By Rachel Brauner
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 2.7 million grandparents responsible for raising their grandchildren in 2019, and this number is projected to continue to rise. Nearly 8 million children in the United States live in households headed by grandparents or other relatives (Lofquist, D. et al., 2012). Of those children living with grandparents, approximately 2.5 million are being raised primarily by their grandparents, without any parents present in the household (Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center, 2015).
Tips for Grandparents
Raising grandchildren can be a challenging task for grandparents, but it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Here are some tips for grandparents who are raising their grandkids:
- Seek out resources and support: Raising grandchildren can be overwhelming, so it is important for grandparents to seek out resources and support. This may include counseling services, support groups, financial assistance programs, and legal assistance.
- Set boundaries and routines: Establishing clear boundaries and routines can help children feel safe and secure. Grandparents should set consistent expectations around behavior, routines, and household rules.
- Communicate openly and honestly: Communication is key to building strong relationships with grandchildren. Grandparents should encourage open and honest communication, listen to their grandchildren’s needs, and express their own thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner.
- Foster a positive relationship with parents: Maintaining a positive relationship with the parents of the grandchildren can be challenging, but it is important for the well-being of the children. Grandparents should try to communicate respectfully with the parents and focus on the best interests of the children.
- Prioritize self-care: Raising grandchildren can be stressful and exhausting, so it is important for grandparents to prioritize self-care. This may include getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.
- Focus on building a strong family bond: Grandparents should focus on building a strong family bond with their grandchildren, which can include spending quality time together, creating special traditions, and showing affection and support.
- Advocate for the needs of the children: Grandparents may need to advocate for their grandchildren’s needs, including educational, health, and social needs. This may involve working with schools, healthcare providers, and community organizations to ensure that the children have access to the resources and support they need.
Resources for Support
Raising grandchildren can be challenging, but with the right resources, support, and strategies, grandparents can provide a loving and stable home for their grandchildren. There are various resources available for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren in the United States. Here are some examples:
- GrandFacts: This is a website that provides information and resources for grandparents and other relatives raising children. It includes state-specific resources and information on legal issues, financial assistance, and support groups.
- National Foster Parent Association: Although grandparents raising grandchildren are not technically foster parents, the National Foster Parent Association offers resources and support that can be helpful for them, such as advocacy and training.
- AARP: The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides a Grandparent Information Center that offers resources and advice for grandparents raising grandchildren. This includes information on legal issues, financial assistance, and support groups.
- Generations United: This is a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting intergenerational collaboration and support. They offer resources for grandparents raising grandchildren, including legal information, support groups, and advocacy.
- Social Security Administration: Grandparents raising grandchildren may be eligible for financial assistance through the Social Security Administration, including Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Local Support Groups: There may be local support groups in your community for grandparents raising grandchildren. These groups can provide emotional support, as well as resources and information on local services.
- Kinship Navigator Programs: Many states have Kinship Navigator Programs that provide information and support for grandparents and other relatives raising children. These programs can help with legal issues, financial assistance, and connecting with other resources in the community.
Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center. 2013-2015 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). Estimates represent a three-year average. Accessed May 15, 2017.
Lofquist, D. et al. Households and Families 2010: U.S., 2010 Census Briefs C2010BR-14. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012.