Over 5 million grandparents will come to the rescue with free childcare this summer

23 July 2019

  • School’s out, but the hard work has only just begun for grandparents, with two in five grandparents (42%) lined up to provide free childcare during the school holidays
  • On top of this, seven in 10 (70%) buy their grandchildren treats and one in four (26%) pay for all activities while the kids are under their watch 
  • Parents in the UK say that on average they spend £350 per month on childcare, the equivalent of 20% of the monthly average disposable income

Two in five (42%) grandparents will be relied upon to provide childcare during the upcoming school holidays, according to new research by Lloyds Bank.

Part of the ‘How Britain Lives’ study, the UK-wide analysis conducted in partnership with YouGov found that 61% of working parents regularly rely on childcare support from nurseries, childminders and family or friends throughout the year, and this summer an estimated 5 million grandparents will be called on to help.1

The savings for parents are likely to be significant. The poll found that UK families spend an average of £350 per month on childcare. That means, based on the UK’s average salary, parents are forking out 20% of their monthly disposable income to cover childcare costs, a figure likely to be even greater during the school holiday months.

Of the grandparents who provide childcare support, one in four (26%) say that on top of caring for the little ones, they also cover the costs of keeping them entertained with activities, and another seven in 10 (70%) buy their grandchildren regular treats while looking after them.

The cost of childcare can be a big financial burden for parents, especially during the summer holidays when most children can be off school for up to six weeks. Our latest research has found that grandparents are set to support many families across the country, helping parents juggle work and childcare during the school holidays. Families who don’t have savings to fall back on could find that the summer months are a particularly hard time if they don’t have friends or family who can help.

Miles Ravenhill, Director, Lloyds Bank

It isn’t just the school holidays when families turn to grandparents for help, with around a third relied upon at other times in the year for the school and nursery runs (34%), providing before and after school care (32%) and helping out on the weekends (36%).

On average, grandparents report spending eight hours a week caring for their grandchildren. Based on the average salary of a childcare worker at almost £8, that means grandparents are giving the equivalent of £3,200 worth of childcare throughout the year.3

Despite the graft, two thirds (63%) of grandparents said they were asked to help and were happy to do it. A third (33%) said they proactively offered their support.

Seven in 10 (71%) of the grandparents polled say helping means they get to spend more time with their grandchildren than they did with their own grandparents.

Conversations about money can be difficult and most of us don’t feel very comfortable talking about our finances with loved ones. But if you’re struggling with the cost of childcare, it may be worth speaking to friends and family, as our research shows the vast majority will be more than happy to help out looking after the kids. A discussion with your employer around flexible working or perks such as salary sacrifice schemes could also help to relieve some of the financial burden.

Miles Ravenhill, Director, Lloyds Bank