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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Should grandparents get childcare training?
A new report says grandparents should be given childcare training to help busy parents.

The study, commissioned by the Scottish Executive, says "informal" childcare providers - such as relatives or friends - could be offered training to improve the quality of care.

A spokesperson said the executive did not want to "over-regulate" informal care and risk creating "a nanny state".

It stressed that it was focusing on improving formal childcare provision.

We asked if you thought that grandparents should be offered formal training or should the Scottish Executive be looking for other ways to help out busy parents. The following reflects the balance of opinion received:


It is unfortunate that this study is published so hot on the heels of the debate regarding parents' smacking rights, as it almost by-proxy suggests that grandparents are in need of training due to the likelihood that they may be more inclined to smack. On the whole, grandparents have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt...long before the so called experts dreamt up this paperwork.
Nick, Warwickshire

How can grandparents be looking after children - most will still be working past retirement age because they can't live on a pension!!
Nicole, London, UK

Perhaps people should give more careful thought to having children. After all, at the end of the day, the children are here because of choices their parents make. Although I'm sure that if and when possible grandparents are usually delighted to help out with the children, parents should not forget that grandparents are not surrogate parents!
N Sinclair, Edinburgh

Most grandparents provide care out of love for their grandchildren - it should not become a chore
Linda, Hull
I'm a grandmother, and I work full-time in a responsible job. I'm also studying for a postgraduate qualification. I love my grandchildren, but, like many women my age, I have a career and life of my own, and I'm not available to provide childcare (or other caring services) on the cheap for the government!
Carole Hanson, Brighton, England

Parents who prefer to leave their children in the care of grandparents who have undertaken formal training should also be willing to pay the grandparents for the childcare duties. If they leave their children with an accredited carer then they have to pay. Most grandparents provide care out of love for their grandchildren - it should not become a chore.
Linda, Hull, UK

I simply can't believe it! Another PC way to spend tax revenue.
Tom, Ipswich

They are your kids, treat them as such or don't have them - if you want the career and lifestyle don't expect Grandma and Granddad to bear the burden. Yes I do have a 10-month-old baby and before we had her it was agreed no grandparents were to be involved as childcare so both of us could work - it isn't fair on them or our child.
Andy Rouse, St Annes, England

So, according to some, the world has changed so much since grandparents brought up children, somehow limiting their ability to be responsible carers. Well how about this - bring up your own kids and leave gran and grandpa to get on with their own lives.
Gill, Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Absolutely ludicrous! The Scottish Executive seem to have a penchant for wasting our money!
Dianne, London (but a Scot)

Who will train the trainers? I know, let's recruit some unemployed grandparents to share their expertise.
Barry P, Havant England

Parents should look after their own children, not seek to maintain the commercialisation of child-rearing by choosing to outsource life's greatest responsibility
Matt Nailon, Bath
My Dad-in-law is retired and looks after our son full time while we are at work. The educational stimulation that Dad is able to offer our son is a heck of a lot more than any childcare provider could. Our son is very advanced for his age and I wouldn't have him staying with anyone else while we are at work.
Natalie, UK

I believe it would be inappropriate for the government to target informal childcare arrangements. This should always be left at the discretion of the main carers and can often work out very well for grandparents, parents and the child. However, it is apparent that the government needs to do more to support working parents and carers. Ideally, workplace nurseries should be given more investment.
Julie Dowds, Glasgow, Scotland

Parents should look after their own children, not seek to maintain the commercialisation of child-rearing by choosing to outsource life's greatest responsibility to fit some arbitrary internalised concept of lifestyle.
Matt Nailon, Bath, UK

What extra hidden dangers are there today than when my parents were children?! As far as I can see, grandparents are brilliant carers for their offspring's offspring. Not only do they love them and make sure they are safe and happy, but they can also teach children about their families. I'm sure any Gran or Granddad could cope with whatever demands are made of them if they choose to take care of their grandchildren.
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex UK

