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which type of childcare would be best for me? New to all this.

(15 Posts)
vnmum Fri 05-Oct-12 12:25:29

HI, I hope this is in the right place and you can advise me.

I am trying to get back to work. I have applied for a job and looking at possible scenarios should I be successful.

Now for the info:
I have 2 DC, age 4 and 6, both at primary school.
The shifts I will need to work would be a mix of 8 -4, 9.30 - 6, and 10.30 -7.30.
8 -1 saturdays (1 sat in 3) and also possibly 1 or 2 nights per week.
DH is in the forces. At the moment he is not due to deploy for about a year but may have exercises to do that last 3 weeks or so, or courses to go on. When he does deploy, he will be away for 7 months.
When DH is here, he doesn't always have a set time for finishing work. Some days are late depending on what he has to do or if there has been a training exercise on etc.

My main worry is when he is away.
When DH is here he can do the cover for nights and collect DC from childcare.

My options for childcare, as far as I can work out, are:

Before and after school clubs and holiday clubs, although I would still have problems for the late shifts as after school club finishes at 6.

Childminder who can cover the nights when DH is away and also who can do school runs for me.

Nanny.

I have only just started looking into this as the job came up as a surprise but would be daft to not apply.

Based on my situation, which type of childcare do you think would work out best for me, my DC and also cost wise?

I have no idea wether a nanny would be more costly than an overnight childminder or wether a nanny would need to be live in or able to just stay on nights they were needed.
Legally, does a nanny that may be staying 1 or 3 nights a week need their own room?

TIA

botandhothered Fri 05-Oct-12 13:21:02

Given that you children are older, and aupair would be ideal for you, you would have someone there at all times, and sleeping in overnight. However, it sounds like you don't have the space for them to have their own bedroom?
There are childminders registered to have children overnight, but there may not be one in your area. A childminder who could look after them before and after school, then a night nanny, who could perhaps fit that around other employment, as well as doing the Sturday mornings?

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 05-Oct-12 13:23:11

Yes, if you have a spare room, I'd look at an au pair to live with you and give you and DH the flexibility you need.

vnmum Fri 05-Oct-12 14:05:47

Thanks for the comments. I hadn't realised there were specific night nanny's. The nights only become a problem for me for 6 months (and occasional few weeks during a normal year) out of every 2 years. Other than those times DH would be in to cover the nights.

I will check out night nanny's though. Does anyone know where I can start looking for childminders/nanny's.

Also, am I right in believing that an au pair is a young girl from a different country that works as an au pair here while gaining experience in the english language? Sorry if that is an out dated or naive presumption, I've never needed to think about what an au pair does before smile

vnmum Fri 05-Oct-12 14:07:16

oh forgot to mention, no spare room. I could put the DC in together to free up a room but I actually wouldn't need someone living in full time all the time, just when DH is away.

It's so bloody complicated. Now I know why alot of forces wives struggle to get into work.

lechatnoir Fri 05-Oct-12 14:37:51

I would say before & after school club plus overnight CM who could cover the sarurday's sounds best

HolyAutumnGoldBatman Fri 05-Oct-12 16:06:39

That's going to be tricky I think.

An au pair would be ideal, but not if you don't have anywhere to put one. Also au pairs normally stay for a year, you can't kick them out when DH is there.

You may find a childminder to do that, but I think childminders who work until 7:30pm, do weekends and overnights are few and far between. Plus as it's shift work, the childminder would probably need to charge you for hours that you're not using as otherwise she'll be left with spaces she can't fill.

After school club probably doesn't run until 7:30pm, but good for the other mornings/afternoons.

Your best bet is probably a live-out nanny, who is willing to stay over on the nights you need and do the Saturday morning when needed. How many hours per week/month would you need overall? If it's enough to be full-time you may find a nanny who doesn't mind the irregular hours. If it isn't full-time and she needs to find another job to fit in with irregular hours you may find you get frewer applications. Nannies can be expensive, but as your children are older you'll probably be ok with a young/old nanny and someone who isn't qualified, which should keep costs down.

nannynick Fri 05-Oct-12 16:50:48

What employer does such parent unfriendly hours like that. Hope they don't make or sell products/services aimed at parents as if they do they should be refused any parent friendly / product awards in my view, plus campaigned against and possibly boycotted.
Companies in my view need to wake up to how parents can't find childcare for some shift hours thus making it impossible for parents to apply for the job. <sorry for the rant>

I feel you will struggle to find one provider who could do all the hours you may need. If you are lucky you may find several people who can do some parts of it, such as combining a childminder with a babysitter plus have a student cover the saturdays. Sorry to not be very positive about this. An aupair may work but you need the space.

