Baby Boomers Who ‘Wish They Had Grandkids’ Take Up Babysitting

grandparents

 

 

Babysitting has traditionally been a pocket money earner for teenagers, but website Childcare.com is reporting a six-fold increase in over 50s offering their services.

Around two-thirds (68pc) of older childminders said they did not have children or grandchildren of their own to look after.

Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk said: “People are leaving it longer to have children and it is definitely a possibility that they were wishing they had grandchildren themselves.”

As millions of career-focused young women are choosing to have children later, just 26 percent of middle-class women are now becoming grandmothers by their 60th birthdays, according to Age UK.

Among working class women this rises to 56 per cent. Approximately 7 million grandparents, around half of the grandparent population, are aged under 65, with just 1.5 million aged under 50.

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What it’s like to be a young grandparent

Today, the average age of becoming a grandparent is 50 years for women and a couple of years older for men. Today’s grandparents may range in age from 30 to 110.Their biggest interest is in finding a grandparent name.

According to the site, High 50, perceptions, statistics – they’re funny old things, aren’t they? Last month, when we heard that a couple with the combined age of 25 had become Britain’s youngest parents – and that the baby’s new maternal grandmother was only 24 – no doubt we shook our heads and feared the end of civilisation.

Why? Because, though we knew nothing about the children in question, we assumed they lived on Chav Street, where the feckless poor breed without considering the implications for themselves, their offspring or the wider society. Just look, we said, at what this world is coming to.

Except it isn’t. The number of under-age parents in Britain today is falling, mainly and regrettably through abortions, though recession, contraception and education may be playing a part.

Until the late Sixties, it was perfectly normal to have children in your early twenties, whatever your social class.

Consequently, as you might expect, the average age of first-time parents across the UK is also rising, continuing a trend that began in the late Sixties. And the inevitable result is that the average age of grandparents is on the up, too.

In 2010, the current average age of first-time grandparents was around 47. Yes, 47. And why so young? (Or so seemingly young, since we 50-plusses now feel at the peak of our powers.) However, that average age, according to AARP is now 52.

grandkidsThe reason the age was so low is that, until the late Sixties, it was perfectly normal to have children in your early twenties, whatever your social class. So, say you were born in 1960 and first became a parent in 1985, your offspring would today be 29 – which happens to be the current national average for first-time motherhood.

If you find that surprising, then you’ve probably bought into the media myth of ‘delayed motherhood’, as practiced by an elite of successful, wealthy women.

In fact, for every British mother who gives birth over the age of 40, there are 28 under 40. And considering that many of the older group will be on at least their second or third child, it puts into perspective how rare such older first-timers as Emma Thompson and Helen Fielding really are.

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