Why I started Grandparents Club

Wednesday 01 July 2020 · Rob Gregory · 4 minute read

I had the idea for a membership website specifically for grandparents in late summer 2019. However it wasn't until the COVID-19 lockdown period in 2020 that I made the decision to go ahead and launch this site. In this post I talk about why I started Grandparents Club.

Whats in this post?

  1. A bit of background
  2. Yeah, but why?
  3. COVID-19: Remote grandparenting
  4. My family, lockdown and deciding to go ahead
  5. Grandparents Club is born

1. A bit of background

There are more than 14 million grandparents in the UK with over 5 million of them providing regular childcare. That's a lot of people who only a generation ago would have hung up their parenting hats the day their eldest child left home.

Life in 2020 with all of its work and financial pressures means many parents look to their own parents to help cover their day to day childcare needs. That support can be anything from fulltime to school pickups or even covering shift work at weekends.

This means baby boomers are continuing to employ their parenting skills long after their own children have grown up and flown the nest.

There is no denying the benefits of children spending time with grandparents and indeed the positives for grandparents are huge as well. However it's not always easy especially when it comes to keeping grandchildren entertained and engaged. This is where the idea for Grandparents Club comes in.

I imagined a place where grandparents could go to find inspiration and support as they worked hard looking after their grandchildren.

2. Yeah, but why?

The internet is full of content some good, some not so good. Some fake and some misleading. My vision is to create a place where grandparents can access content designed just for them, that speaks their language and helps them to plan exciting and adventurous activities to do with their grandchildren.

A trusted resource that shares content that is consistently high quality, entertaining and useful.

3. COVID-19: Remote grandparenting

On the 23rd of March 2020 the UK Government imposed wide ranging lockdown measures in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus. Arguably the most restrictive of these measures was the imposition of strict social distancing rules meaning you couldn't come within 2 meters of anyone living outside of your home.

In one televised address to the nation the Prime Minister effectively put an immediate stop to 99% of all interactions between grandparents and grandchildren.

Over the coming weeks and months the nation, like most of the world, struggled with many aspects of lockdown not least that physical distance between loved ones.

My own experience was that we were all looking for new ways to connect and stay engaged often over Zoom or FaceTime. This made me think about my idea once again and I began to form a plan for this site in my mind.

4. My family, lockdown and deciding to go ahead

My wife and I have identical twin daughters who at the time of writing are 3 and half years old. I run my own business as does my wife. I am a web developer and digital marketing specialist and my wife owns and runs a children's nursery. Like many of our peers we look to our parents for support with the girls, and thankfully they live locally and offer a lot of help.

During lockdown life was strange. My wife's nursery was forced to close but my work continued as normal. Our daughters were at home all the time (no nursery) and we couldn’t see anyone else. After some adjustment and figuring out of schedules etc we quickly got on with it and started to enjoy lots of extra family time.

Not being able to see grandparents was upsetting for us all. We had to learn new ways to make interacting with them fun and engaging for our daughters but also interesting for their grandparents who were so dearly missing them.

Some of these ideas will be included in the first few weeks activity releases on the website I am sure. In fact during this period I started to come up with more and more activity ideas. I found this help with my anxiety about the whole pandemic situation as it served as a worthwhile and creative distraction.

I also stared to wonder if I could turn these ideas into something that grandparents could use as a resource to help them with ideas for activities both during lockdown and afterwards.

Now was the time to get cracking and bring this idea to life. A bit of a passions project yes but with lots of ideas for where it might go in the future. The decision was made to go ahead.

5. Grandparents Club is born

Having made the decision to go ahead I set about putting my years of digital marketing and web development skills to work building the first version of the Grandparents Club website. Minimum features and a simple design to start with just to test the idea.

Grandparents Club is here to offer activity ideas, resources, advice and articles all designed to support and inspire grandparents.

I'll be working hard bringing weekly updates to grandparents inboxes whilst enjoying the challenge of creating new activity ideas and developing useful features on the site.

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