Grandparents baby-sitters represent a fundamental part for the functioning of our society. They are a common figure at the gates of schools and in city parks. They take care of their grandchildren for many hours while the parents work. Thus, almost unwittingly and very often without being aware of it, they become the main educators of the home.
One in six people in the 50-70 age group welcome their grandchildren with some diligence. Among these people, half do it daily and more than 12 hours a day (Research on the elderly, IMSERSO, 2010). The impossibility of compatibility between family and professional life, the lack of economic resources and the emotional security of children push families to rely on grandparents. They can support them when it comes to caring for grandchildren.
The effective incorporation of women into the professional world for their personal fulfillment and of course, for the improvement of the domestic economy has generated a series of needs among families. These are affective, but also refer to the responsibility linked to the youngest in the homes. With this new family structure, grandparents have moved from a role of support to that of a lead figure in the emotional and personal development of their grandchildren, in the same way or even more intensely than the role occupied by own parents.
Babysitters grandparents to 21 th century
Babysitters grandparents of 21 th century have a different role than that occupied by the grandparents of previous eras. The figure of the grandparent as a support and educator has been present throughout history, but the demands of present-day society and family needs have led to the redefinition of the role played by grandparents in present-day society. .
- The increase in life expectancy and active aging programs allow the elderly to have an increasingly better quality of life and thus to be able to dedicate more time and strength to their grandchildren. Living better and longer is the idea that modern medicine is developing. It is not a question of reaching the age of 100 more often, but of doing so without losing quality of life or by delaying the loss as much as possible.
- Economic hardship has often caused families to rely on the help of grandparents to care for children.
They offer a very advantageous economic alternative as many parents cannot afford to pay for a nursery school or daycare for their children. We also often have recourse to the help of grandparents for schedules, or rather for the lack of schedules. Indeed, there is no opening or closing time which allows parents to be more peaceful.
- The incorporation of women into the professional world : Over the past decades, the distribution of tasks within the household has changed significantly. Both fathers and mothers work, which increases the difficulties of reconciling professional and family life. For this, when possible, grandparents are used as an alternative to take care of grandchildren.
Grandparents babysitters, a precious cooperation
Grandparents provide stable emotional support to their grandchildren. Very important emotional and affective bonds are established, the result of shared activity and the feeling of relationship satisfaction.
The grandparent is happy that they can count on someone to encourage them to stay active. To be listened to. To be accompanied. Likewise, the affection and illusion that the grandparent transmits to the child allows the latter to strengthen his confidence and self-esteem.
A close relationship is then established in which the two protagonists play the role of confidant. The child perceives the affection and the closeness of his grandparent which allows to generate bonds of trust. Thus, when he needs support in times of anxiety, he will have recourse to it. In fact, the experience and the invaluable amount of knowledge that grandparents bring is a “school of life” for children. This includes: respect, values, intergenerational games and love for older people.
Rules of common life so as not to “abuse” grandparents baby-sitters
- Establish limits in the education of children. Grandparents can educate and participate in the formation of grandchildren, but they should not override the role and function of parents.
- Consider taking care of grandchildren by grandparents (although they are often very happy to do so).
- Respect the entertainment time and enjoy each member of the family. The elderly must also have time for themselves and devote themselves to activities that are not limited to the care of grandchildren.
- Recognize the help given by grandparents, both from parents and from grandchildren; because without their support, the organization of the home would be very difficult.
It seems that the role of grandparents in the education of grandchildren is increasingly important. Their help for parents is invaluable. They don’t just take care of the grandchildren. They also teach them things and love them with all their hearts. As a society, therefore, we owe them a great deal.