Grandparents in their young grandchildren's lives

Grandparents in their young grandchildren's lives

From Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, 2015 Report

LSAC ASR 2015 chapter— September 2016
Grandparents caring for their grandchildren

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Key findings

Grandparents provide childcare and important housing and financial support to their families, particularly during their grandchildren’s early years and as mothers return to employment. The need for grandparent care is highest when children are under school age and this need declines as children progress through school. Despite grandparents ageing, the majority of children remain in some contact with their grandparents.

How grandparents help

Childcare

  • Grandparents are a key source of flexible child care, especially when children are very young. Children of a working single parent are more likely to be in grandparent care.
  • Up until they are 5 years old, about 50% of children are in grandparent care one day a week and about a quarter are cared for two days a week. At any age, children are more often cared for by maternal, rather than, paternal grandparents.
  • While it is uncommon for grandparents to be living with their children and grandchildren (less than 7% of grandparents), co-resident grandparents were more likely when the grandchild’s primary carer was a single parent, relatively young, less well educated or from a non-English speaking background.
  • More than 95% of children had some face-to-face contact with a grandparent up until 13 years. Around 80% had monthly contact with a grandparent at 4–5 years, compared to 70% at 12–13 years.

Financial support

  • Grandparents are able to help parents avoid financial hardship through sharing resources (e.g., living in their home rent free) or by assisting parents to save up to buy their own home.

Publication details

LSAC ASR 2015 chapter
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, September 2016.

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