The Growing up in Scotland (GUS) reports look at life as a child in Scotland. This year the children are aged 6, and the report focusses on three areas: the involvement of grandparents, early experiences at primary school, and weight and physical activity.
The 2012 findings include:
- 99% of children have at least one living grandparent and 80% have three or more of their grandparents alive
- A significant minority of children do not have a local grandparent at aged 3 (42%).
- Children in the highest income households (22%) were most likely to have no grandparents living locally, as compared to children in the lowest income households (8%).
- Local grandparents are more likely to be the maternal grandmother and grandfather.
- Maternal grandparents tend to be closer and have more contact with grandchildren than paternal grandparents.
- 64% parents of children whose mother were under 20 at the time of their birth stay overnight with their maternal grandparents at least once a month, compared with 12% amongst children whose mothers were 40 or over at birth (and 31% of all children).
- Reliance on grandparents increases markedly when children started school, with 67% of parents making use of grandparents for childcare. High income households are more likely to use grandparent care during term time (43%) and during holiday time (23%) - even when grandparents are not local, as compared to low income households (24% and 11% respectively).
- Nearly all parents felt their children had adjusted well to starting school, although some 22% felt that their child was happier with the way he or she learned things in pre-school.
- Children who attended pre-school at a private or partnership nursery were perceived to be more ready for school than children who did not attend a nursery, and generally boys were perceived to have more problems adjusting to school than girls.
- Virtually all parents had attended at least one parental involvement activity since their child had started school. The most common activity (86%) was visiting their child's classroom.. Just 5% had not participated in any activities or events.
- Family type was associated with higher parental involvement. Lone parents (23%) were slightly less likely to have attended four or more events than couple families (30%), and young mothers aged 20-29 years (30%) were less likely to attend four or more events than mothers aged 40 or older (46%).
- Most children (71%) receive homework everyday, and virtually all of these children (93%) said that they always completed it.
- 95% of parents were involved in helping their children with their homework, but many others were involved too, particularly grandparents (29%) and siblings (21%).
- Among GUS children, 22% were overweight (including obese) and 9% were obese.
- 15% of these children exercised for less than the recommended level of 60 minutes a day and 31% either watched television or been on the computer/games consule for 3+ hours on a typical weekday.
- Only 14% of mothers recognised their child as being overweight, although mother's were more likely to recognise their child was overweight if their child was a girl, the mother was overweight herself or if the child was obese.
- Factors which increased likelihood of the child being overweight or obese were:
- The mother being overweight or obese
- Frequent snacking on sweets or crisps at toddler age
- Skipping breakfast
- Not eating the main meal in a dining area of the home
- Low parental supervision
The research findings can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website at:
Growing up in Scotland: The involvement of grandparents
Growing up in Scotland: Early Experiences of Primary School - the transition to school
Growing up in Scotland: Early Experiences of Primary School - parental involvement
Growing up in Scotland: Overweight, obesity and activity
Full reports are also available.