Grandparents babysitting: when work and family coincide

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Robert Maurer

Grandparents babysitting: when work and family coincide

Last update: 14 September, 2022

Grandparents babysitters are fundamental to our society. I am a regular figure out of schools and in parks, ready to take care of grandchildren for hours while their parents work. Almost unwittingly and often unwittingly, they become the main educators of the home.

One in six people between the ages of 50 and 70 takes care of their grandchildren with some diligence; of these, half do it every day and for more than 12 hours a day. The impossibility of reconciling family and work life, the lack of economic resources and the emotional security of children, lead families to rely on grandparents as the main support for the care of children. That's why we can talk about babysitting grandparents.

The entry of women into the world of work for her self-fulfillment and, of course, to improve the domestic economy it has generated in families various needs, affective and responsible for the little ones in the house. In light of this new family structure, babysitter grandparents have now assumed the role of principal educators in the emotional and personal development of their grandchildren, at the same level, if not higher than that assumed by their parents.

Nonny babysitter in the XNUMXst century

The babysitter grandparents of the XNUMXst century play a role that is in many ways distinct from previous centuries. The figure of the grandfather as an educator and "nurse" has been present for many centuries of history, but the needs of today's society and the needs of families force us to envisage the role they play in today's society differently.

  • Increased life expectancy and active aging programs allow to the elderly an ever better quality of life and can thus devote time and energy to the care of their grandchildren. Living longer and better is the wake of the development of modern medicine. It is not a question of exceeding the age of one hundred, which is happening more and more often, but of doing it without reducing the quality of life or delaying the loss as much as possible.
  • The economic difficulties that afflict many families are also a fundamental element for the choice of grandparents as the main nannies.

They offer a cost-effective alternative, since very often parents cannot afford the luxury of paying for a nursery or kindergarten for their children. Grandparents are also chosen for their flexibility or absence of schedules, as they do not impose an hour limit or have a closing time.

  • The entry of women into the world of work. In the last decades our society has changed significantly with regards to the division of tasks in the family. Parents work outside the home, increasing the difficulties of reconciling work and family life. For this reason, when possible, grandparents are used as an alternative for childcare.

"Grandparents are magicians who create wonderful memories for their grandchildren"

Grandparents babysitters, valid collaborators

Grandparents are a stable source of emotional support for grandchildren. A very important emotional and affective bond is destined to develop between them, the result of shared activities and feelings of relational satisfaction.

Grandfather is happy to be able to count on someone who encourages or encourages him to remain active, to be listened to and accompanied. At the same time, the affection and admiration with which the grandson addresses him reinforce his confidence and self-esteem.

A relationship is established so intimate that you become each other's confidant. The child perceives the grandfather's affection and closeness, generating bonds of trust and going to him in search of support or in dark moments. In this sense, thanks to their experience and the infinite source of knowledge, grandparents represent a real "school of life" for children. Thanks to them, children learn respect, values, intergenerational games and love for the elderly.

Rules of coexistence in order not to "abuse" the babysitter grandparents

  • Establish boundaries for children's education. Grandparents can educate and participate in the education of grandchildren, but they must not exceed the role and function of parents.
  • Assessing that grandparents are really willing to do it, even if they are usually enthusiastic.
  • Respect the free time of each family member. Seniors also need to have time to themselves and be able to devote themselves to different activities that are not limited to caring for their grandchildren.
  • Thank grandparents for their help, both on the part of parents and children, as without their work the organization of the house would be much more difficult.

It seems that the leading role of grandparents in the education of grandchildren, far from losing importance, is growing more and more. Their support is invaluable to parents. Not only do they take care of children, they are also a source of teaching and love them wholeheartedly. As a society, we owe them a lot.

“Certainly two of the most satisfying experiences in life are: being a grandfather and being a grandson”.
-Donald A. Norberg-

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