Grandparents providing £5,000 of childcare a year

Grandparents providing 5,000 of childcare a year. Picture Pexels

Grandparents providing 5,000 of childcare a year. Picture Pexels - Credit: Pexels

With the cost of full time childcare averaging more than £200 a week, it comes as no surprise that many parents are seeking support from family, especially grandparents, to lessen the financial burden.

A recent survey of 1,500 UK parents by Portafina sought to determine the extent to which grandparents are supporting with the care of grandchildren, and what sort of thanks is being offered in exchange.

The data from the pensions advice specialist revealed that more than a third of grandparents are doing more than 10 hours of childcare per week during term time, with this figure increasing to nearly half during the school holidays.

With the average UK family consisting of two children, some grandparents are gifting childcare support with a value of almost £5,000 a year.

Interestingly, men and women don't appear to be in absolute agreement about the amount of childcare support offered, with 41pc of male respondents saying that grandparents were doing more than 10 hours a week, versus 29pc of female respondents.

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This could explain why a staggering 80pc of parents surveyed didn't have a clue how much money their own parents were saving them, despite 40pc stating they used family 'because it was cheaper', and only 35pc of respondents said they knew for sure their family could actually 'afford' to help.

When it came to providing some kind of return for the childcare given, 83pc of parents confirmed that something was offered as thanks; with 30pc saying they were covering all incurred costs, 27pc covering 'most' costs, and nearly a third thanking supportive grandparents with regular meals out, or bestowing with gifts.

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Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina, said: 'It's very clear that help with childcare is important for a lot of families, and the fantastic thing is how much of a positive involvement grandparents are having.

'These days we often hear about how family life is fragmenting and social media is making people less physically interactive, but we've found that families come together when it counts – and nothing brings families together like grandchildren.'

• Do you rely on grandparents for childcare? If so email

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