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Two-thirds of grandparents don’t feel they spend enough time with grandchildren

Distant families and busy schedules, coupled with long and anti-social working lives, means grandparents are spending an average of just 30 hours a year with their grandchildren, according to recent research by industry body Discover Ferries. This number doubles when you add in time spent keeping in touch by phone or video calls.

The study of 1,000 grandparents aged 45 years and over, found that only a third said they felt they spent enough time with their grandchildren. A quarter of grandparents confessed they spent less time with their grandchildren than their own grandparents had spent with them.

Four out of ten grandparents blamed distance for keeping them apart, while over a quarter (26%), said it was their grandchildren’s busy schedules that stopped them getting together. The busy lives of hardworking grandparents were also identified as an issue; one in ten said their schedule stopped them seeing family members and a similar number said long or anti-social working hours were to blame. On the other end of the spectrum, eight per cent of people surveyed said either their own or their grandchildren’s hobbies took up all their spare time.

Organising a group trip away, however, was the second most popular way for grandparents to try to spend time with their grandchildren, cited by 17% of respondents. This was closely followed by video calling (rather than using a telephone) (16%), or using social media (14%). Making a special visit to see their grandchildren was ranked the highest (62%).

Bill Gibbons, director of Discover Ferries, said: “It’s clear that the pressure of modern life is making it hard for grandparents to keep in touch with their families. Our survey found that a quarter of respondents only saw their grandchildren up to six times a year. It was great to see, however, that travel is clearly a popular way to reconnect families, with half of those surveyed revealing they typically spend one to three days a year on holidays or trips away with their grandchildren. Our ferry members know how precious a holiday is for all families, which is why they offer a range of on board family-friendly facilities. Whether you want to eat, relax or play together, ferry travel makes the journey a great part of any family break.”

Lara Crisp, Editor of the popular site Gransnet, said: “While it’s sad to see that the busyness of our modern lives has meant less time together, it’s great to note that the quality time spent on multigenerational holidays is so valued by families. Our users love to travel and being able to share the experience with their grandchildren – and help the parents out with the odd bit of babysitting – means that everyone wins.”

Other research commissioned by Discover Ferries also found the average family spends around three weeks of quality time together each year and just 36 minutes during the average week day. In comparison, adults spend almost four times as long – one hour and 55 minutes per day – watching TV or playing on their gadgets. Children are also staring at a screen of some kind for around two hours and 22 minutes a day.

Source Discover Ferries