A fifth of grandparents have given up work or reduced hours to help with childcare, survey finds

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23rd August 2018 13:19 - Central Government

A fifth of grandparents have given up work or reduced hours to help with childcare: A survey of grandparents has found 21% have given up work or reduced their hours to look after their grandchildren and as a result, 27% have found themselves 'financially unstable'. 
 
The poll of 1,600 users of social network ‘Gransnet’  found just over half routinely look after their grandchildren (ages 0 -18) to ease the burden of childcare costs.
 
As well as facing financial instability from reduced earnings, activities and other expenses also add to the strain, with 57% saying they spend up to £20 per day in term time and 67% spending that during school holidays. 
 
And for many, it’s not only one child they take care of each week. Eight out of 10 look after one or two of their grandchildren every week, while 3% take care of four or more, to enable their parents to go to work. 
 
How much childcare?
 
For most grandparents, the grandkids are dropped off once or twice a week (56%), but 7% say childcare is full-time, looking after them five days a week. Providing childcare is ‘exhausting’ for 12% of respondents, with some revealing it has had an impact on their physical health. 
 
It has also caused rifts in families, with 8% saying declining requests for childcare has led to family conflict and 5% revealed their relationship with their own children has become ‘permanently strained’ or even ‘entirely estranged’ as a result.
 
As well as helping out with childcare, the poll reveals grandparents are also providing financial support for other things, with 25% saying they contribute to holidays or top up savings accounts for their children. Other areas they help out in include buying toys, games and school uniforms, dinner money and in some cases even help pay the mortgages of their children. 


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