Skipton Building Society
Baby-sitting grandparents save families £4330 a year
Hands-on Grandparents save their children a staggering £4,330.92 in childcare fees every year, research has revealed. The detailed study of 1,298 parents shows they rely on the grandparents to look after the children for 1,122 hours a year while they go out to work.
But if parents were to pay for 1,122 hours at their local nursery, they could be forking out an average fee of £3.86 per hour, and over four thousand pounds annually.
A quarter of those polled admitted they wouldn’t be able to hold down their current job without the help of their own parents.
While staggeringly, almost half claim it wouldn’t be worth them going to work at all if dear old mum and dad didn’t help out.
Stacey Stothard, Corporate Communications Manager at Skipton Building Society commented:
“As this study clearly indicates, modern day grandparents are an absolute god-send for working mums and dads.
“Despite reaching an age where they should be winding down and enjoying their retirement years, grandparents end up almost ‘working’ for their own children, making it possible for them to earn a living, safe in the knowledge that the little ones are well cared for.
“And as we can see, a grandparent’s help is invaluable. Not only do they provide a safe and caring environment for the grandchildren to grow up in, but they save thousands of pounds in childcare fees every single year.
“They also provide that flexibility which parents would be hard-pushed to find with any nursery or child-carer.”
The study shows that during term time, and for 39 weeks of the year, grandparents will help out on three days of the week for at least 5.5 hours a time.
This means they are acting child-carers for 16.5 hours a week, or 643.5 hours over the course of 39 working weeks.
For the remaining 13 weeks of the year – the school holidays – the grandchildren will be looked after by their doting grandparents for a further 32 days, for an average of seven hours a time.
In addition, mum and dad will request a further four babysitting occasions every month, for just over five hours – equating to 255 hours and 12 minutes over the course of one year.
This means that by the time a child reaches school age, they will have been babysat by their grandparents for 5,610 hours (and parents would have been saved an incredible £21,654.60).
Stacey Stothard continues:
“Families, more than ever, are feeling the squeeze, and it can be a really tough balancing act trying to maintain a manageable income while arranging childcare.
“Willing grandparents will not only look after poorly children – when nurseries will often turn anything away that might be contagious – but they’ll also often provide food and snacks, take kids for days out, and not worry if you’re running late collecting them at the end of the day.
“Grandparents who look after their grandchildren in the family home are even on hand to help with the running of the home – helping to do household chores, as well as being in to sign for parcel deliveries and pay the window cleaner or milkman.
“But with this flexibility and financial benefit for parents sometimes comes a feeling of obligation for grandparents. At a time when young families are feeling the squeeze so too are their parents who are facing the prospect of reduced retirement income and financial uncertainty.
“Many may feel that although they want to help out, they could actually do with having some time for paid work themselves. It’s clear there’s a social shift change occurring, and something the two generations need to meet in the middle to discuss solutions that work well for both of them.”
The poll shows that six in 10 parents prefer asking the grandparents to help out with childcare rather than paying a nursery or child-minder.
46% of these claim that as well as the cost benefits, they simply don’t trust anyone else to look after their child.
But four in 10 mums and dads do feel guilty about how much they rely on their own parents for help, and a third worry that they are getting too old to deal with overly energetic grandchildren.
Indeed, while six in 10 parents are choosing to bury their heads in the sand and refuse to think about what might happen when their own parents get to the point where they can’t look after the children anymore, a further 33% are resigned to the fact they will eventually have to give up work to look after their own children.