The Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Grandparents Looking after the Little Ones

Manchester Evening News, October 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Grandparents Looking after the Little Ones


RAISING children can be tough - but some lucky parents have their own mums and dads to help them out.

Around nine million grandparents help look after their grandchildren, spending an average of more than eight hours a week as childcarers.

And research by the insurance company Ageas shows this saves UK parents a total of £16b a year in childcare costs, or £1,786 per year per family.

In addition, many grandparents are also supplementing some of the costs of raising a family for parents, by paying for some of the basics like clothing, and toys - and not just at Christmas and birthdays. Others even stump up for luxuries like holidays for their grandchildren.

But while granny childcare is a great help to parents, what do grandparents get out of it? Not surprisingly, research by Gransnet has found that while one in six grandparents have taken early retirement or quit paid employment to help out with their grandchildren, 80 per cent of them say their sacrifice is worth it, and more than half (51 per cent) say they're happier now they spend time with their grandchildren.

Gransnet editor Lara Crisp said: "Most grandparents who help out with childcare relish the opportunity to spend more time with their grandchildren and find it helps them build a strong relationship with them.

"They're also very aware of the demands on modern families - in particular expensive childcare - and are for the most part happy to help out if they can.

"However, it's clear that in some cases they feel they're taken for granted, so open discussions should happen on an ongoing basis in order to manage everyone's expectations."

But it's not all good - 17 per cent say they're financially unstable as a result, and a tiny 4 per cent say they were happier when they were working.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of grandparents looking after their grandchildren? …

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