New research shows that the number of grandparents who look after their grandchildren regularly is at a record high.
A survey by Age UK found that “gran-nannying” is a popular way for parents to cut down their childcare costs.
The data showed that five million British grandparents over the age of 50 are an important part of the children’s every day lives.
That amounts to 40 per cent of the country’s grandparents who regularly look after their grandchildren.
Around 89 per cent of grandparents look after the youngsters at least once a week and one in ten provide childcare once a day.
In relation to those who provide even more regular childcare Age UK found that 38 per cent childmind two or three times per week, and a fifth provide childcare between four and six times per week.
Ahead of Grandparents Day on Sunday, Age UK want to raise awareness of the fact that grandparents who regularly look after grandchildren under 12 years of age could get a higher state pension.
But the “gran-nannying” isn’t just a short term solution for many parents, as 51 per cent care for their grandchildren for up to five years.
A further 28 per cent provide care for between five and 10 years.
The main reason people ask their parents to babysit their children is to save money, with 57 per cent saying that thanks to their help their children were able to work more hours.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Many grandparents play a vital role in the care of their grandchildren, and families across the country are clearly enjoying the benefits of the trend towards ‘gran-nannying’.
“It’s clear to see… close and long-lasting bonds can develop and it’s no wonder that so many grandparents have become their grandchildren’s confidant.”
Age UK are keen for grandparents under the state pension age to find out if they are entitled to claim National Insurance Credits because of their childcare provisions, which could increase their pension pot.