UK grandparents are helping families save £1,888 each year in childcare costs by regularly looking after their grandchildren.
RIAS, the over 50s insurance provider, said this equates to £11 billion each year in childcare 'wages' with 5.8 million grandparents in Britain (47%) acting as a babysitting service for their child's offspring.
According to the '21st Century Grandparenting' report, which is now in its fourth year, nans and grandads spend an average of 10 hours every week providing childcare for their grandchildren, but just 3% receive any formal payment for their time.
Cost of childcare
With the cost of childcare rising by 5.8% this year, grandparents are playing an important role in supporting families during what is a difficult economic time.
This annual saving of £1,888 equates to over a half (56%) more than the yearly £1,056 Child Benefit payment currently received for one child (£20.30 per week).
Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS, said: "The unstable financial climate and the rise in childcare costs has meant more and more parents have to return to work earlier than they have had to in previous years and grandparents are providing a fundamental benefit to UK families."
"If we were to pay UK grandparents for the childcare they provide it would equate to £11 billion each year, which shows the massive contribution grandparents are giving every day."
UK grandparents are also contributing an average of £407 each year towards helping their children pay for formal childcare, including nurseries and childminders. However, instead of always relying on your parents, you can get additional help with such costs by using childcare vouchers.
Grandparents face an average monthly bill of £135 in other costs for their grandchildren - which equates to an enormous £1,620 each year per grandchild. These contributions include £324 towards holidays and £312 towards 'one off' large gifts such as laptops and driving lessons, per grandchild.
Other ways to cut costs
There are plenty of ways to cut childcare costs. For instance, did you know that, by law, all three and four year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education a week?
You can also try nanny sharing, holiday and after-school clubs, working from home and creating a 'babysitting circle' with a group of friends.