The cost of replacing grandma

Posted in: Family Last updated: 29 Jun 2012

It’s important to think about the invaluable contribution grandparents make to our families, both in terms of their moral and emotional support, and the increasing number of roles that they take on to support us.

Grandparents are the go-to babysitters, dispensers of wisdom and there to spoil the kids when we can’t. From cooking up the Sunday lunches to telling bed-time stories, we can always count on them when we need a hand.

They often go above and beyond the call of duty, especially in recent times with the rising cost of living forcing parents to take on bigger work commitments. So how much are grandparents really worth and what expenses do they spare us from?

If we had to put price tag on grandma, here’s what she’d really be worth:

3: Number of days per week the average grandparent helps out

16: Number of hours per week spent babysitting grandchildren

25: Percent of parents who couldn’t work without childcare provision provided for by grandma or grandpa

32: The number of days children spend with grandparents during school holidays

255: The number of hours the average grandparent spends babysitting annually

21,654: The number of pounds saved because of free childcare from grandparents between birth and starting school

Many parents would struggle to hold down a job if it wasn’t for grandparents offering their free babysitting services. Facebook fan, Gaynor Gray said, “I look after my two-year old grandson while his parents are working, mainly evenings as I work in a Playgroup, so regular evenings and school holidays when I’m off. I also cook Sunday lunch for all the family and feed grandson and my son when Mummy's in work. But it gives me precious time with my grandson – I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

It’s not only child-minding hours they donate, grandparents are regularly dipping into their own pockets, typically spending £487 each year, and £167 in the holidays. In fact, grandparents take on a whole host of other duties – here are the main ones, to name a few:

  • Looking after the grandchildren when they become ill
  • DIY
  • Cooking meals
  • Attending grandchildren’s school events, such as sportsday

In total, UK grandparents contribute a whopping £4bn each year towards the day-to-day costs of raising children – and as if that wasn’t enough, 42% are also saving for their grandchildren’s future, equating to £2.4billon.

Interestingly, grandparents are competitive, with one in six confessing to spending time with their grandchildren so that they can be seen as the favourite grandparent.

Grandparent’s contributions are invaluable, and most of us would really struggle without their help. At a time when they should be winding down for retirement, we should be eternally grateful for their constant hand-outs and the amount of precious time they spend with our offspring.

To find out more about the value of grandparents, take a look at our infographic.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.