vnmum Fri 05-Oct-12 18:25:17

nannynick It is a job within the veterinary industry so the hours have to fit in with when the surgery is open and the nights are on a rota to cover caring for any inpatients. I had initially resigned myself to not being able to go back into work in this industry due to the hours and nights and DH going away at times but feel that my skills are wasted if I don't and I wouldn't know what else I could do.

nannynick Fri 05-Oct-12 19:33:21

Is it a job that could be done as a jobshare - such as one person doing the nights and Saturday and the other doing the daytime shifts.
I can see that an employer may want to make it fair on everyone and rota everyone to do a Saturday and an evening/night but such an arrangement must make it very hard for parents to find childcare. Silly for them to lose someone with your training and experience due purely to you not being able to find childcare after7pm and only on weekdays.

I used to work in retail and I liked working weekends so I would deliberately work 3 weekdays plus weekends. If I wanted a weekend off, the MD of the company had to cover for me.

Is it worth trying to negotiate the job in anyway so you don't have the evening and Sat shifts?
Childcare 8am-6pm Mon-Fri is findable. Once outside those hours your childcare options become limited in my view. As a nanny I do 7-7 and some nannies may do longer hours but a nanny is a costly option. Would your salary cover you paying a nanny say £25k a year?

vnmum Fri 05-Oct-12 19:39:34

No my salary wouldn't cover 25k a year. I would probably only be on 15k a year myself.

I have wondered about negotiating with them as the problem only arises for 6 months out of every 2 years, give or take a few weeks here or there. I had thought of offering to do extra nights/weekends when DH is here to enable me to not have to do any when he is away. I am not sure wether to broach this at the interview or wait to see if I am offered the job then approach the employer nearer the time with the problem and ask for help finding a solution.

sleeplessinderbyshire Fri 05-Oct-12 20:43:05

You may well find that if you ask around you can find a reliable babysitter for ad hoc late nights, pick ups and overnights. I work 8-6 on 2 days a week and 9-5 and 8-1 on 2 others however I also do a 4pm til 830pm shift once a month and every fortnight or so do a 7pm til midnight shift. I also often have evening meetings. If DH is working from home he does the nursery runs. If he's away it has potential to be a nightmare but we get by fine using a neighbour, a neighbour's MIL and 2 lovely girls from nursery to cover.

There are 3 or 4 great nursery nurses at DD's nursery who do tons of babysitting (one is saving for a wedding the other for a deposit on a flat) and as they love DD and she loves them it works brilliantly. I think that as long as you know when the late evenings etc actually are it shouldn't be too bad. Similarly with the weekends I think you'll easily find a local student who'd have them on a saturday (or if you booked them to do swimming/football/other on a saturday morning then someone could have a very cushy number driving them there, reading the paper and bringing them home)

Good luck. I think these things have a way of working themselves out if they are meant to be

nannynick Fri 05-Oct-12 21:16:08

Are you living on MQS? If you are perhaps you can find someone to swap some childcare with, if say they also did shift work and your shifts happened to fit well together. Also get in touch with teenagers on the estate - would any of them be suitable as an evening babysitter, could they even perhaps collect from a local childminder at say 6pm and take your children back to your home for a couple of hours.

Given your likely salary, maybe you should calculate the probably cost of the daytime care, to see if it's even practical to pay for that. Perhaps make the assumption that your DH isn't around to help out - so you need to cover 7.30am to 6.30pm (if your drive time to work was say 20ish minutes, so starting work at 8am, leaving 6pm - though some shifts would start later, finish earlier). A solution for that would be a childminder who did before and after school care, plus all day care in school holidays. What cost would that be, is it affordable given your salary expectation.

Frakiosaurus Fri 05-Oct-12 23:33:14

If you're in MQs you can apply to transfer. They may say no not bitter me no but you can ask.

What would you do about holiday care? 7 months is going to mean at least 2 school holidays.

vnmum Sat 06-Oct-12 14:49:34

I would have to get a child minder to do the school holidays I think. I have done some workings out and while DH is here we would be ok. While he is away we would probably break even or for maybe a month or so (school holidays) I may be paying out more than I earn but once he gets back we would be in profit again.

I am hoping that once troops are out of afghan I won't have the 6 monthers to worry about as much, that is unless they decide to send them somewhere else.

A friend has offered to do the sat mornings when DH is away if I get stuck which is a great help.

I will wait and see what is discussed at the interview and take it from there.

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