Grandmas: The Unsung Heroes of Child Care

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Can we take a moment (or several minutes, depending on how fast or slow you read this!) to acknowledge how grandparents – especially grandmas – are the unsung heroes of childcare? While using grandma in place of daycare is becoming more common than ever, it has been part of family life for as long as I can remember (and for as long as my mama could remember and so on). Grandmas have childcare engrained in our hearts because, if I am honest, we don’t trust others to take care of our precious grandkids. To all my fellow grandmas who have their grandchild(ren)’s well-being and care at the forefront of your hearts and minds at all times: This is for you!

Grandma teaching the children

To the grandmas who take care of their grandkids while their parents work:

Thank you for giving this generation a haven with family who loves them more than anything. It is hard for parents to leave their kids every day, but knowing they are in good and loving hands makes those daily goodbyes a little easier. 

You have worked hard your entire life, and while these “golden years” are said to be a time of rest, travel, and enjoying the smaller things, you are dedicating your time to help care for and raise young children. This is no small feat. In fact, it is about as selfless and caring as you can get! You are a rock, a lifesaver, and a godsend, and I hope you hear it often.

Whether you are getting paid or volunteering, it is also essential to know that grandparents like you save your children thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars annually when you watch the grands. 

To break it down even more, as of this publication, the average cost of childcare is:

  • $226 per week for a child in a daycare setting (or $429 per week for two kids)
  • $694 per week for a child with a private nanny (or $715 per week for two kids)
  • $261 per week for a child in after-school care (or $269 per week for two kids)

Would you believe childcare costs have increased as much as 10% in some places since the pandemic? These rising costs can be financially devastating for working families with younger kids. We live in an unprecedented time with a sky-high cost of living that leaves many parents stretched thin and anxious, wondering how they will put gas in their car or food on the table.

Great grandmother holding the baby
Flickr/Ino Paap

A recent survey from goes on to share that because of the high cost of care and difficulty in finding it, parents are making cuts where they can, including travel, leisure, dining, clothing, and extracurriculars. You, grandma, are relieving some of this financial stress. Thank you. 

Not only is childcare expensive, but hard to find, thanks to mile-long waitlists at most reputable daycares.

In addition to the above statistics, 43% of surveyed parents shared that they have had trouble finding trusted childcare, more specifically:

  • 37% have a hard time finding a babysitter 
  • 36% can’t find a quality daycare 
  • 39% cannot find care through a family care center 
  • 40% cannot find a quality nanny

Not only do your grandkids have a safe place to go, but they are getting the best quality care possible.

When families are unable to find and/or afford daycare, their dynamic could completely change (for better or worse), with the study citing:

  • 26% reducing hours at work 
  • 31% considering a second job 
  • 25% changing jobs entirely
  • 21% leaving the workforce completely 

Because of grandmas – who account for 23% of childcare for children ages five and under – jobs and financial situations do not need to do a 180, which can benefit the family unit.

Grandma holding a grandchild
Flickr/Joe Shlabotnik

Can we also take a minute to acknowledge the grandmas who don’t do full-time childcare, but step in for date nights, when mom and dad go away for a weekend, or other temporary arrangements? I remember how incredibly grateful I felt when my parents did this for me, so speaking from experience, you are a saint and a sanity keeper.

The world needs more kindness and love like you show, and I pray that you always feel seen and appreciated. I know that isn’t the reason you do it, but it is something you should know. Thank you, grandma, for caring for your family and going above and beyond your call of duty!

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