Advice for grandparents

Children lucky enough to grow up knowing their grandparents mostly find it an enriching relationship. Your grandchild might see you as a person with whom they can have fun, and you have all the pleasure of being with children without the responsibilities of being a parent. Many grandparents tell us that this has helped them learn more about disability and strengthened all the family relationships.

In this article

Supporting your grandchild’s parents

Helping your disabled grandchild

Tips for grandparents from grandparents

We asked some grandparents to share their experiences – here are their tips:

As the child grows up

“I think that the time when a young person’s difficulties and worries may become more obvious to him or herself, may be the very time when they are more reluctant to draw attention to themselves, therefore problems are often overlooked, causing even more anxiety for the young person.”

Disabled children become young people and then disabled adults. They don’t grow out of the condition. In fact you could say that they grow into it. The challenges they face not only don’t go away, they in fact become more complex. At first glance they may appear to be fine, but they still need continued support and understanding. You can read more about this in our section on sex, relationships and growing up.

All this means that you can still have a very valuable role to play. This could be by taking the young person out (a show, a football match, a shopping expedition, a new activity or just a pizza or coffee). You could offer to help with any schoolwork that might be causing difficulties, or just being a good listener. Teenagers and young adults don’t always find it easy to be open about their difficulties, but may be very happy to find someone they can talk to who isn’t a parent or teacher.

And don’t forget that parents also still need a break or a sympathetic ear – it can be hard constantly hearing about other young people’s exploits and achievements when your son or daughter is finding growing up a frustrating process.

Financial help for caring grandparents

If you are helping the parents by providing a substantial amount of care to your grandchild, you might be able to claim certain benefits like Carer’s Allowance.

Your eligibility will depend on a number of factors, such as income and whether anyone else is already claiming as a carer for that child. Visit our benefits and tax credits pages to find out more about financial support, or call our freephone helpline.