21/07/2010 08:08 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Summer Childcare: Grandparents And Family

In the last of our series of childcare guides for the summer holidays, we look at the advantantages and occasional disadvantages of leaving your children in the care of grandparents and other family members.

Grandparents and family

Grandparents are increasingly playing a huge role in childcare, with a recent survey revealing that 84% of parents use their own parents for childcare at least once a week.

Other members of the family are also great for childcare, as you know and trust them and they're usually free!


Anyone! As long as you have family fairly close by and they're happy to help out.

Worth knowing:

No specific legal requirements. For family harmony, though, it's worth making sure you don't rely on extended family members too much or have your expectations set too high. Try to sit down and discuss expectations and practicalities so that everyone is clear.
Amanda Coxon of Tinies, the UK's leading Childcare agency says " The obvious advantage is that the children know their own family members, so there is no period of settling in, and if the family member is close by, then they can either take care of the children in your home or their own home. If it is an aunt, then that tends to be the best scenario, but obviously any family member is a good option. And cost is another great advantage as it is normally free."


  • Free childcare
  • Trustworthy
  • Flexible
  • If you're going away in the summer, they can house-sit too!


  • May have different ideas of rules, standards and discipline methods.
  • Have to fit in around their own lives.
  • May cause rifts if not dealt with sensitively.
  • Many grandparents are still at work due to the current economy.


Financially, hopefully none; emotionally, family childcare can cause potential resentments and misunderstandings if not dealt with carefully.

Read one mum's personal experience of having her mum help out in Granny nannies.