We have already addressed the issue of the presence of grandparents in the households of pregnant women participating in the Cohort ’18 study in our previous analysis. In doing so, we found that the vast majority of pregnant women (86%) did not live in the same household as their parents, i.e., the grandparents of the cohort baby. However, nearly five percent of them live together with a grandmother, one percent with grandfather and 8 percent with both a grandmother and grandfather (of the unborn cohort baby). We then highlighted that this might be related to the fact that the majority of these pregnant women are expecting their first child; thus they are most likely young and at the beginning of their family career and are unlikely to be able to move to a self-sustained household. In this segment, we look at how often children in the study meet with their grandparents.
In the second wave of our research, when cohort babies were six months old, we asked mothers about how many living grandparents their child had and how often they have had contact with grandparents. We considered everyone the respondent considered a grandparent, regardless of whether they were blood relatives or not. Here, our unit of analysis is 8365 six-months-old toddlers, of whom 8122 are single children, 240 are toddler twins, and three toddlers are triple twins.
53 six-months-olds do not have any living grandparents (0.6%), as reported by their mother; 3 percent of them have one, 13 percent have two, 31 percent have three, and 51 percent have four or more grandparents (Figure 1a).We were also curious to know about the total number of grandparents a baby meets at least once a month; that is, meets relatively often (Figure 1b). Nearly 4% of the children do not meet their grandparents as often as every month (including the 0.6% whose grandparents are deceased). Overall, 95% of children frequently see at least one grandparent, and 31% see all four grandparents at least monthly (or even more regularly).
Naturally, the number of grandparents often seen closely relates to the number of grandparents who are alive. Figure 2 shows the number of frequently seen grandparents broken down by the number of grandparents alive. Of the children who have one living grandparent, 76% also meet them at least every month. For those with two grandparents, this proportion is 64%, for babies with three grandparents 58%, and finally, of children with four or more living grandparents, 61% of them meet all four grandparents at least monthly.
Our final question within this topic was on how often do the six-months-olds meet the grandparent with whom they meet the most regularly? The most common response was daily (39%), then several times a week (27%) and weekly or biweekly (22%). The mothers of 42 six-months-olds said that not only do they not meet their grandparents every month, they do not meet them at all.