Three thousand, one hundred and eighty-eight pounds. That’s how much money I worked out we save each year thanks to so-called granny daycare.
Which is a lot of money.
Five million Brits now take on childcare responsibilities for their grandchildren if the latest figures are to be believed, my mother-in-law being one of them. With one child at school and two preschoolers she travels more than two hours each way to stay with us every week, so we have a day and a half to work totally child-free. And the truth is, like many working parents, we couldn’t survive without her.
For one in 10 UK households like ours childcare is now the biggest monthly expense after rent or mortgage payments according to the latest research, making it unsurprising that grandparents are the most used form of childcare ahead of nurseries and preschools.
But aside from the financial benefits – not to mention the fact it really helps with the mum guilt, because leaving your baby to be looked after by someone else and going back to work is a big thing, but it’s a big thing made easier if that person is their own flesh and blood – there are other positives too.
We’ve been lucky enough to have granny daycare once a week with all three of ours after I’ve gone back to work until they’ve started school, and without a doubt it has helped them grow into the little people they are today.
5 ways granny daycare has helped my babies grow
1. Grandparents have got all the time – and patience – in the world. All the time in the world to build towers, push swings and make train tracks. Time – and patience – I simply don’t have as a working mum.
2. Grandparents see things in a different light. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, because they grew up in a world without the internet and iPhones, or perhaps it’s simply because they’re different people, but our grandparents help our three see the world in a way they might not do without their influence.
3. Grandparents love grandparenting. Or ours do, anyway. And I’ll be honest, I don’t always love mothering. Kids know when you’re tired, stressed and trying to do too many things and none of them well. They also know when Granny has been looking forward to seeing them all week and how to make the most of it.
4. They develop a relationship they wouldn’t otherwise have. I saw my grandparents once, possibly twice, a year when I was growing up owing to the fact we lived so far away. My three see their Granny on a weekly basis, and they know her in a way I simply didn’t know mine – something I know benefits her as much as it does them.
5. It helps loosen the apron strings. None of my three are particularly clingy and I think the fact I haven’t been their primary care giver 100% of the time has helped boost their independence and confidence as they learn to stand on their own two feet.
Do grandparents help you out on the childcare front? Do you think granny (or grandpa) daycare benefits your family? I’d love to hear about your experience!
This is a collaborative post.