'The Grand Plan' Partner Toolkit
For many families with children under 5, grandparents fill a critical need for infant-toddler child care that is trusted, affordable, and accessible.
In this resource
Grandparents are out there providing contributions of love, time, and effort in families of every description. This partner toolkit helps early childhood professionals understand those relationships, support parents and grandparents, and share their stories.
- “The Grand Plan: Grandparent Films” and resources for professionals and families
- Sample social media posts and graphics for professionals
- Sample social media posts and graphics for families
- Sample blog post
- Sample newsletter blurb
These are the latest ZERO TO THREE resources to support professionals and families navigating grandparent-provided child care situations. The full suite of resources can be found here.
Resources for professionals
- Video: Grandparent Films: Profiles of three amazing families that have grandparents providing regular child care. Their circumstances are difference but their challenges, gratitude, and requests for support at remarkably similar.
- Webinar: Grandparents as Child Care Providers: Virtual event discussing how grandparents view their role and sharing tips on helping families navigate this essential three-generation relationship.
- Literature Review: Grandparents Who Care: Key findings about the benefits and challenges of grandparent-provided care, with guidance about grandparents’ needs and how to best address them.
Resources for families
- The Grandparent Guide: What’s New? What’s the Same?: For grandparents providing care for young grandchildren, here’s a guide to what’s new and what has stayed the same—from sleeping to mealtimes to setting limits—when it comes to caring for babies and toddlers.
- If You Only Knew: A Tool for Grandparent Caregivers: Provides a way to think about “sharing the care” across generations and guidance for dialogue about the shared tasks of caregiving.
Infographics: Grandparents as caregiver series
- By the Numbers: Who is caring for children under 5 while parents work.
- Building a Child’s Team: What grandparents say about “sharing the care” with their grandkids’ parents.
- Joy and Commitment: What grandparents say about the joy of caring for grandkids.
Sample social media posts for professionals
Hear firsthand from families whose grandparents provide regular child care, and find ZERO TO THREE resources to equip the grandparents in your life with the latest “know how” in child development: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Grandparents provide care for 1 out of 4 children under age 5! How can early childhood professionals help families make the most of this shared care? Check out ZERO TO THREE’s short films and grandparenting resources: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
About 24% of all children under 5 years old are cared for by grandparents. That’s the same percentage as those enrolled in traditional child care! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Hear firsthand from families where #grandparents provide regular #childcare & find resources to equip the #grandparents in your life with the latest know-how in #childdevelopment: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare @ZEROTOTHREE
#Grandparents care for 1 out of 4 children under 5 yrs old! How can #ECE professionals help families make the most of this shared care? Check out @ZEROTOTHREE’s short films & grandparenting resources: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
About 24% of all children under 5 years old are cared for by grandparents. That’s the same % as those enrolled in traditional #childcare! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Sample social media posts for families
Grandparents provide contributions of love, time and effort in families of every description. Hear the stories of three families with different circumstances but remarkably similar feelings about gratitude, challenges, and needs. https://bit.ly/2N347aZ #GrandparentsCare
Will you become a grandparent this year? Find out what’s new and what’s stayed the same when caring for babies and toddlers. http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
One out of four families share child care duties with their grandparents! Are you one of them? Find out what’s new and what’s stayed the same when caring for babies and toddlers. http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Grandparents provide child care for 1 of 4 children under age 5 - that’s the same number of kids as traditional child care! Hear their stories and find the latest research on child development in these ZERO TO THREE grandparenting resources: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Grandparents provide contributions of love, time & effort in families of every description. Hear the stories of 3 fams w different circumstances but remarkably similar feelings abt gratitude, challenges, & needs. https://bit.ly/2N347aZ #GrandparentsCare
Will you become a #grandparent this year? 1 out of 4 families share the #childcare with their #grandparents! Hear their stories & learn abt the latest research on #childdevelopment here: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare @ZEROTOTHREE
1 out of 4 families share #childcare duties with their #grandparents! Are you one of them? Find out what’s new & what’s stayed the same when caring for #babies & #toddlers. http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Grandparents provide child care for 1 of 4 children under 5 - that’s the same number of kids as traditional #childcare! Hear their stories & find the latest research on child development in these @ZEROTOTHREE #grandparenting resources: http://bit.ly/2PpLG2d #GrandparentsCare
Sample blog post
Grandparents Who Care: When Grands Provide Child Care
By Rebecca Parlakian, Senior Director of Programs, ZERO TO THREE
My mom watched my newborn son as I made the transition back to work. One day, I handed him off to her for a nap as I got on a conference call. When he woke, I went to pick him up and found that my mom had put him to sleep on his belly (not on his back, the standard safety practice now for babies). When we talked about it, she explained that putting him down on his tummy was just…automatic, what she had done when she was a young mom. Fortunately – the kid, as the expression goes, was alright.
