Most working families rely on the goodwill of grandparents to meet their childminding needs, a survey suggests.
Grandparents caring for children saves families money
The study found that without the help of grandparents half of working parents would be forced to live on a tighter budget because of childcare costs.
One in five women said the assistance of grandparents meant they could afford to return to work.
Nearly half the 1,000 adults surveyed for the Skipton Building Society said grandparents could always be relied on.
Two-thirds of those interviewed said they liked the reassurance of knowing their child was in a loving environment.
Jennifer Holloway, of the Skipton Building Society, said: "Until recently, Supergran was only a character from a children's TV series.
"But it seems the line between fact and fiction is blurring, as grandparents across the UK are taking on more and more responsibility for looking after the younger generations.
"The cost savings for the parent are certainly substantial but it's not surprising they need help, as the financial pressure of bringing up a child is ever increasing.
"For example, a nursery place can cost nearly £8,000 a year."