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NOW CLOSED: Do you use any kind of childcare? Please give us your opinions - you could win a £50 Amazon voucher

(52 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jun-12 16:25:11

This survey is open to all Mumsnet users who use any kind of childcare (paid for or informal) for one or more of their children (excluding school, but including free sessions at pre school).

We know that lots of Mumsnetters find the cost and availability of childcare a real cause for concern. We also know it's an issue the government (and other parties) are interested in, so we thought it would be useful to understand your views and learn a bit more about your experiences.

We're working with the Daycare Trust on this survey - so we can get a really comprehensive picture of your views. Thank you so much for taking the time to complete the survey and as a thank you all respondents (who leave their details at the end) will be entered into a prize draw for a £50 Amazon voucher.

Here's the link again

Thanks and good luck

I have answered with respect to our current situation (with primary school aged DC) but there have certainly been times when they were pre-schoolers when our childcare bill was more than all of our other bills put together.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jun-12 16:40:45

that's fine stealth - just what we are after - that way across everyone we get differing experiences at all stages! thanks.

Meglet Mon 11-Jun-12 16:50:06


GrasshopperNchipmunk Mon 11-Jun-12 17:55:32

Done. When I return to work this time DH and I cannot afford to put the kids in child care full time (2 pre school). So one of us will have to drop our hours, and as I earn more than DH it will have to be him, sob sob sad

Done, but with some difficulty - I'm sure I'm not alone in using more than one type of childcare, so filled that in accordingly, but when rating how qualified the staff are / ratios etc, I couldn't rate both the funded pre-school sessions AND my super-qualified Nanny.

FondleWithCare Tue 12-Jun-12 10:51:38


Done, though not sure I am typical.

StarlightMaJesty Tue 12-Jun-12 11:51:04

I think most people's childcare arrangements are more complicated than the survey allows.

LoonyRationalist Tue 12-Jun-12 12:19:52

Done - when asking about giving up work as childcare is too expensive you need either a n/a box or the don't know box to also be n/a. I am a SAHM so job related stuff is n/a (I only used free childcare hours for my 3 year old; before everyone jumps on me)

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Jun-12 12:00:06

LoonyRationalist - done - thanks

Agree StarlightMaJesty - childcare is a v complicated area!

Sabriel Wed 13-Jun-12 12:10:45

Might have been helpful to have included a section on childcare for school aged children during holidays. In a typical week we mainly use ASC and breakfast club but in the school hols it is much more complicated. Sure a lot of other people are in the same boat. Compared with fitting in around school the pre-school years are a doddle grin

Ann, DH has just done this survey from an email link but he is not actually a mumsnet member thank heavens so he left the nickname box blank, I hope that is ok.


I couldn't answer the question about how many under 5s a CM should be allowed as options too limited (I don't think there should be a legal limit, but should be for parents and CM to agree. Also think having "a maximum of 6" as the most possible biases the survey somewhat. At 5 kids can be in classes of 30 at school.

BirdyBedtime Wed 13-Jun-12 15:28:13

I've completed the survey but not sure the answers on the income/childcare bill were wide enough as my childcare bill is £x but both DH and I take full childcare vouchers so what we actually pay in cash is £(x - 486) a month, and this then impacts on our net salaries. This might distort our figures.

BirdyBedtime Wed 13-Jun-12 15:29:18

BTW totally agree with Sabriel that the holidays are where we find it difficult and are having to farm DD to stay with her aunt and uncle for a week as otherwise we were struggling.

Another agreement that it is holiday childcare which is most difficult aspect - it makes the years when the DC were in all year round daycare nursery seem a doddle.

I currently have on my desk a spreadsheet of childcare options for the summer holidays - all with different times, activities, age ranges, prices and locations - and there are still 2 weeks (other than the ones where we will all be going away on holiday) with no options at all. I will negotiate a mix of the different clubs/camps/whatever with both DC, such that they are in vaguely the same place (some of these options are 20 miles apart from each other), and if I can do it without tears and strops then I will do peace in the Middle East next. Then DH and I will work out how we are going to cover drop offs and pick ups and who is going to take time off to cover the remaining weeks. Then my mother will complain that my children's lives are far too scheduled and they should be able to kick back and be available to do stuff with her at a moment's notice even though she can't/won't commit to have them on pre-arranged days so that I don't have to spend £50/day on childcare, which will leave me wanting to scream that if she can see any way to combine 2 full time jobs and 2 children under 10 without scheduling, I would love to hear it.

