More Grandparents Step in to Care for Keiki

Mike and Pat Ho with granddaughter Malia
Mike and Pat Ho with granddaughter Malia

(KHNL) - Baby sitters, daycare and preschool in Hawaii can cost parents a bundle. That's why many parents rely on grandparents to care for their children. Pat and Mike Ho are among thousands of Hawaii grandparents who are caring for their grandchild.

The Ho's treasure every moment with their 16 month old granddaughter Malia. Pat said, "Malia knows how to say her prayers every morning and I tell her that she is a gift from God and she is really special".

They feel fortunate that they get to see her not just once in a while but every day. Malia and her parents live in the same home as Pat and Mike.

Mike said, "A lot of people like to have an empty nest syndrome. We don't. I enjoy having extended family around and having Malia around is especially good".

Since Pat and Mike are both retired they are able to take turns caring for Malia when her parents go off to work each day.

"Unlike other people in our situation it's only rarely that Pat and I both have her. Usually Pat has her some of the time and I have her other times. And, we are free to do our own things. We are not restricted in that sense, so she is not a burden to us", Mike added.

The Hos aren't alone. Most of their retired friends are doing the same thing. "I think it's a little less stressful. When we were parents we were younger and learning and working. So, now since we are retired I think it makes a huge difference. I think if I were working and doing this it would be a different situation", Pat said.

As they spend time caring for their little granddaughter, the Hos say Malia gives more to them than they can ever give to her.

Experts say the more children you have, the greater chance you will be caring for a grandchild at some point in your life.