Can I still look after my grandchildren in the new lockdown?

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Brits to go back indoors this week as he told everyone to stay home wherever possible. The new lockdown follows many of the same measures as the national one introduced in March, but children will still be able to go to school and college, and universities will remain open. However, many workers will still be struggling with childcare needs, prompting to ask whether or not children can stay with their grandparents during the coming weeks.

Can you look after grandchildren in the new lockdown?

Many parents rely on grandparents to pick children up from school and look after them until they get home.

However, the new national lockdown means parents will have to form childcare bubbles.

The new bubble will enable parents to call upon grandparents to take care of children under 14.

There are many rules and regulations to be aware of and there are limitations as to who can help with your childcare needs.

According to the Government: “A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.”

The rules have been brought in to help parents who are struggling to find childcare in places where mixing between households is not allowed.

Updated Government guidance states: “Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare.”

However, the childcare bubble is restricted to two households only.

In addition, people can only form one childcare bubble.

The Government website states: “For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.”

This means the same grandparents have to look after the same grandchildren every time.

Parents are not able or allowed to alternate between either set of grandparents for childcare.

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Grandparents who have more than one set of grandchildren (living in separate households) are only allowed to look after one set of those children.

That means they can only babysit for one household other than the one they live in.

Also, grandparents cannot, for example, babysit for their son’s children one day and then their daughter’s the next.

Similarly, if the grandparents are separated or live in different households, only one of those households will be allowed to provide informal childcare to children.

The same applies to family friends and other relatives.

Remember: families are only allowed to form one childcare bubble.

Grandparents and grandchildren who don’t live together are also advised to socially distance from one another. Hugging is still discouraged by the Government.

According to official guidance, friends and family who don’t live with you and aren’t part of your childcare bubble must not visit the house to help with childcare needs.

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