..and then I will start again for the next holiday. Such fun.

DilysPrice Wed 13-Jun-12 17:37:57

I'll have a bash at the survey, but although I buy a load of childcare over the course of a year, in a "typical week" I don't buy any.

Done. Not much scope for adding my opinion that settings would be better funded directly rather than through family benefits, and that staff quality in daycare settings is best improved by raising wages. <biased> but then I'm just a degree level qualified, minimum wage nursery nurse with my own childcare costs so what would I know?

smokinaces Wed 13-Jun-12 18:31:43

Done. Thank god for school in September and working term time only is all I can say.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Jun-12 19:04:32

Hi everyone

Thanks for all your comments - and for completing the survey. Point absolutely taken on school holidays (and pain shared) - with this survey we wanted to look at what is most 'usual' but think there would def be scope to have a longer look at holiday childcare in the future.

Good point on flex of childminder above 6 and to decide in collaboration with parents - we'll take the comments on here as comments made in the survey and I'm sure AnnMumsnet can tweak.

Again we'll take on board the point about directly funding providers rather than parents as if a survey response - I think question 9 is probably the place for this on the survey.

I think one of the reasons the survey is quite complicated is that the whole issue is so complicated and that very few people have straightforward, standard, regular childcare that never changes, so thanks for pursuing with survey when it can't adapt to every option.

hopenglory Wed 13-Jun-12 20:10:33

Done - but would echo comments up there about holidays (when in theory childcare could pretty much bankrupt us) and the expense a few years ago before they were in school

MrsSlocombesPussy Wed 13-Jun-12 20:41:52

Done, but I'd like to add a couple of comments:
1) When I had 2 children in private nursery I didn't pay by credit card, or not pay the fees. However we did run up a large credit card bill for more day to day living, as the fees took up a large % of our income. In effect we did borrow money, by running up debts elsewhere.
2) The cost of childcare was a major factor in us deciding to stop at 2 children. I would have love to have had 3 children, but because of my age didn't have the luxury of spreading them out to be able to afford childcare. it was bad enough having 2 children in childcare for 3 days a week for 2 years - we just couldn't have managed to pay another set of fees.

Charlotte1234 Wed 13-Jun-12 20:46:03

The cost of childcare is putting me right off having kids.

Came to Mumsnet to find out about it all smile

COCKadoodledooo Wed 13-Jun-12 21:01:53

Done, but as I clicked submit it went to the 'offline for an upgrade' page - could you see if it worked please?!

Also we always pay the bills on time, without borrowing or cards, but we have to go without other stuff/put petrol/food costs on cards sometimes in order to do so. Nursery charges £25 for late payments.

Mibby Wed 13-Jun-12 21:26:59

Done, as best I could. Couldnt see any option for rearranging hours/ working from home etc to reduce bills tho, as well as turning down jobs etc

Glittertwins Wed 13-Jun-12 21:51:27

Done but the question re childcare costing more than rent/mortgage needs to be expanded if your children now qualify for funding.
For the first 2.5 years, part time nursery fees were more expensive than our mortgage but now it isn't because of the free 15 hrs per week but there is nowhere to state this.

Bubby64 Thu 14-Jun-12 13:09:22

Done, we use a mix of friends, family and resciprical arrangements as well as formal childcare (mostly during holidays) When they were younger, my childcare costs often used to be more than I was earing, now they are a bit older and more independant, it is costing less as friends/family dont mind looking after them for several hours at a time ie before/after school, especially as they dont need " hands on" entertaining/ assistance.

