The role of the grandparent in supporting the family unit has never been more vital with grandparents now the most popular form of childcare in Australia. Conservative estimates from the Council on Ageing (COTA) NSW reveal that than 200,000 grandparents across NSW provide almost 13 hours of unpaid, informal childcare each week.
“Grandcare” ranges from occasional babysitting to holiday and after school care, through to taking on full time parental responsibility – up to 15,000 grandchildren are currently living in the permanent care of their grandparents in NSW.
Former Chair of the CCSP NSW/ACT, Trevor Kellam believes that in addition to providing childcare, grandparents can be important partners in supporting their grandchild’s learning. After being actively involved as Catholic school parent for nearly two decades, Trevor has in the past two years become the proud grandfather to Peyton and Ivy.
“As a relatively new grandparent, I’ve been actively involved with caring for my granddaughters and I hope to be engaged with and supportive of their learning once they start school,” he said.
“It’s reassuring to see that our Catholic schools are recognising the benefits of grandparents being engaged with their grandchildren’s education. In addition to providing childcare, grandparents can provide strong support mechanisms for school-aged grandchildren.
They can be great role models and mentors, instil values, pass on traditions and be a wonderful sounding board for children.”
Trevor offers the following advice to the parents of school-aged children.
“Remember to celebrate and recognise the input of the grandparents in your family. “Ensure they receive school newsletters and bulletins.
“Sign them up for emails, show them how to use the school’s websites and encourage them to connect with school staff.
“Even though much has changed over the years, some things haven’t changed. That is the important need for loving and supportive grandparents to be involved in their grandchildren’s schooling.”
Celebrate and acknowledge the grandparents in your life on Grandparents Day in NSW – Sunday 30 October 2016.
NSW Grandparents Day celebrates the role grandparents and older people play in our society – the campaign recognises the diversity of grandparent relationships across age groups, cultural backgrounds, and geographical locations.
Find out more about how you can celebrate NSW Grandparents Day in your local community at grandparentsday.nsw.gov.au.