Does the UK have the world’s hardest-working grandparents?

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141 - Copy


Recent research by HSL Chairs claims that UK grandparents generally put in £22k worth of graft during the summer holidays alone – that’s a lot of work!

Here is what their study revealed:

  • Average UK grandparent puts in 600 hours of hard graft over the summer holidays- worth £22,043!
  • Grand-parenting revealed as one of the toughest, yet most satisfying jobs, for our elderly population
  • Loose Women Panellist, Linda Robson, champions the effort put in by UK’s grandparents

A new study has found the UK is home to a nation of hardworking over 50s this summer, with two thirds (66%) of grandparents spending significantly more time than usual looking after their grandchildren over the school holidays. The research, commissioned by comfort furniture specialist HSL Chairs, also reveals, were they to be paid for the role and tremendous effort they put in, our grafting grandparents would be in line for a whopping £22,043 summer wage packet!

Questioning 1,000 busy grandparents, HSL Chairs analysed the varied intensive roles they take over the holidays – from personal chef, to chauffeur to sports coach – confirming they are our hardest working individuals. With 85% of grandparents admitting they look after the children simply out of their love for them, it shows that love can be much more powerful than money.

Despite our grandparents admitting it can be tough, leaving them feeling emotionally drained (35%) and even physically exhausted (57%) at times, it appears to offer the ultimate job satisfaction. More than a third (35%) of grandparents named looking after their grandchildren as the most satisfying job of all, with almost 40% recognising their grandchildren help them to stay fit and active and more than a quarter admitting they teach them new things.

Loose Women Panellist and star of Birds of a Feather, Linda Robson, spends a lot of time looking after her granddaughter, Lila, after relying heavily on her own mother to help with childcare for her children when they were little. She comments: “I honestly think that grandparents are invaluable. I couldn’t have worked without my mum looking after my children when they were little, and I treasure my time with my granddaughter Lila. We have the best time together and have a special bond that will always be there. I love our time together.”

This summer, to help grandparents accurately calculate how much they should have been paid during this summer holidays, HSL has created a special application which allows individuals to insert the time they spend on each task and it then precisely computes their summer holiday wage.

Chris Hudson, CEO at HSL Chairs, adds: “We know from experience that our grandparents are getting younger, and our ageing population is increasingly active. This leads to our parents often taking on much more responsibilities when it comes to looking after our children – largely down to the fact that they get a lot of enjoyment in spending time with the grandkids. With this research we really wanted to celebrate the amazing efforts our over 50s put in to the upbringing of our children.”


The average UK’s grandparent’s typical role includes:

  • Personal Chef (baking and preparing meals) £29.04 per hour*
  • Private Tutor (revision, homework, educating, reading) £23.18 per hour
  • House & Grounds Keeper (tidying and cleaning, gardening) £10.01 per hour
  • Chauffeur (taking to and from pay dates, activities) £18.64 per hour
  • Life Coach (listening to problems, breaking up arguments, keeping the peace) £102.13 per hour
  • Private Nurse (helping them wash and dress, giving medication, applying sun-cream etc.) £19.88 per hour
  • Event manager (organising and attending trips to theme parks, nature walks, historical sites etc.) £18.89 per hour
  • Sports coach (playing sports games, taking to lessons etc.) £27.97 per hour
  • Creative Director (crafting, styling, role play) £43.65 per hour

*all average salaries taken from


So committed are our grandparents, that more than half admitted that they avoid going on their jollies during the school holidays, as they feel they need to be around to help look after their grandkids.

And though making their children’s lives easier (60%) and helping their children cut costs (35%) top the lists of reasons why our elders are happy to step in, a traditional sense of family values and obligation also motivates our older generation. Indeed more than a fifth (21%) of those questioned admitted to feeling guilty if they were not able to help look after their grandchildren.

However, all this hard work comes at a price. Our treasured grandparents often find themselves missing out on watching their favourite TV programmes, having a quiet night in or going out for drinks with their friends – and all in the name of love! More than a fifth (21%) even end up missing out on cleaning their own homes as they take on the role of super gran/grandpa!


The Skills of a Successful Grandparent

A sense of humour (77%), followed by patience (76%) and general knowledge (72%) top the polls when it comes to the skills and personality traits required to help you on your way to the greatest of grand-parenting.

And their help is appreciated – 9 out of 10 of our grandparents questioned confirmed that they were regularly thanked for their help and support – and that thanks is more than enough.

As well as being generous with their time, our grandparents are generous with their money too! A third of those questioned revealed they spend more than £100 on the little ones over the summer holiday period – with 2% even spending more than £400!

And with the hard work over, a fifth of grandparents questioned admit they will feel relieved and ready for a well-earned break after the grandchildren head back to school, though a quarter do admit to feeling slightly disappointed that they won’t see their grandchildren as much – until next year!

See how all this looks in this handy infographic:


Grandparents Infographic





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