Grandparents save UK parents more than £16 billion a year with childcare

The coronavirus pandemic has been tough on parents and grandparents alike.

Lockdown meant that parents had to juggle working from home and childcare at the same time – without any help from grandparents, who were likely to be isolating.

Not to mention, grandparents have been deprived of quality time with their grandchildren due to safety risks – and it’s still unknown how long they will have to go without cuddling or kissing.

But help from grandparents also has financial benefits for parents. New research says that grandparents in the UK save parents over £16.1 billion every year by helping with childcare.

A survey, carried out by insurance company Ageas, found that with over two thirds (65%) of grandparents looking after grandchildren for an average of 11.3 hours a week, parents are saving roughly £1,786 a year on childcare costs.

In London, where childcare is more expensive, this is even higher. Grandparents help their own children save around £4,031 a year — almost double the average monthly wage in Britain.

And it seems grandparents are more than happy to do so. In a different survey, conducted by Tombola, four in five (82%) of grandparents said they provide childcare simply because they love spending time with their grandchildren. While over two in five (44%) said it is an affordable way for their own children to return to work. 

In fact, grandparents also benefit from taking on this responsibility. More than four in five (84%) said it has a ‘very positive’ impact on their life and it seems 8% of those who do so are less likely to report depressive symptoms.

Out of those who do not care for their grandchildren, 37% said this was down to bad health – rather than not wanting to do so.

Data also found parents with an income of £30,000 to £44,999 are most likely to rely on grandparents for childcare, while those with the highest household income (over £45,000 a year) are second most likely to.

Obviously, with coronavirus lockdown and restrictions for the elderly and vulnerable at the moment, it’s highly unlikely grandparents have spent much time with their grandchildren this year, or been able to help their children with childcare as they usually would.

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