Little did I know that my family was using one of the most common forms of child care out there: Care by grandparents. The most recent data show that grandparents in the United States care for almost one out of four children under 5 on a regular basis.
To learn more about grandparents’ experiences as care providers, early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE hosted a series of conversations with grandparents who provide child care. We learned there are great rewards to these relationships, but they can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we developed a resource center for parents and professionals, and three short videos showcasing how real-life families are coming together to care for the youngest generation that you can watch here. Here are the highlights:
Grandparents feel confident about caring for young children, but are also open to learning from their adult children. One of our focus group participants told us how she learned about the “back to sleep” campaign from her daughter, much like my mom learned from me. The research shows that this simple shift in sleep practices has led to a reduction in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or SIDS) over time, and grandparents tell us they are open to learning new techniques that keep their favorite little ones safe.
But experience can be the best teacher, and grandparents feel relaxed and secure in their ability to care for their young grandchildren. Unlike new parents who are struggling to figure out the “best” approaches (pacifier or no pacifier? cloth diapers or disposable?), grandparents have the perspective that comes with seeing their own children grow up well. As Yolanda, a grandmother in one of our groups, told us: “We’re a lot more relaxed [than parents are]. We realize things are going to be okay.”
Conflicts between grandparents and their adult children can be challenging to resolve. Grandparents explain how they feel torn at times with balancing their role as parent and grandparent. Our grandparent videos also touch on the challenges that arise when extended families share the care.
Grandparents told us that discussing these differences with their children was not easy. Often they felt as through a lifetime of caregiving experience was invisible to their adult children, as one grandmother shared: “My son thinks he’s Dr. Spock!” New parents, on the other hand, need their own parents to respect their caregiving decisions as they take on the role of mom or dad themselves. That’s why we developed a tool to help families acknowledge one another’s strengths, explore areas of difficulty, and identify a path forward.
Some grandparents report using spanking to discipline. Several grandparents in our focus groups reflected on changing approaches to limit-setting. As one grandmother explained, “It is like, ‘Look. You get these many chances, but you will get your butt spanked, if you don’t…’” She went on to say, “The thing is, now, though, ‘Don’t spank your kids because you make them [aggressive].’” Our grandparenting resource on discipline highlights this important change and explains the latest research on the negative impacts of spanking.
What hasn’t changed, when it comes to caring for young children? Love. Grandparents tell us that caring for grandchildren often brings up special memories of being parents themselves. Explains Carl, a grandfather in our focus groups, “I have a picture of when my daughter was little, and she was holding my hand. We were walking together. My daughter took a picture of me and [my two-year-old grandson] doing the same thing.”
Visit zerotothree.org/grandparentfilms to watch and share our short film series on grandparents who provide child care and access a suite of resources for professionals and families.
Sample newsletter blurb
Grandparents Who Care
For many families with young children, grandparents fill a critical need for infant-toddler child care that is trusted, affordable, and accessible. In fact, grandparents care for one in four children under age 5 on a regular basis.
There are great rewards to these relationships, but the dynamics can be challenging to navigate. Informed by a series of focus groups with grandparents, early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE created a suite of resources to arm professionals with the latest tools and best practices for working with families across generations. Start by checking our the organization’s new short films showcasing how real-life families are coming together to care for our youngest children, then visit the resource center chock-full of information for professionals and caregivers.
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ZERO TO THREE recently set out to find out what “sharing the care” is like for families using grandparent-provided child care, and what can be done to make this experience easier for both generations.