media to connect with family and friends, positive attitude to the internet and technology, time spent online and what activities are undertaken, use of technology and specific social media platforms, using apps and taking 'selfies', understanding online acronyms, favourite decade, impact of technology on society, and impact of recent historical events on society - including the 'digital revolution'. Part two concerns care of grandchildren, including time spent caring for grandchildren, need for sacrifices or alterations to work/personal arrangements to accommodate child care, moving house to help with child care, whether grandparents should be paid if they provide care, whether they'd prefer to provide less care, and their sense of obligation. Part three focuses on traditional family structures, including the impact of changing family structures on relationship quality or dysfunction, whether the law should treat cohabitation the same as marriage, changing family roles, whether the breakdown of traditional families is leading to a wider decline in moral values, and advice to the younger generation. Part four considers living arrangements, including adult children or adult grandchildren living at home, when adults should move out, attitude to living in a share house with other older people, attitudes to living in a retirement home or nursing home, worries about future living arrangements, preferences for care if they became a burden to their children. The participants also commented on what they were most proud of in their current lives, from caring for their family to being a world traveller. Gender and state/territory differences are also highlighted.

Grandparents doing gender : experiences of grandmothers and grandfathers caring for grandchildren in Australia.

Horsfall B and Dempsey D
Journal of Sociology v. 51 no. 4 Dec 2015: 1070-1084
This article explores the gendered dynamics of how grandparents provide child care. It draws on in-depth interviews with grandparents and data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to look at gendered meanings and practices of child care, caring roles, involved parenting versus caring labour, and the differing impacts upon grandmothers' and grandfathers' free time and domestic labour.

Grandparent childcare and labour market participation in Australia

Hamilton M and Jenkins B
Melbourne : National Seniors Australia, 2015.
Australian grandparents are experiencing two major and potentially contradictory trends: considerable child care responsibilities for their grandchildren and a growing policy emphasis to keep mature-age Australians engaged in the labour market. This report explores the intersection of these trends - the role grandparent childcare plays in grandparents' work and retirement decisions. It draws on a survey of 209 grandparents and focus groups with 23 grandparents, which raised topics such as the barriers to formal childcare, maternal workforce participation, family values, reorganising work, retirement plans, the financial and health costs of providing care, choice and obligation, and support and recognition. The report concludes with the implications for policy support.

The potential benefits of parenting programs for grandparents : recommendations and clinical implications.

Kirby J
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 24 no. 11 Nov 2015: 3200-3212
This article investigates the role of grandparents in supporting families and children and considers how best grandparents can be supported themselves through parenting interventions. It provides recommendations on how evidence-based parenting programs (EBPPs) can be modified to work more effectively with grandparents.

Child care and early childhood education in Australia

Baxter J
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
The Facts Sheet provides a range of statistical information relating to children's and families' use of child care and early childhood education, highlighting how arrangements change as children grow and how they vary for families of different characteristics. Data is taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Childhood Education and Care Survey, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. This Facts Sheet has been prepared to celebrate the 2015 National Families Week, with this year's theme being 'Stronger Families, Stronger Communities'.

Men's experiences of grandfatherhood : a welcome surprise.

StGeorge J and Fletcher R
International Journal of Aging and Human Development v. 78 no. 4 Jun 2014: 351-378
Grandfatherhood may bring a new opportunity for involvement with children, particularly if their working years required long hours away from their own children. This article explores the impact of caring for young children on men's perceptions of their role as grandfathers, drawing on interviews with 19 Australian men. The article raised themes of relationships and change, core beliefs and personal growth, and caring from the male perspective.

Understanding families over time : research and policy

Holland J and Edwards R
Houndmills England : Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
"Based on a large-scale qualitative longitudinal study of the life course conducted in the UK (Timescapes Study), this unique collection reveals close-up - and in their own words - the experiences of children and young people, parents, and older generations. The participants' lives and times are explored through multiple accounts of their changing trajectories. Collectively, the contributions examine family and generational relationships in all their complexity as they change and develop. Tackling a diverse group of people from varied backgrounds and geographical locations, each individual chapter is concerned with particular stages of the life course, delivering policy-relevant findings to address individual and family lives over time. [This book] also has a methodological twist: change and continuity through biographical, historical and generational time are integral aspects of the overall study."

Understanding Society insights: 2014 findings from the largest longitudinal study of UK households.

Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain), University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research, National Centre for Social Research (Great Britain)
Colchester, UK : Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, 2014
Understanding Society is an annual longitudinal household survey in Great Britain, and has been collecting data year on year from the members of nearly 40,000 households since its inception in 2008. This report presents findings from Waves 1-3 on the changing lives of individuals and households in the UK, focussing particularly on three areas of pressing contemporary concern: the impact of the recent recession on poverty and social mobility, ethnic diversity, and significant changes in the patterns of family life over time. Individual reports include: Post-recession poverty triggers; Households in the middle: survivors of the squeeze; Social mobility stalled for a generation; Does unemployment scar more in tough times?; Mechanics behind the boomerang generation; Ethnic minority inequalities in the job market; Demystifying 'White flight' in England; Inheriting success; Portrait of a modern United Kingdom; Mapping family change - how families evolve; Being lucky in love can matter in later life; Grandma & Grandpa - the unsung heroes of modern UK childcare; and The UK's social fabric is tougher than you think.

The motherhood wage penalty & grandparent provided childcare in Australia

Payten D
Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2014
This thesis investigates the existence and size of the motherhood wage penalty in Australia, and whether this wage penalty is influenced by access to informal childcare provided by grandparents. It draws upon data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. These findings will help inform debate regarding the importance of childcare and grandparent provided childcare in particular.

Early child care and child outcomes: the role of grandparents

Del Boca D, Piazzalunga D and Pronzato C
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2014.
"In this paper, we focus on the impact of early grandparents' care on child cognitive outcomes, in the short and medium term, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (UK). Compared with children looked after in a formal care centre, children cared by grandparents (as well as parents) are better in naming objects, but worse in tests concerning basic concepts development, problem-solving, mathematical concepts and constructing ability. In order to assess a causal link between early care and child outcomes, we employ panel methods and instrumental variables techniques that confirm that grandparental care matters more for naming ability while formal care is more important for problem-solving ability and basic concepts development. These results hide strong heterogeneities: on the one hand, the positive association between grandparents' care and child outcomes is stronger for children in more advantaged households; on the other hand, the negative association is significant only for children in more disadvantaged households."--Author abstract.

Trends in family transitions, forms and functioning : essential issues for policy development and legislation.

Weston R and Qu L
Family Matters no. 95 2014: 76-84
This article looks at the various ways in which family formation pathways and the characteristics and functioning of families have changed over the decades in Australia. It discusses trends in marriage, divorce, and cohabitation, and the resulting rise in new forms of families, such as grandparent-headed families, same-sex parented families, couples living apart together, and shared care. Though trends in the formation and stability of families have changed in striking ways over past decades, the fundamental things about families do not change. Most importantly, they represent the basic unit of society and the site in which most children are raised. This article was first published in the book 'Families, policy and the law: selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia', published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies earlier in the year.

Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women's cognitive health : results from the Women's Healthy Aging Project.

Burn K, Henderson V, Ames D, Dennerstein L and Szoeke C
Menopause v. 21 no. 10 Oct 2014: 1069-1074
Previous studies have shown that social engagement can maintain cognition in older people. This article adds to the research by investigating whether grandparenting - providing care to grandchildren - in postmenopausal women also helps maintain cognition. Using data for 186 participants from the Women's Healthy Aging Project in Australia, it compares time spent caring for grandchildren and memory performance and processing speed. The study found that minding grandchildren for 1 day a week predicted the highest cognitive scores. On the other hand, the study also found that minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week resulted in a lower cognitive performance.

Time to care: generation generosity under pressure.

Family and Childcare Trust (Great Britain), Grandparents Plus (Organization), Save the Children Fund (Great Britain), Ipsos MORI (Firm)
London : Family and Childcare Trust, Grandparents Plus, and Save the Children, 2014.
This UK report looks at the cost of child care that grandparents provide to grandchildren, as well as the impact this has on grandparents paid work. New research by Ipsos MORI, jointly commissioned by Grandparents Plus, Save the Children and the Family and Childcare Trust, investigates the contribution grandparents make in caring for their grandchildren.

Psychological health and provision of grandchild care in non-custodial 'baby boomer' grandparents.

Young C and Denson L
Journal of Family Studies v. 20 no. 1 Apr 2014: 88-100
Our study explored the relationships between baby-boomer grandparents' mental health and the multiple roles they commonly fulfil: grandchild care, other family care, home duties, and paid work. There is limited research on non-custodial grandparenting. Studies to date have suggested that psychosocial distress may be more associated with satisfaction levels than with actual time spent on activities, but these studies are mainly qualitative and have not always excluded grandparents who only provide secondary grandchild care. Our on-line survey asked 148 non-custodial Australian boomer grandparents (90 female, 58 male) providing regular sole or primary childcare for at least one grandchild about their experiences. Spearman correlations confirmed significant correlations between satisfaction and psychological health (distress and self-esteem), whereas time spent providing care was not significantly related to psychological health. Unlike previous researchers we identified few significant gender differences, perhaps because we focussed on grandparents providing sole or primary care. These outcomes provide direction for parents, grandparents, and policy makers addressing the needs of this social group.
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