Grandparents ‘provide almost £4000 in childcare a year’

Research found 44% rely on help from grandparents when it comes to looking after children.

Grandparents provide almost £4000 of childcare a year on average, according to research.

A Bank of Scotland study found more than two-fifths of families (44%) rely on help from grandparents when it comes to looking after children.

That is despite more than a quarter (27%) of parents feeling they can no longer be as dependent on family and friends for childcare because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey, part of a How Scotland Lives research from the bank, revealed just one in 10 grandparents expect to do less childcare over the summer holidays.

Almost half (46%) said they expect to provide the usual amount of help, with 12% of grandparents who do not usually take on childcare having now offered to do so.

But with concerns about indoor activities, there has been a 26% drop in the number of parents allowing grandparents to take their youngsters to the cinema – with a rise of 6% in those allowing activities in open spaces, such as picnics.

On average, grandparents reported spending nine hours a week caring for their grandchildren in 2020 – up from eight hours in 2019.

Given the UK average pay for professional childcare is just over £8 per hour, Bank of Scotland calculated grandparents are providing the equivalent of more than £3770 of childcare throughout the year.

Families in the west of Scotland receive most help, with (52%) of parents in this area saying they rely on their own parents for childcare, compared to 35% of parents in the Highlands and islands.

Tara Foley, managing director of Bank of Scotland, said: “For many parents, the challenge of conflicting work and childcare commitments continues this summer, with some facing difficult decisions around who is best to take care of their children.

“Whilst some parents remain worried about asking loved ones for support during the ongoing pandemic, not all families can rely on holiday clubs and professional childcare. These will likely be a stretch too far for some budgets where paying for additional childcare wasn’t part of the plan.”

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