Grandparents have, and will always, play an important role in the family. But over the last 30 years, many have been given more responsibility for their grandchildren. Due to changes in society and family structures.

This includes care of under-5s, school pickups, and holiday care while their parents (your children) work or study. But, children are energetic creatures at any age and can be tiring for the most dedicated carer.

So, is being older and taking care of the little tykes getting a bit much sometimes? Is it interfering in your own life and the goals you have? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. And there’s no need to feel guilty either.

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Taking care of your grandchildren is great, but you also need to allow time for yourself and your social life

Recent statistics from Britain and the US show that close to half of all carers of children are the grandparents. Australian statistics from 2006 show that “grandparents are the biggest providers of informal child care for children between birth and 12 years,” according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Particularly babies and toddlers.

However, it’s also been found that providing extensive care for grandchildren has been linked with higher levels of depression and worry, and a decline in health. We suggest you ask yourself if the following is happening:

  • You feel isolated from friends because you’re not free to take part in activities of your own age group
  • You have fewer opportunities to enjoy and indulge your grandkids because you’re parenting them and being the disciplinarian
  • Your health is being affected due to the extra work and stress, even if they’re reasonably well-behaved
  • You feel tired, overworked and cranky.

Clear communication and setting boundaries with your children about the care of the grandkids is absolutely essential. If you agree to provide care, make sure it’s manageable for you and it’s for a regular, set time period. And that you feel you can say no to any care outside of those times if you want.

Remember, you need to take care of your own well-being so you’ll be a happier grandparent to be around. And so you’ll be around for longer! 

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