Rebecca, 56 of Aurora is the caregiver for her two-year-old grand-daughter five days a week. “My daughter drops Sydney off every morning,” she explains. “I enjoy taking care of her and it helps my daughter and her husband defray the costs of child care.”

According to Stats Canada (2002-03), 54 per cent of children in the six months- to- five- years age range receive care from people other than their parents, up 42 per cent in eight years. The proportion of children being cared for by relatives in the same eight-year period rose from eight to 14 per cent.

There are lots of reasons besides the cost of a daycare centre or a live-in nanny for choosing a grandparent as the caregiver.  Finding a recommended daycare centre close to home or work is the first challenge. Secondly, daycare centers have a schedule to keep and may close before a parent finishes the workday.

A live-in (or out) nanny may have more flexible hours, making it easier to schedule play dates or appointments for children, but can be expensive enough that the second income in the family is hardly worth the cost.

And then, there's the issue of trust. Despite intensive interviews and reference checks, a daycare centre or a nanny means entrusting the care of a child to strangers.

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