Two in five grandparents feel like they are being taken for granted – do you? 61



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Do you take care of your grandchildren at the weekend? How about picking them up after school, packing their lunches, and entertaining them for hours on end? Taking on the task of helping out with the grandkids is something many of us are happy to do, whether it’s out of love or because we believe that’s how families should work. For many grandparents though, they say it’s time to cough up the cash and pay them for all their hard work.

A new survey has revealed nearly 40 per cent of grandparents believe they should be paid for taking care of their grandchildren. Grandparents are often (lovingly) used as a replacement for expensive childcare centres, which tend to have lengthly waiting list and exorbitant fees. Having grandparents around to help lighten the load and the financial burden is a vital component in many Australian families.

While we’re more than happy to help our families and spend quality time with our grandchildren, some people are asking: isn’t it only fair we receive compensation for all the time and money we spend on our grandkids?

That’s not to say these grandparents resent looking after their grandchildren. Nearly all of those surveyed said they do it for the love of their family – they just believe they should be paid for doing the job.

On average, Australian grandparents look after their grandkids for 16 hours per week. This is equivalent to a part-time job and involves a significant amount of financial pressure and personal sacrifice. Around 75 per cent of grandparents live close to their children so they can help look after them; 42 per cent make travel and holiday sacrifices; and 30 per cent have changed their work arrangements to suit their grandchildren’s needs.

With all of these sacrifices being made, should we be paying our hard-working grandparents for all their time and effort? For some grandparents it’s already become too much, with one in four saying they wish they didn’t have to provide so much care. For many, the issue is that they’ve spent most of their lives working and were looking forward to a break when they retired. With numerous grandkids though, retirement is less relaxing and more like over-active baby-sitting.

Any suggestion the government should foot the bill for compensating grandparents has already been rebuffed by an unimpressed Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison who said: “For those who are doing the normal thing like my parents do and a lot of peoples’ parents do then, no, the government isn’t considering that.”

The survey did not address where the money should come from, so we have to wonder: should the government compensate grandparents or is it the grandkids’ parents responsibility to cough up the money?

Tell us what you think about this issue.

Should grandparents be paid for looking after their grandkids? How often do you look after your grandchildren, and is it too much?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I can fully understand some grand parents saying they would like to be paid for looking after their grand children. It’s not that they don’t love looking after them but there are costs involved. Especially if they are on a pension. Providing extra food and outings and even home entertainment and sometimes clothes can become quite expensive for an aged pensioner. We all love our grandchildren, but it can often mean a single pensioner grand mother can go without two or three meals a week or have to ask charities to help pay for utilities because she has had to pay out extra for her grand children.

    4 REPLY
    • That’s just plain stupid, instead of asking charities for help, ask the parents to help out, or just say I can’t afford to babysit anymore, why do some parents let their kids walk all over them.

    • Lyn Bradford The only trouble there is that a lot of parents then refuse to allow the grand parents access to their grand children.

    • I think a lot of parents of our age let their kids walk all over them, perhaps if more grandparents stood their ground & demand respect instead of being walked over the results would be much better, I don’t think many parents if (asked by the grandparents) to help provide some food or money for outings would cut off access to the grandchildren, I think when this happens there is a lot more going on in the family than just asking for some support.

    • I don’t know if other granparents are like me but I’d walk over cut glass to have access to my grandchildren every day. With them on both sides of the country this for me is only a dream.

  2. You must be joking, it is not the responsibility of the Taxpayers to pay for EVERYONES child care, that is the responsibility of the child’s parents. OMG there is really something wrong with people who expect everyone to cough up for their children, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you can’t afford to have children and raise them yourself, don’t have them. These selfish people who expect that will be leaving their kids with a massive Tax bill, and on and on it goes. Live within your means.

    3 REPLY
    • Totally agree. We waited 7 years to have our children. We wanted to get ourselves into a secure financial position so I could be a stay at home mum. I think a lot of young people today suffer from the ‘have it all’ mentality.

    • Debbie Bryant , we also started out with a home that was affordable on just one income because they did not accept the wife’s income in case she became pregnant. I think the Banks are in many ways are responsible for changing that rule to include two wages, and yes you are right young people today expect to have the same as those who have built up from small.

  3. This article did not address grandparents rearing grandchildren full time, usually through death of substance abuse of the parents. These people are doing it really tough. There is virtually no assistance or respite care for them.

    3 REPLY
    • These are the only ones that deserve assistance or to be paid, others do it to help their children and can say enough is enough.

    • Yes they need assistance as they are providing support fulltime not just minding them occasionally. We all know how expensive it is to raise a child these days.

  4. We all love our grand kids and dont mind baby sitting from time to time but to tie grandparents down to minding several days a week is a big ask – especially since they have waited for the freedom earnt and some time to do those things like travel etc that comes with those twilight years. They have already done the hard years raising children and life does a circle for a reason – not working and no family to raise means taking on other interests, charity work, learning etc After all if a person takes a role as a carer they are compensated so and not by minding grand kids those places in child minding centres are freed up for other parents……some sort of compensation in a small way would be a show of gratitude.

    1 REPLY
    • I think the parents should pay something to their parents (if they can afford it depends on circumstances) , as it is much less than a child care centre and they are at home in their own environment, especially if it is regular care. I know you want to help but…. you are also entitled to some time for yourself as well to pursue all those interests that were on hold while raising your kids and working and providing the best for them. Occasional care when caught out I see nothing wrong with, but regular care instead of Child care centre or other care avenues and expect not to have to pay for it is not right…
      I know this will upset some people, but they are the responsibility of the parents not the grandparents. Do I think the government should pay, No I do not.

  5. I first cared for granddaughter number 1 for three full days a week and I just loved each and every moment of it. I’ve cared for all my grandchildren since then and it;s been my pleasure to do so. How anyone expects to be paid is beyond me.

  6. we take our grandchild to and from school and look after her till mummy comes home. We do it to help our daughter and no, we do not want payment for it, not from the government and not from our daughter. having said that, if grandparents feel the need to be compensated, then the parents of the children should do that.

  7. Wits the parents responablity to pay the grandparents for their time and expenses when they are choosing to use them as child minders instead of using a Childcare centre. It should be by agreement between parent and grandparent.
    If the parent who was minding the children has become permanently unavailable then those children are orphans and the government needs to provide financial support to whoever becomes the caregiver.

  8. No I don’t thing they should be paid by the government, if it’s to hard or to expensive just say No, there’s no law that says we have to look after our grandchildren & if it’s to expensive to look after them tell the parents you need money to help cover costs, I consider it a privilege to have all of mine & will get my hands on them every chance I can, I’m not looking forward to the day when they’d rather spend time with their friends instead of me, & sooner or later that day will come.

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