BEV and Bryan Hutchinson are among an increasing number of grandparents who are stepping up to babysit for their children returning to the workforce.
In doing so the Hutchinsons and their counterparts across Australia are saving their children thousands of dollars a year in childcare.
But it’s a labour of love for the couple who said they had a “trial run” and were eased gently into babysitting their granddaughter Matilda Freeman when she was six months old and their daughter Hayley returned to work.
“She had a sleepover and so it all went well,” Mrs Hutchinson said.
“But the first week at the end of the day Brian and I just laid on the lounge and went to sleep after she was picked up- I think it was more to do with the relief that it all went OK.”
With her second daughter Poppy born just last week, Mrs Freeman is hoping to return to work next year.
“It’s just so good when I’m at work because I can call mum and dad up and see how things are going - I would feel silly doing that if they were in care,” Mrs Freeman said.
“Although [husband] Adam’s mum and dad both work full time, they help us out at the weekends if we need it - we are very lucky.”
In the last census Australian grandparents accounted for savings of $88 million a year across Australia. The same census revealed almost half of children aged under three are now cared for by grandparents, while there parents are at work.
“It can be very expensive - with parents helping out it has saved us a lot of money, but even for people who use childcare if you’re not eligible for a rebate it is a lot of money,” Mrs Freeman said.
Reading a story to his two-year-old granddaughter, Mr Hutchinson said he wouldn’t have it any other way when it comes to minding his grandchildren, including seven-month-old Darcy Hutchinson.
“We love having them here,” he said.
Mrs Freeman said when she returns to work she will book the girls into daycare one day a week, which she says is affordable.
“It’s more for them to be able to socialise with other children,” she said.