I suppose despite raising kids of their own the current generation of grandparents might not have fully subscribed to the right-on, politically correct collection of whinging about children's "rights" and how the little darlings have to be reasoned with even if they are trying to pull the tail off the dog.
John B, UK

So that they stop using the effective and age-old techniques they used when bringing up their own children and can be taught the namby-pamby, wishy-washy, failing brand of child "care" we're supposed to use these days?
Iain, Cambs, UK

Why would you limit this to grandparents. I am about to become a parent and some practical hints and tips on how to handle tantrums, deal with crying, saying no etc would be much appreciated.
Paul, Glasgow

I don't think this is at all required. But I do think parents-to-be should be given training as its quite clear few of them know how to take care of a baby or child.
Jill, UK

One solution to the issue of the cost and availability of childcare provision would surely be to increase the wages of the main bread winner (whether the father or the mother) in the family and thus removing the need for both parents to work. The best care that a child could have is to be with the natural parents. In the majority of families where both partners work this is done as a matter of necessity not choice.
Sean, Bournemouth

All those grandparents who never raised children should be given childcare training if needed. Oh but we are missing out on one thing, how can a person be a grandparent if that person never raised their own children. While its highly unlikely, if there is any such case then maybe giving them childcare training might be appropriate.
Toosy, Guildford, England

I think the only people who need parenting classes are those who raised politicians. As my mum, now a grandparent, used to say to me, "Don't stick you nose in, where it doesn't belong!"
Michael, Hampshire

Why would you limit this to grandparents. I am about to become a parent and some practical hints and tips on how to handle tantrums, deal with crying, saying no etc would be much appreciated.
Paul, Glasgow

These grandparents need paying, not training.
David Kerr, Paisley

Ludicrous. Grandparents come ready qualified by definition. There is no significant difference to children now than 30 years ago. They eat, sleep, play and go to the loo. One might argue that grandparents can't relate to children as well because of the age difference but then some people are grandparents at 32 years old, long before other people have even become parents! Add to that the fact that people get "old" at all ages. My problem is that if I have children (I'm only 38, so still a bit young for that sort of thing) their grandparents will live 170 miles away. That would mean an early start each morning!
Roger, UK

What a cheek! The only training needed is in manners and common sense for the not-so-bright person who put forward this insult to grandparents who have been more than capable of doing UNPAID caring up to now. These grandparents need paying, not training
David Kerr, Paisley, Scotland

Training grandparents on childcare! - what an insult to their intelligence. My partner's mother already has our one-year-old daughter and she also looks after our two school-aged daughters until my partner returns from work. Without her help one of us would have to stop working. Training on childcare for grandparents, stop smacking of children, when is the government going to start tackling real issues?
Jason Waldron, Manchester, UK

I think that the money should be spent on giving a lot of "parents" child-care training. People grow up without looking after younger siblings, or for that matter pets, and then don't realise that looking after any significantly helpless and dependent thing is extremely demanding. Send them out to the country to look after some animals - that would solve two problems at least.
Gordon Pearce, Glasgow

While grandparents did obviously raise children at some point, we must remember that it was a very long time ago.
Ruth, Warrington

I think grandparents who wish to look after their grandchildren should absolutely be given childcare training. As an adult, I can now objectively see how my parents raised me, and there is no way I'd let them look after any children I might have, as a result.
Anna, Northamptonshire

What a load of nonsense! Not grandparents - but maybe we should think in terms of demanding some level of demonstrable commitment and suitability from prospective parents before they are allowed to have children.
Nigel, Redhill, uk

Absolutely. While grandparents did obviously raise children at some point, we must remember that it was a very long time ago. Modern children are very different, and more fangled. I would suggest that there is a test at the end of the course that the grandparents have to pass before they are allowed to be left alone with children. This would ensure the elderly would-be baby-sitters don't just pay lip service to the course and actually take something in.

