Families rely on grandparents for childcare

Grandparents web

An Age UK report has revealed the extent which families need help from older relatives

29th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Families are relying on older relatives more than ever for childcare.

More than a third (34%) of Scottish grandparents over the age of 50 - around 370,000 - have provided regular childcare for their grandchildren, according to new research.

Age Scotland has revealed the extent that working parents rely on an older generation, ahead of Grandparents' Day on Sunday (1 October). 

Two thirds of grandparents (67%) who provide care say it enables their children to work more, while 59% believe their children would have to give up a job or cut down hours without them.

The vast majority of grandparents who provide regular care (96%) do so at least once a week, with 15% looking after their grandchildren at least once a day. Almost one in 10 grandparents have given up work or reduced their hours to help with childcare.

The report, by Age Scotland's sister charity Age UK, highlights the unique relationship between older and younger generations, and demonstrates the wide-ranging benefits of keeping them connected. 93% of Scottish grandparents say they are close to their grandchildren, with around a third of those playing the role of confidant for grandchildren with worries or problems.

Although 88% of "granddad and granny nannies" receive no financial compensation, most say they receive huge benefits from spending more time with their grandchildren. The top two were enjoying spending time with grandchildren (86%) and seeing more of their family (77%).

However many grandparents who are under state pension age are not aware that they are entitled to claim National Insurance credits while providing regular childcare for family members aged under 12. These can top up their state pension by filling gaps in their National Insurance record.

Age Scotland's charity director, Keith Robson, said: "More and more working parents depend on granny or granddad for regular childcare or to help in emergencies, with many grandparents even cutting down their own working hours to help out.

"With so many playing a pivotal role in caring for grandchildren, it's no surprise this results in close and lasting bonds between the generations. Children know they can turn to their grandparents for help and advice or to share their problems.

"At the same time, older people enjoy being involved in their grandchildren's lives, watching them grow up, and staying physically and mentally active.”