It's not easy being a grandparent. Either your grandbabies live too far away, your children are too busy with their own kids to visit, or – and this is the case for 28% of grandparents – you are drafted in to babysit your grandchild on a regular basis, having to chase them around your home and make sure nothing breaks (including you!).
Research from Churchill Home Insurance has found that if the parents are both working, 28% draft in grandparents to take care of their little ones, for an average of 9 hours and 17 minutes per week. A much lesser 12% depend on day-care or nurseries, while 7% ask either their friend, their older sibling or a babysitter, and 6% call in the help of other family members. Only 3% hire a live-in nanny to take care of their kids.
Meanwhile, 19% of parents say they look after the kids themselves, while 9% are convinced their children don't need supervision, which can be dangerous not only for the state of the house but also the children's health. It's certainly against guidelines to leave children under 12 alone for long periods of time.
Even teenagers who know how to cook a pizza may not be safe on their own, as on the lower end of awful they might burn the pizza so badly the oven gets completely ruined, and on the higher end they might hold a big party, trashing the entire house. That's why even if you think you can trust your children, it would still be prudent to check your home insurance policy before you go away.
All of this help doesn't come cheap, with parents spending £155 on average each week on various carers. Of these, live-in nannies are unsurprisingly the most expensive, costing £508 per week on average, followed by hired babysitters, who cost £291. After day-care (£165), it's surprisingly the older sibling that demands the next biggest spend, of £152, with friends costing a lesser £81.
Other family members cost £76 to 'hire' per week, with grandparent being the cheapest resource at £72. Not only that, but 73% of grandparents don't get paid for their services at all, maybe because they refuse payment (or help with fuel, meals, etc.) out of the goodness of their own hearts, or maybe because the parents don't even consider paying them.
Most of the babysitting takes place at the parents' home (50%), though 22% of children are also looked after in a family member's own home, while 14% of care takes place in a dedicated childcare facility and 6% at the property of their babysitter.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, warned: "With children cared for in a multitude of locations it is important child proofing is not forgotten, as their safety should always be a primary concern. If looking after a child in your own property, remember you could potentially be liable if they have an accident in your care, so it is important they are as protected as much as possible.
"Children love to run about and play, which can often result in unintentional damage, so a comprehensive home insurance policy that includes cover for accidental damage is essential. Child proofing can have multiple meanings!"
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.