You may have seen it in the news (or even experienced it first hand) but when it comes to childcare nowadays, it’s often the grandparents that are left holding the baby.
Rising childcare costs have left many parents in a situation where it’s not worth one of them working. Unless of course, good ‘old’ granny or grandpa can help out that is!
Around half of UK families now depend all year round on the older generation, who we’ve dubbed ‘Retired Help’ (get it?) for their childcare. This savvy situation is thought to save more than Â£2,000 per year for the average family and over Â£10,000 for those who rely on grandparents to provide full-time support.
And let’s face it, most grandparents are only too happy to step in. Looking after children is undoubtedly hard work but (allegedly) so much more fun when you can leave them in the capable hands of their parents at the end of the day and go home to put your feet up!
But at Leger Holidays we began to wonder if this reliance was actually impacting on the holiday and leisure time of grandparents and so we conducted some research. And it seems we were right…
The research revealed that over a quarter of Britain’s 14 million grandparents feel that such commitments and responsibilities actually stop them from going away as often as they would like. Interestingly, grandmas are more likely to feel this pressure (32 per cent as opposed to 28 per cent of grandads).
So, whereas historically the mature traveller has always enjoyed more freedom when it comes to holidays, it appears there are now more than 3.5 million of them delaying or sacrificing their dream getaways to help their families.
One alternative of course is for grandparents to go on holiday with their families. But in our research some grandparents admitted *whisper* they didn’t enjoy the experience. One in five said they find it hard work and many also feel they are only invited to provide free childcare. Of course tastes differ across the generations too. Whereas many young families choose to lie on the beach or by the side of the pool, the older generation often prefer to have more experiential getaways, looking for new things to see and do each day. They want to visit museums, admire art, enjoy leisurely shopping and see the sights without a toddler who isn’t interested to bear in mind. Plus, most grandparents have done their fair share of “are we there yet?” journeys.
So we say ‘Retired Help’ of the world unite! Don’t feel guilty about needing a break, it’s important to take the holidays you want, see the places you’ve dreamt of seeing, and to get some well earned R&R! And if you do feel bound by childcare duties (and you don’t mind that) why not squeeze in a long weekend or short-stay break wherever possible, giving you lots of mini treats to look forward to? Come on now…surely you can squeeze in a few days on a midweek break to Paris, recharging your batteries? And imagine all the great presents you could get the grandkids from a trip to Belgium, the Chocolate Capital of the world?
We’re sure your grandchildren will appreciate a rested and rejuvenated granny or granddad – now you’d better get back to building that treehouse…