Grandmothers and grandfathers looking after grandchildren

Children Australia

This article presents a snapshot of findings from a research project about the experiences of Australian grandparents who regularly care for grandchildren.

The authors wish to thank the grandparents who generously shared their stories for this research.

The time grandparents share with grandchildren takes many forms. Grandchildcare is defined as time when grandparents are responsible for the care and wellbeing of grandchildren, usually in the absence of a parent. In some cases, a grandparent may be undertaking the tasks of grandchildcare alongside a parent. This is different to "seeing" grandchildren, which is characterised by social time without caregiving responsibilities, often in the company of parents.

This mixed-methodology research had two components. The first component involved a secondary analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (HILDA) Release 7.  A total of 3,277 grandparents were identified in the HILDA data set (1,343 grandfathers, 1,934 grandmothers). Part two of the research involved qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (n = 14) with six grandfathers and eight grandmothers who cared, to varying degrees, for at least one grandchild.

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