Grandparents have missed out most in lockdown

New research out today shows that grandparents have been hit particularly hard by lockdown – missing out on 49 hugs, 47 kisses, 40 conversations and 25 family meals with their grandkids since the start of the pandemic.

The research from megabus, shows that as well as these smaller moments missed, including 27 playtimes with toys, 24 storytimes, 18 school pick ups and 19 bedtimes with grandkids, the average grandparent also wasn’t able to be there for big milestones such as first steps (15%), first words (14%), and first days of nursery (11%).

However, that’s set to change as three quarters (74%) of parents reveal they will be reuniting with grandparents now that restrictions are lifting and older generations have been vaccinated, with almost half (48%) admitting they rely heavily on the support from grandparents in raising their children.

In response, to help grandparents reunite with the ones they love, intercity coach operator megabus is launching an industry-first ‘Grand Reunion’ ticket to bring together long-distance grandparents and grandchildren. The company will offer selected grandparents free travel to visit their family on its entire network for a year.

This campaign hopes to attract the three quarters (76%) of grandparents who said they are desperately wishing for time with their grandkids, with the study showing grandparents are set to spend an impressive 30 hours in an average month with their grandchildren, a figure that’s 20% longer than they spent with their own grandparents in previous generations (25 hours).

Making up for lost time, almost six in ten parents (59%) admit that whilst the use of technology during the pandemic brought grandparents closer together with their grandchildren, there is no replacement for face to face relationships (80%). In fact, over half of parents admit they have a newfound respect for their children’s grandparents after the last year (52%).

Top of the list when it comes to grandparent duties is covering childcare (35%), as well as doing the school run (28%), preparing dinners (20%) and help with homework (17%). Nearly three quarters (71%) reveal they are counting down the days until they can see their grandkids, with a further 76% stating the hardest thing about the pandemic was not being able to spend proper time together.

The survey also shows the dedication of this army of helpers – with the average grandparent spending almost 90 hours (89 hours and 52 minutes) travelling in an average year to see their children and grandchildren, amounting to a cost of £240.

Hoping to bring a smile to kids’ faces up and down the country, the megabus Grand Reunion ticket is now available for 10 sets of grandparents. To apply for the Grand Reunion ticket, visit https://uk.megabus.com/grand-reunion

The coach operator has launched the trial with a short film showing the emotional reunion of real-life grandparents Nick Plowright and Louise Plowright and their grandchildren Archie, aged 10 and Ava Rollini, aged nine, who haven’t seen each other for over eight months due to the pandemic. In fact ‘Nanny Lou’ and ‘Big Grandad’ as they are affectionately known have only seen their grandchildren twice since last March due to restrictions.

Louise Plowright, said: “We’ve become very old since lockdown, we need them back in our life to give us that energy and make us feel youthful again. We cannot wait to spend time doing all the things we love and be around Ava and Archie’s infectious enthusiasm once again.”

The top moments grandparents have missed due to the pandemic:

  1. 49 hugs
  2. 47 kisses
  3. 40 conversations
  4. 27 playtimes with toys
  5. 25 meals together
  6. 24 walks
  7. 19 bedtimes
  8. 19 daytrips
  9. 18 school runs
  10. 18 hand drawn pictures

Mark Venables, Managing Director from megabus said: “With 61% of parents saying that missing grandparents has been one of the hardest things for their kids this past year, we’re really excited to help grandparents get back on the road and travel with confidence to see loved ones across the UK through great value coach travel. The past year has been tough on everyone, but what’s clear from the research is that grandparents play a vital role in their grandkids’ lives.”