Millions of grandparents are taking on the role of 'second mum and dad' to their grandchildren, helping out with everything from childcare to cooking family meals.
New research from Aviva suggests that around half of all UK grandparents now look after their grandchildren and help around the house while mums and dads work. Of these, 99.5% do so without pay. The study shows that on average, each grandparent will care for two children for around thirteen hours a week. This amounts to an estimated saving of more than £33 billion for UK parents each year.
However, these grandparents are feeling the pressure as a result of their kindness:
• 32% feel guilty if they ever say "no" to looking after their grandchildren.
• 30% actually cancel their own plans to mind their young charges.
• 23% feel taken for granted at times.
• One in eight feel financially worse-off as a result of looking after their grandchildren.
• One in twenty say they would like to do more paid work but can't because of childminding duties.
On a more positive note the vast majority of grandparents see clear emotional benefits to helping out their families:
• 88% feel closer to their grandchildren because of the time they spend with them.
• 59% say they are more patient with their grandchildren than they were with their own children.
Many of us would find life far more difficult without our parents to help us out, so buy them a bottle of wine or some flowers today to show your appreciation!