Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

I noticed a few weeks ago in Mission Friends that he started calling his grandfather “Daddy.” For circumstances far beyond his control, C is being raised by his grandparents. They faithfully bring him to Mission Friends every week, and he has always called his grandparents Mawmaw and Pawpaw. When we talk about mommys and daddys in Mission Friends, we try to refer to Mawmaw and Pawpaw also. A red flag went up in my mind when I heard C calling him Daddy. I imagine there is some confusion on his part when he knows that other preschoolers have a mommy and daddy.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren. According to the US Census Bureau, “In 1970, about 3 percent of children lived in grandparent-maintained households; about twice that many (6 percent) lived in grandparent-maintained households in 2012.”1 In some of these homes the parents are also present, but in many the grandparents have sole responsibility for the care of their grandchildren.

In more and more families, grandparents are stepping up to the plate to care for their grandchildren.

As a Mission Friends leader, you will be likely to care for a preschooler who is living with grandparents. This may be for economic reasons or family issues such as divorce of the child’s parents, illness, incarceration, or addiction. Whatever the reason, we can see this as an opportunity to minister to a family in a variety of ways.

  • ŸCommit to pray for the grandparents. Pray that they will have the energy needed in providing daily care for a preschooler. Pray for wisdom and strength. Pray they will seek God and guide their grandchildren to know and trust in God.
  • Keep communication open with the grandparents. Talk with them to find out if they have needs.
  • Listen to the things they say to find if there is a need you can meet. Sometimes just listening is meeting a need.
  • Be sensitive to include grandparents as you talk with preschoolers about families.
  • Invite the grandchild to go to the park with your family in order to give the grandparents a break.
  • Go together with other preschool teachers in your church to take a meal to this family once a month or once a quarter.
  • Be sensitive to family situations when making gifts or cards with preschoolers for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
  • If their grandchild is enrolled in a weekday preschool, find out if financial help is needed for an enrollment fee or supply fee.
  • Keep information about the family confidential.
  • Send a note, email, or text message of encouragement to the grandparents.
  • Show God’s love to the preschooler and grandparents. Your loving presence in the Mission Friends classroom each week gives stability and security to the child while at church. You can be an example of Christ’s love to these preschoolers and their grandparents.

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1Renee R. Ellis and Tavia Simmons, Coresident Grandparents and Their Grandchildren: 2012, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, October 2014, p. 3.

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