For grandparents , spending time in the company of their grandchildren is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things in life, even if it can sometimes become onerous: sometimes parents could end up ‘taking advantage’ of their availability , perhaps unconsciously, avoiding having to invest time and money in finding a babysitter . However, advancing age does not always guarantee the energy necessary to stem the vivacity of the little ones, which is why the experts have asked themselves a question: should grandparents be paid to look after their grandchildren?
This topic has been debated for a long time and opinions are conflicting: if some believe that the role of grandparents does not involve any monetary compensation , others are of the opinion that, if the time spent with the children is significant , they should be paid in the same way as a baby sitter.
A survey of 2,000 people showed that 45% of respondents believe grandparents should be paid, 29% that compensation is necessary if the commitment is constant and regular, while 6% believe that payment should be given in case of holidays or whole days spent looking after the grandchildren. Those who, on the other hand, said they were against it , believe that grandparents are still looked after by their children in other ways (34%) and that the compensation should not be recognized under any circumstances (21%).
What is the opinion of the experts on this? Teresa Ghilarducci , economics teacher at the New School for Social Research, argues that having grandparents who take care of their grandchildren without time limits is certainly a good deal for mothers and fathers, but it is not automatically so for their parents too . Grandparents, she says, could be under a lot of stress dealing with their grandchildren, negatively impacting their mental and physical health.
On the other hand, some studies suggest that caring for grandchildren benefits the health and well-being of grandparents, especially when they are not the only ones caring for them. but they retain a secondary role in care and management. What do those directly involved think of it?
“I don’t want to get paid, but… Some help with the extra household chores caused by the children would be nice. When I talk about it, I always hear how much they already have to do” and “I see my very active 3-year-old nephew three full days a week, but I still like to do it. I don’t get paid, but my daughter-in-law often takes me out to dinner . Also, she and my son gave me a generous Christmas present. They show their appreciation in many ways,” were the responses of two grandparents, but another revealed: “Yes, I charge to take care of my grandson and I feel that this is right. It seems to me that it teaches theresponsibility . I like the extra money, so I can spend it on him and the other three grandkids without feeling like I’ve used the family’s money.”
Most grandparents, however, say they would never accept money to spend time with their grandchildren, even though caring for children could mean additional expenses. The decision in this regard is up to individual families and situations, with respect and well-being of the individual parties. What is your personal idea about it?