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Grandparent playgroups on the rise

Playgroup Australia has seen a substantial rise in grandparent-only playgroups, as parents find it more difficult to afford childcare or get placements.

According to the Department of Social Services, the costs of long day care will rise by 6.5 per cent this financial year, and 7.3 per cent by July 2017 – a huge burden for parents. This explains why so many parents are turning to their children’s grandparents for childcare.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, grandparents are the most popular providers of informal childcare in Australia today. On average, grandparents spend 16 hours every week caring for each of their grandchildren, which adds around $5.54 billion to the Australian economy.

Pam Cahir, Chair of the Playgroup Australia board, is a strong advocate of playgroups and, as a grandparent herself, understands what they mean for grandparents.

“Many grandparents are playing an increasingly important role in their grandchildren’s early years. Playgroups, particularly for grandparents who care for their grandchildren whilst the parent’s work, are invaluable in providing new support networks for them.  Just as young parents do, grandparents rely on these groups as places where concerns are shared and support given.”

The significance of playgroups for grandparents has been highlighted by Alan Hayes AM, Distinguished Professor of Family Studies and Director of the Family Action Centre, Newcastle University.

“Many parents balance complex work and family responsibilities. Playgroups continue to provide invaluable support, both to parents and to the increasing numbers of grandparents who share the care of their children’s children,” says Hayes.

Visit Playgroup Australia to find a playgroup in your area.

Do you care for your grandchildren while their parents work?

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Alana Lowes

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