Grandparents play a crucial role in the life of their grandchildren. Nothing can replace the love and care a child receives from their grandparents. Their wisdom, and experience is invaluable to both grandchildren, and children starting their own families. But the UK’s overlooked childcare system means that grandparents often have to step in to offer substantial help, well beyond that of grandparent duties.
According to research published by Age UK, two out of five of the UK’s grandparents have provided regular childcare for their grandchildren. That’s five million grandparents, of which the majority (89%) provide care on a weekly basis. Just over half of these grandparents provided regular care for up to five years, with some as long as 10 years. Grandparents provide 22 billion pounds of childcare a year, which amounts to providing the average family £3,770-worth of care throughout the year.
Many grandparents will tell you about the benefits from spending time with their grandchildren. It keeps them physically and mentally active, reduces loneliness, gives them a sense of purpose, and most of all, a chance to enjoy the grandchildren’s company. Whilst grandparents adore their grandchildren, is it really fair that after decades of bringing up their own families, they’re now expected to take on more labour.
Do you think it’s fair that grandparents should be providing a childcare service, or is this just the circle of life?