'Minding grandchildren is most enriching thing I've done'
Wicklow gran Joan Dobbyn (63) loves minding her one-year-old grandson Isaac, but she's very experienced at looking after infants, having already cared for his cousin, Hugo, now 5.
"I retired early in 2012 after teaching French for 36 years. I left on the Wednesday and my daughter was returning to work after maternity leave on the Monday," she says.
"As they were going to live in Boston that June I offered to mind Hugo for the four months. After his sister Eloise was born, I flew over and minded her for a while too."
The current arrangement with Isaac is also temporary and Joan says she likes it that way.
"In all cases I offered to mind them and it's really lovely; a bit tiring obviously, but you do get a different point of view minding grandchildren when you can focus only on them. We have fun in the park or on walks. It's three and a half days a week.
"I'm involved in lots of other things like the refugee support programme, art and language," Joan explains.
She adds: "I love the mix. I'll scale back a little soon, but minding my grandchildren is the most enriching thing I've done.
"There's a great bond with them and it gives their parents a bit of a boost too."