Can grandparents in England babysit their grandchildren during lockdown?

Monday, 1st June 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 11:32 am
This is what you need to know about grandparents being able to babysit their grandchildren (Photo: Shutterstock)

As lockdown rules across England begin to ease, grandparents are hopeful they’ll be able to babysit their grandchildren again soon.

With workplaces beginning to gradually open up again, parents will also be looking for childcare.

But what are the rules around grandparents looking after children? Here’s what you should know.

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Can grandparents babysit their grandchildren?

The advice from the government website, which was last updated on 31 May, stated that “the advice for those aged 70 or over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household”.

The government explains that while those over 70 can be fit and healthy and have no underlying health conditions, there is still a higher risk of the virus doing more serious damage to elderly members of society.

While lockdown rules are easing, it is still prohibited for people to visit friends and family inside their homes, so allowing grandparents to babysit their grandchildren is still no longer allowed.

The new guidelines from the government allows more social activity outdoors, so grandparents can visit their grandchildren, with the government explaining: “You can spend time outdoors with members of your own household and, from Monday 1 June, you can meet in a gathering of up to six people you do not live with.

“This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace.”

You will still have to abide by social distancing rules when meeting with people outside of your household outdoors.

Can parents access other childcare?

From June 1, the government has stated that childminders can look after children of all ages, “in line with their current Ofsted registration, and within usual limits on the number of children they care for”.

“Now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), from 1 June we are encouraging all children to attend childcare - it will be no longer necessary for parents to keep children at home if they can,” the government said.

How can grandparents keep in touch with grandchildren?

Thanks to the internet, there are lots of different options for grandparents to get valuable face to face time with their grandchildren, even if it’s through a screen.

Video calls through the likes of Zoom, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and others are an easy way to facilitate video calls from one person to another.

After reporting that “37% of [their] surveyed users said they are concerned about their mental health and are taking steps to keep positive and stay connected to others”, Gransnet recommends the following ways to help the elderly keep in touch with family:

  • Family WhatsApp groups to allow for daily check ins
  • Video calling through FaceTime, Skype or other video calling services
  • Sharing photos on Facebook
  • Virtual pub quiz evenings which can be made kid friendly in order to get grandchildren involved
  • Communal family meals on video - start by setting a time for your Sunday lunch and everyone can log in and eat together