Should seniors get paid for minding kids?

AN article in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that a survey commissioned by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency shows more than 37 % of grandparents believe they should be paid for taking care of their grandchildren.

"There is a stigma around asking for money," it said.

"It's reasonable to assume that there is a percentage of grandparents who would like to be paid, but feel uncomfortable asking for it."

Still, the vast majority of Australian grandparents - 84 %- say they care for their grandchildren "out of love".

Grandparents are the backstop for parents, especially if they both work full time.

And in today's society, it not unusual for both parents to hold down full time jobs.

Grandparents are pressed into service to take the kids to school or kindy and pick them up after the school day finishes.

Grandparents connect us to the values, stories and history of families and community.

They play a vital role in our community as custodians of individual and cultural memories and provide the unconditional love and care to children and grandchildren.

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humour, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, sweet treats.

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy?

A quote I read recently, and I think sums up this magic of being a Grandparent is: "What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure!"

I have often heard people comment that they give more and do more with their grandchildren than they did with their own children.

Maybe it is because you have more time to give or maybe it is because we don't see them every day and therefore put more effort into the short time spent with them.

Unfortunately for many grandparents, this is not the case as they are separated from grandchildren by the tyranny of distance, by the dislocation of family due to divorce or family feuds, and health issues that prevent grandparents from providing that support parents need.

Many grandparents are child minders whilst parents attend medical appointments, go shopping, go to social engagements or just take a short break from parenting duties. They would not expect to be paid for this pleasurable duty.

Maybe those who think they should be paid for child minding duties are those grandparents who provide ongoing, full day child minding duties thus relieving the parent of the over burden of high cost child minding.

As we age, what better way to relive our childhood than being with our grandchildren?

It gives us that reason to once again to become children ourselves.

We get to play games with them that would otherwise be viewed as ridiculous if we were to play these games by ourselves. The magic that happens for children cared for by grandparents is grandparents connect children to the values, stories and history of our families and our community.

This is like stardust being sprinkled over the lives of children.

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