How much is your grandma worth?
GRANDPARENTS are doing 20 hours of childcare work a week — and most of them aren’t being paid.
And 42 per cent of grandparents say they are covering the cost of the kids’ school fees.
A Sunday Telegraph survey of 1250 people around the country found more than eight out of 10 grandparents provide childcare to the kids, but only one in 100 are paid for their help.
Eighty per cent indicated they had to forgo something to support their grandchildren, such as social plans, holidays or time with friends.
But for many, it’s a labour of love that they perform willingly.
Eighty-two per cent agree that “helping out with childcare for my grandchildren is a great way to spend quality time with them”. The average grandparent spends 19.6 hours a week looking after their grandkids.
McCrindle social researcher Geoff Brailey told The Sunday Telegraph grandparents’ contributions were a “key force in our economy and our community”.
Mr Brailey said Baby Boomers were the wealthiest generation in terms of assets and, on average, they were generating $133,640 in household income each year.
“This means they can do a lot for their grandkids. So not only would they be contributing to their grandchildren’s education, but also helping in extra ways like buying clothes, toys, entertainment,” Mr Brailey said.
“That might be when they’re minding the kids. They’re not just sitting in the home with them, they’re going out and doing activities because they have that extra buffer in their income so they can spoil their grandchildren.”
He said because they grew up in an era where “treats” were unlikely, they saw this as a positive way they could give back as they didn’t want their grandchildren to miss out on things that they did.
Grandparents are also likely to spend more time looking after their grandchildren in the future, particularly if wages remain stagnant while childcare costs soar.
Mr Brailey pointed to recent ABS research showing mothers working full-time had increased from 17 per cent in 2009 to 24 per cent in 2019.
“More mothers are heading into the full-time workforce, and the proportion of families with children younger than five where both parents work full-time has increased from 14 to 21 per cent in the last decade,” he said.
“It used to be double income with no kids, now it’s double income with kids, which is providing that opportunity for grandparents to help out. But it’s also parents probably saying ‘it’s too expensive to do daycare for the kids’,” he said.
The survey also revealed 12 per cent of grandparents volunteer at their grandchild’s school, such as school events, reading and fundraising.
Mercia Oliver with grandson Aston Oliver, 3, in Caringbah South. Picture: Adam Yip