04 September 2023, 09:59

Grandparents ‘save summer’ with two and a half weeks of childcare, totalling nearly £1,000 per child

Grandparents ‘save summer’ with two and a half weeks of childcare, totalling nearly £1,000 per child: shutterstock 1056228761
  • New research from Saga reveals that grandparents spent an average of 16 days providing childcare over this year’s summer holidays – saving parents an estimated £960 per child in childcare costs.
  • Without ‘grandparenting’, almost 60% of parents would have had to pay for childcare, and a third would have been left unable to work during the school holidays.
  • Saga’s Chief Customer Officer, Lisa Edgar, calls for a greater recognition of grandparents in society and a need to rethink the positive contribution of people over 50 aka ‘Generation Experience’.

4th September 2023: As schools re-open their doors this week, parents and grandparents alike can breathe a sigh of relief. According to new data from Saga, the UK’s specialist in products and services for people over 50, grandparents who provide childcare responsibilities spent an average of 16 days looking after their grandchildren this summer. 

Without the ‘grandparenting’ help, grandparents said that 60% of parents would have had to pay for formal childcare – meaning young families saved an average of £960 per child according to Saga’s estimates.

This doesn’t come without a cost to grandparents however – many of whom have adjusted their lives to provide childcare. Four in 10 grandparents have gone to stay with grandchildren, and one in five have taken annual leave from work to help their families.

Those surveyed, however, were overwhelmingly positive about the time they had with their grandchildren, noting the mutual benefits in helping to keep them fit and active over the summer.

Grandparenting power frees up parents to juggle home and work

Parents with young children know only too well how valuable ‘grandparenting’ is in their attempts to juggle work and home life. Saga’s research found that almost all the parents work whilst their children are cared for (90%).

The research builds upon previous studies from Saga demonstrating the powerful, positive contribution of people over 50, not just to their families but to workplaces and the wider economy [1].

Lisa Edgar, Chief Customer Officer at Saga, said:

“As anyone in their 50s, 60s and beyond knows, it’s never a matter of moving from the office chair to the armchair, even for those who have chosen to retire. Our research demonstrates just how much grandparents are supporting their families and the wider economy. It also shows the joy and happiness shared between grandparents and their grandchildren. Today, people are enjoying their active retirement years for much longer and we need to celebrate this period for the positive contribution it is.

Ronald Brooks, from Bristol frequently looked after his grandchildren and now at 84, is looking after his two great grandchildren:

“We thought we’d got rid of all the kids and childminding and then three grandkids suddenly turned up, so we helped bring them up. Now we’ve got great grandkids and we look after them a lot. Childcare is so expensive so we step in to help where we can when they are at school and in the summer break. We’ve grown with them, that’s the beautiful thing.  A lot of grandparents and great grandparents never see their grandchildren. For us it’s been like having our own children again and again really.”

Evie Osborne, 14, from Kent was often cared for by both sets of her grandparents:

“Through my grandparents I’ve learnt about some of the history of our family. I think it’s wonderful for grandparents to pass on their knowledge to their grandkids and have a good time with them. They can do fun things with us and then hand us back to our parents. I love the food my grandparents cook us for dinner, my grandma does the best cheesy pasta and my great Nan does toast with real butter – we never have white bread and real butter at home!”

Paid leave for grandparents

To celebrate and champion the value of grandparents, in 2021 Saga became the first major UK business to introduce a week of paid leave for employees to celebrate the birth of their grandchildren. The paid week off reflects Saga’s belief in the value of experience in the workplace, alongside a recognition of the role of grandparents to their families and society.



Jemma Savage

Notes to editors



Online survey of 2,000 grandparents with grandchildren aged 17 years and under and who provide childcare. This represents 30% of all over 50s screened for the survey. Fieldwork dates were 11th to 19th August 2023.

Other Saga research:

[1] Independent and secondary research conducted by the Big Window, Saga’s specialist insight arm, for a ‘Generation Experience’ report into the UK’s economic superpower, March 2023: https://www.saga.co.uk/generation%20experience  

Notes to Editors

For further information about the research, to arrange interviews, or speak to Saga grandparent case studies, please contact saga@headlandconsultancy.com

About Saga

Saga is a leading provider of products and services primarily tailored for customers over the age of 50 in the UK. The Saga brand has been carefully developed over the past 70 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers over 50. Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high-quality products and services. These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing, the UK’s award-winning Saga Magazine and Exceptional.com, a site with inspiring and entertaining content for readers.

About the Big Window

The Big Window is a leading research and insight business focusing on ageing. Acquired by Saga in March 2022, the Big Window is a separate business unit within Saga and acts as its in-house “knowledge agency”, creating unique points of difference for customers across Travel, Insurance and Personal Finance, as well as Saga media. The data and insight produced gives Saga competitive advantage in designing unique products and services relevant to what people over 50 think and feel, rather than outdated stereotypes.