Grandparents Save UK Parents £161.1bn Every Year


An investigation by tombola has revealed that grandparents save the UK’s parents an average of £161.1bn every year by providing informal childcare for their children.

65% of grandparents provide childcare to help to their children. By offering an average of 11.3 hours informal childcare a week grandparents are saving parents £1,786 a year. That’s a saving of £161.1bn every year for parents across the UK. Not only that 23% of grandparents also help pay for childcare, so that the whole family can have a break.

Where are grandparents providing childcare the most?

What’s more, tombola discovered that grandparents in the North East provide the most childcare (44%), followed by Yorkshire and the Humber and South West both at 33%. Whereas grandparents in East Midlands (24%) and London (15%) provide the least amount of childcare.

  1. North East (44%)
  2. Yorkshire and the Humber and South West (33%)
  3. North West and South East (30%)
  4. West Midlands (29%)
  5. East of England (28%)
  6. East Midlands (24%)
  7. London (15%)

Health benefits

Research shows that 82% of grandparents provide childcare for their children simply because they love spending time with their grandchildren, with a further 44% saying it provided an affordable way for their own children to return to work.

More studies show that 84% of grandparents feel that providing childcare has a very positive impact on their life, including them feeling less depressed, in better health and in some case contributing to a reduced risk Alzheimer’s.

Grandparents who look after their grandchildren are more likely to report better health than those who do not. Even looking after grandchildren a few hours a day has a major impact. Studies have concluded that only 23% of European grandparents who look after children non-intensively, report poor health. Whereas, 37.3% of grandparents who do not care for grandchildren at all, attest to bad health. This benefit can be seen in mental wellbeing too. Grandparents looking after grandchildren are 8% less likely to report depressive symptoms.

It seems like grandchildren feel the same way. A study in Boston found that close bonds between grandparent and grandchild can reduce depressive symptoms for both. The benefits aren’t limited to grandparents either.

Benefits for the child include:

  • Helping to form their self-identity
  • Aiding their socio-emotional development
  • Improving their self-esteem
  • Developing their vocabulary