In children’s books and in old movies, grandparents look and act their parts. Grandma is a round and cuddly cookie baker, and Grandpa plays catch – slowly – in the back yard with his young charges.
The good old days, when grandparents in reality reflected fictional grandparents. They were content at home, wearing age-appropriate clothes. They didn’t work way past retirement age or, when retired, didn’t declare that instead of babysitting the grandchildren, it was time for them to have some fun.
A recent U.S. Census report might surprise 30-something parents who complain that their baby boomer parents aren’t doing much babysitting.
In 2011, 24 percent of preschoolers of working mothers were cared for by grandparents; an increase from 21 percent in 1997.
And as this graphic shows, grandparents still spend a lot of hours per week helping with child care for moms who work outside the home and for moms who don’t.
“Child care arrangements and their costs are significant issues for parents, relatives, care providers, policymakers, and anyone concerned about children,” according to the U.S. Census report “Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011.”
Boomer grandparents are still concerned. And involved.