Advice changes over the years, so maybe a refresher course would be helpful. It's quite possible that the grandparents did not use car seats etc with their own kids and need help with these type of things.
Ruth, Warrington, UK

Why do grandparents need to be given childcare training when they have brought children of their own? What grandparents have to offer is quite different from that of parents, and should be accepted as such, so I really cannot understand why the question even arises. Parents know their parents and if they don't think they are suitable carers for their children, they should make other arrangements. In an ideal world grandparents are the best people, apart from parents, to look after children, but it must be accepted that their role, and what they offer, differs from that of parents.
Ruth Gordon, Fife

Absolutely ludicrous! My parents take care of my children whilst I work and they need no training whatsoever. They are cared for in a loving, caring environment and have one to one attention that far exceeds anything a childminder can offer them. A childminder would never love my children the way my parents do and it is essentially for this reason I asked them to be the sole source of my childcare whilst I worked. What an insult to grandparents!
Karen, Berkshire

I believe this to be a daft suggestion. Grandparents, by and large are already qualified in childcare. Maybe not so nifty but this is more than offset by their experience and somewhat higher "tolerance".
DS, Newcastle

Grandparents have already demonstrated that they can successfully raise children. Isn't it the parents who could most benefit from childcare lessons?
Simon Richardson, London

I agree that grandparents should be given childcare training, if only because the world has changed so much since they were bringing up their own children. It would also help parents who are in the benefit trap, who use extended family as carers because they do not want to leave them with strangers. If grandparents were registered as approved childminders, the parent would be entitled to receive help from Working Tax Credit to pay for their child's care. What could be more sensible than this? It means that children would benefit from being cared for in a loving family environment while their parent feels supported from a financial aspect.
Debbie Williamson, Greater Manchester, UK

Surely they've already had children, and by extension would already know how to care for a child. Am I missing the point of what a GRANDPARENT is?
Dave, Stevenage, UK

Grandparents have already demonstrated that they can successfully raise children. Isn't it the parents who could most benefit from childcare lessons?
Simon Richardson, London, UK

This government can't find enough ludicrous projects on which to spend the taxpayers money.
Lois Gordon, UK

Talk about teaching your granny to suck eggs.
Joe, Alexandria, Scotland
This is a joke, yes? I'm sure it must be... I have three grandchildren and do a full-time job, as I would imagine do most of today's grandparents. I think it's about time the education departments and the government realised we are not childcare on the cheap. As much as we love our grandchildren we've usually had enough of them over the weekend and holidays. We've done our child rearing on our own. It's the next generation's turn...
Angela, Newcastle England

I think a more appropriate questions would be : For the good of the gene pool, should whoever came up with this report be allowed to have a children?
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK

I have to say I disagree with what some of these people are saying. My mother looks after my son part-time and does a wonderful job, however my mother-in-law also wanted to look after my little boy but we had to remove him from her care a year ago. We found that he was being given food he shouldn't eat (he was milk- intolerant and we provided his meals) regardless of what we said; he was left to play out in the sun with no sun hat or sun cream; he was also allowed to play in the kitchen whilst they were cooking at the oven. So yes, while some grandparents do not need training, there are those who have not accepted that times have changed and are blissfully unaware of hidden dangers. If grandparents want to look after grandchildren (and I say want because it should be a choice) then parents wishes must be respected and if a refresher course is needed it should be embraced as a means of development and not a criticism of their care.
Tracey, Cleveland, England

I agree that grandparents should be given childcare training, if only because the world has changed so much since they were bringing up their own children.
Debbie Williamson, Greater Manchester
I cannot work purely because of the difficulties in getting childcare for a full day. The costs of childcare are so ridiculously high that a childcare place costs more than I used to earn as a professional. Unfortunately in this financial climate "Nanny" works as well. Nursery places are rarely available all day, so what are we to do?
Martin Boulger, Uxbridge, Middx

Talk about teaching your granny to suck eggs !! Daft.
Joe, Alexandria, Scotland

I think many parents need training before giving birth to their children, Older people were/are better child carers than the new generation
peter, Sheffield UK



SEE ALSO:
Grandparent childcare call made
06 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Grandparents are a baby boon
13 Sep 02 |  Business



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