Grandparents and childcare

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Sarah Wellard and José Luis Iparraguirre

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Key findings
- New analysis of the Understanding Society Survey by Grandparents Plus and Age UK shows that the amount of childcare provided by grandparents is increasing.
- Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 the number of children receiving informal childcare from their grandparents went up from 1.3 million to 1.6 million (from 11.7% to 14.3% of all children aged 0-14).
- The total number of child-hours of childcare provided by grandparents over the year also rose from 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion, a 35% increase.
- Grandparents Plus and Age UK have estimated the value of grandparental childcare at £7.3 billion, almost double its value in 2004 in cash terms.
- Younger grandmothers (eg aged 50 to 64) who are fit, healthy and with younger grandchildren are the most likely to be providing care for their grandchildren, often to enable parents, and especially mothers, to work. Any reduction in the availability of grandparental care is likely to lead to mothers leaving the labour market.
This briefing includes proposals for policy to changes to make it easier for grandparents to combine work and childcare.


Older People, Child Development, Social Policy and Caregiving


Related Publications

  1. Grandparents “throw squeezed families a life line”. Grandparental childcare up by a third and now worth £7.3 billion
  2. The babysitting grandparents who save families £7billion a year: study shows older generation cares for 1.6million UK children