Grandmother knows best: Half of grandparents teach their grandchildren domestic skills

October 17, 2014

GrandparentsMany Brits often lament the loss of ‘the good old days’ with the prevalence of home cooking, baking and other domestic skills. However, it seems that the nation’s grandparents are ensuring these skills aren’t lost on the next generation, as new research from Mintel reveals that 55% of parents say their children’s grandparents play a key part in teaching their children some form of domestic task.

Indeed, whilst some parents look ahead to a time when their adult children are able to fend for themselves, it seems that Britain’s grandparents are not content to take a hands-off approach to their grandchildren. Indeed, three in ten (30%) parents claim their children’s grandparents play a key part in teaching their children to cook and bake and nearly a quarter (23%) say they play a fundamental role in teaching their children gardening. Furthermore, 12% of grandparents with grandchildren aged 10-18 teach them sewing or knitting and 11% with children aged 8-18 DIY and decorating.

However, Mintel’s research also shows that grandparents are not just teaching their children domestic tasks, but also life essentials. Over a quarter (28%) of parents say their children’s grandparents are helping them learn to read and write and 10% of brave grandparents even step in to potty train. Over one in 10 (12%) parents with children aged 0-9 years also say their children’s grandparents help with bathing and washing their children and getting them to brush their teeth.

Jack Duckett, Lifestyles, Household and Personal Care Analyst, at Mintel said:

“There has been much media discussion about children growing up in a technology-focussed world, which means that whilst they possess a range of modern life skills, they are often behind in terms of basic household skills, such as cooking, cleaning, mending and simple home improvements. However grandparents today are stepping in and supporting their grandchildren’s development in a variety of different ways, ranging from teaching them to cook and write to brushing their teeth and potty training. Grandparents enjoy being part of their grandchildren’s lives wherever possible and, with many consumers in this age group being retired, they have the time to help.”

Furthermore, it seems that grandparents are also giving away money as well as time. Indeed, a third (34%) of parents with children aged 5-18 in their household say their youngest child receives pocket money from their grandparents. Additionally, nearly a quarter (23%) of parents say that grandparents put money into their child’s savings account and one in 10 (10%) parents receive financial support for their child’s education. Moreover, one in seven (15%) parents say that their children are taken on holiday by their grandparents.

However, Mintel’s research also shows that parents in a secure financial situation are more likely to receive monetary support from grandparents. One in three (29%) parents who are in a healthy financial situation say that grandparents add money to their children’s savings account, compared with 16% of parents who are in a tight financial situation, and 19% who are struggling or in trouble.

Grandchildren are also turning to their grandparents for a shoulder to cry on, with one in five parents (20%) agreeing that grandparents offer emotional support to their children and listen to their problems, rising to 29% amongst single parents. Single parents are also more likely to seek support from grandparents at bedtime, with one in six (17%) single parents saying grandparents help put their children to bed compared to 8% of married parents.

“Increasing financial pressures are resulting in a growing number of parents balancing work with raising children, which in turn is leading to a greater number of grandparents stepping in to help with day-to-day childcare duties, as well as financial assistance. This strong reliance on grandparents, reflects the growing financial pressures on parents to go back to work after having children, as well as the high price of childcare.” Jack concludes.

Mintel’s Families UK 2014 report is available to purchase priced £1750.

Press review copies of the report and interviews with Lifestyles, Household and Personal Care Analyst Jack Duckett, are available on request from the press office.

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