Grandads who Care

STEP forward grandad for some long overdue recognition. For far too long the popular depiction of the family has centred on mum, dad and gran.

Grandad has been erased, or consigned to the potting shed, or shut away in the spare room, hrrumphing at the decline of radio programmes and daytime television.

Now the truth has emerged. A report by the Daycare Trust reveals that grandfathers, instead of donning slippers and walking away from family duties, play an important part in caring for their children’s offspring. The study found that 40 per cent of grandparent carers are male. It also found that 36 per cent of British families use grandparents for care.

Across the UK there are four million grandparents providing an average of ten hours of childcare a week. Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, declares it is a myth that women bear the brunt of childcare.

And grandfathers can be a vital learning resource, teaching young people the wily crafts of catapult-making, fruit-poaching and how to leave the kitchen at washing up time without anyone noticing.

Grandads can also be generous with pocket money. Good behaviour often springs from such invisible fees.