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One in five families ‘couldn’t cope’ without help from grandparents

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

One in five families wouldn’t be able to cope financially without the help of their grandparents, according to a survey.

It found that 19% of the 2,000 grandparents were unconvinced their grandchildren’s parents would cope financially without help from nan and/or grandad.

As children head back to school, the role grandparents play during the working week was highlighted in a study from life insurance company SunLife.

Results found more than half of grandparents provided childcare, giving up more than four hours a day on average, which would equate to £13,000 a year if they were paid for the service.

The study also revealed childcare commitments are costing grandparents an average of more than £4,000 a year.

More than half (59%) were ‘more than happy’ to provide their time and cash, but 12% said they can’t afford the extra expense with taking care of their grandchildren.

Grandparents are often the ‘real heroes’

A spokesperson from SunLife, said: “Grandparents are often real heroes in a family, spending hours helping with childcare and offering practical and emotional support and saving parents thousands in childcare costs.

“Our research suggests grandparents are saving their grandkids’ parents around £250 a week in childcare costs on average, so it’s no wonder one in five grandparents say their grandkids parents would struggle financially without their help.

“And as we might expect, the research shows that most grandparents are very happy to offer the level of support they do to help their children (and getting to spend more time with their grandchildren as a result).”

Grandparents acting as summer clubs

As well as the impact of taking care of their grandchildren during term time, the insurers revealed the summer holidays are just as busy for many grandparents.

The research also showed more than one in three (37%) grandparents are giving up 16 hours and 32 minutes of their time each week – equivalent to two working days a week.

According to the study, some parents are saving £827.68 a year by avoiding sending their children to various holiday clubs, with £354.72 saved by families over the six-week summer holiday alone.

It’s evidently an expensive time to be a grandparent, and separate research by Direct Line Life found that one in five parents or grandparents are even dipping into their children’s savings to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.