Our new survey reveals that almost a fifth of grandparents who provided childcare for grandchildren before COVID say they’re reluctant to carry on - or definitely won’t carry on.
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Before the pandemic around five million grandparents in the UK provided childcare for their grandchildren, saving working parents £22 billion on childcare - averaging £4,017 per family per year. Some cared for preschoolers full time; others provided after-school or holiday care. However, despite COVID restrictions being lifted and most over-50s being partly or fully vaccinated, 19% say they will not provide childcare or are reluctant to do so.
As the restrictions ease, grandparents are looking forward to seeing friends (69%), going on holiday (56%) and going to the hairdresser (67%). And while 72% are looking forward to seeing their grandchildren again, only 27% are looking forward to providing childcare.
“Being brutally honest, I’m not sure I want to go back to 6am starts and 11 hour days looking after an almost-three-year-old.”
“We had our three-year-old grandson two days a week, seven hours a day, and he was on the go all day. Lockdown made me realise how tiring it was (we are over 70). I feel very guilty about not being able to do it all, but I need to be sensible.”
“I helped most days with grandchildren for over two years. I was eager and glad to do it initially but it became long hours and a chore. It aged me 10 years.”
Reasons for shutting up the granny daycare shop include grandparents saying their child’s circumstances have changed (10%) and their health won’t allow them to take care of their grandchildren anymore (2%), although 54% of those who usually provide childcare have been doing so throughout the pandemic, despite older people being more at risk of COVID.
Gransnet founder Justine Roberts says: “Many grandparents have been forced to keep their distance from their grandchildren over the past year. It’s undoubtedly been a lonely and difficult time, but for some the time apart has given them a chance to reassess what they want from their senior years. Unfortunately, for many parents, the alternatives to granny daycare are ruinously expensive.”