Childcare from July 4: Can grandparents look after grandchildren?

Parents needing childcare during the pandemic this year will have had few options available to them. With schools closed for most year groups and social distancing in place, those working from home or furloughed have had extra responsibilities in caring for others with them at home. Now the country is starting to open up again new options are emerging for childcare.

Can grandparents look after grandchildren?

Most grandparents will have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 this year, with shielding rules in place for vulnerable people.

The Government rules have kept anyone over 70 or with a chronic health condition confined to their homes with few exceptions to avoid impacts from COVID-19.

The rules will soon change, giving people who feel “forgotten” a chance to reintegrate with society.

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However, parents won’t be able to count on help from grandchildren on July 4.

Shielding only comes to an end on July 6, when those formerly interned indoors can form social “bubbles” and meet in public with social distancing.

In this case, the social bubble rules which currently apply elsewhere will come into effect.

Currently, only adults may form bubbles with two single adult households or one and a group.

As such, if shielding grandparents are living alone, they can link with their children and grandchildren.

The same benefits don’t apply to elderly couples, who will have to wait a little longer before they see their families.

They will have to wait alongside everyone else for social distancing to end or “bubbles” extended.

Those rules changed somewhat yesterday in the Government’s latest and final daily press conference.

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From July 4 two households will be able to meet inside regardless of family size, and visitors can stay overnight.

However, anyone taking advantage of the new changes must continue to observe social distancing.

The social distance rule will also change on the same day, reducing by half from two metres to one.

While this means grandparents can visit their grandchildren and stay overnight, the contact rules may make babysitting difficult.

Parents in desperate need of childcare can enlist a nanny or childminder to help out, as they are allowed to practice once more.

Otherwise, they may find themselves needing to wait until schools reopen for the next academic year.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced children could return to school in September, with new rules allowing for full classes of 30 once more.

He said he expects every child will be able to undertake education again, with schools open for all year groups.

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