An investigation by tombola has revealed that grandparents save the UK’s parents an average of £161.1bn every year by providing informal childcare for their children.
65% of grandparents provide childcare to help to their children. By offering an average of 11.3 hours informal childcare a week grandparents are saving parents £1,786 a year. That’s a saving of £161.1bn every year for parents across the UK. Not only that, 23% of grandparents also help pay for childcare, so that the whole family can have a break.
Where are grandparents providing childcare the most?
What’s more, tombola discovered that grandparents in the North East provide the most childcare (44%), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber and South West both at 33%. Whereas grandparents in East Midlands (24%) and London (15%) provide the least amount of childcare.
Based on the median grandparent childcare per week (11.3 hours), parents in the South East can save £3,204 a year in childcare costs. And a huge £4,031 a year in London.
- North East (44%)
- Yorkshire and the Humber and South West (33%)
- North West and South East (30%)
- West Midlands (29%)
- East of England (28%)
- East Midlands (24%)
- London (15%)
Research shows that 82% of grandparents provide childcare for their children simply because they love spending time with their grandchildren, with a further 44% saying it provided an affordable way for their own children to return to work.
What’s more studies show that 84% of grandparents feel that providing childcare has a very positive impact on their life, including them feeling less depressed, in better health and in some case contributing to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
Grandparents who look after their grandchildren are more likely to report better health than those who do not. Even looking after grandchildren a few hours a day has a major impact. Studies have concluded that only 23% of European grandparents who look after children non-intensively, report poor health. Whereas, 37.3% of grandparents who do not care for grandchildren at all, attest to bad health. This benefit can be seen in mental wellbeing too. Grandparents looking after grandchildren are 8% less likely to report depressive symptoms.
It seems like grandchildren feel the same way. A study in Boston found that close bonds between grandparent and grandchild can reduce depressive symptoms for both. The benefits aren’t limited to grandparents either.
Benefits for the child include:
- Helping to form their self-identity
- Aiding their socio-emotional development
- Improving their self esteem
- Developing their vocabulary