BenedictsCumberbitch Thu 14-Jun-12 16:29:11

I have an amazing flexible childminder, she is the holy grail of childminding for someone who works shifts where I often don't know what I'm working 3 weeks in advance but flexible as she is I still wouldn't be able to work without the assistance of family and friends as the childminders working hours just aren't long enough for someone who works 13 hour shifts. I don't know what the solution is but I'm in awe of the single parents who work in the NHS for instance as I don't know how they do it.

susitwoshoes Thu 14-Jun-12 18:31:34


rubyslippers Thu 14-Jun-12 19:35:45


ThePathanKhansWitch Thu 14-Jun-12 20:20:30


pearlgirl Thu 14-Jun-12 20:32:44


babsmam Thu 14-Jun-12 21:09:10

done - feel that the point in the survey about working could be expanded to include having to give up work as childcare does not have provision to cover outside of core hours. my husband and i both worked shifts but i had to change jobs as paid childcare, it seems, starts at 0730 and stops at 18.00

jetstar Fri 15-Jun-12 10:10:43


boredandrestless Fri 15-Jun-12 11:48:56

Your survey would IMO have benefited from another option on the survery question asking what we do. I ticked SAHP but I would have preferred to tick carer. I am not at home out of personal choice or for financial reasons but because I have to be to care for my child with a disability.

I use a child minder for one after school session a week. It's the only socialisation outside of school that my DS has.

comixminx Fri 15-Jun-12 16:49:35

I hate the geographical question at the end - being pretty central to the country in Oxford, it's always hard to know precisely where we count in terms of Midlands, South East, South West...

DilysPrice Fri 15-Jun-12 16:58:15

Oh hi comixminx - fancy seeing you here! Are you back for a new antenatal thread?

CelineMcBean Fri 15-Jun-12 17:04:50

I had to tick part time but I'm a freelancer so it's feast or famine. Still the childcare needs to be paid regardless.

We also have a whopping mortgage that is over 50% of our net income so that might skew your results a bit.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 15-Jun-12 17:30:44

comixminx - it's standard government regions fascinating map here if you are interested Oxford would be in South East.

thereonthestair Fri 15-Jun-12 17:44:16

done but I also ticked part time, because I am pseudo self employed working officially 0.8 but my 0.8 is usually 50 ish hours per week

FoofyShmooffer Fri 15-Jun-12 17:56:23


toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Fri 15-Jun-12 20:18:16

Done. Yes it's a minefield, my child care costs are fairly minimal in term time, breakfast club only x 3 days, but the holidays will be different. DS is just finishing p1 (Scotland) in 2 weeks time, I have 7 weeks to cover, it will be a nightmare both financially and logistically. A survey on this would prove v v interesting I think!!

Ps,glad I'm not the only saddo with a spreadsheet for holiday child care!

Like previous poster I ticked that I've not had to pay for childcare on card or borrowed but have had to use the card for messages, petrol etc and borrow money from parents as once mortgage & childcare paid we're crippled. Last year I was working full-time & ds 1 yr was going 5 dys & dd was going after school & this was costing a third of my monthly salary. I've now dropped to part-time as was so frustrated to be paying all my wages to childminder & we gave dd her own key so we didn't have to pay. We would love another & I've decided to take a career break from my nursing job & register as a childminder as there's no way we could afford the costs.

PoppetOne Fri 15-Jun-12 21:21:51


PetiteRaleuse Fri 15-Jun-12 21:39:18

Done but fon't know if recorded as just as i finished the page closed.

Curlyfrizzball Sat 16-Jun-12 08:20:46

Done, but agree some questions don't give enough options. Also, where you say that it's helpful to compare childcare costs with the mother's salary, I would have thought it was more helpful to compare with the salary of the lower earner, regardless of gender. You can get the information, since you then ask about whole family income, but it seemed to me that there was an assumption running through it that it's always the mother who gives up work. Perhaps (probably) I'm over-sensitive - would love to not work full-time, but it will never be an option!

MrAlbertoFrog Sat 16-Jun-12 11:02:31

If you are working with the Daycare Trust could you find out why, when they do press releases about the cost of childcare, they always quote the cost of childcare for 35 hours a week or similar. Why do they never use the cost of childcare for a full working week including time for parent(s) to commute between work and nursery, ie. 8-6pm 5 days a week? The headline might say how expensive childcare is but the figures never give the full story.

Have filled out the survey by the way but agree with other posters comments that the credit card would be used for food/petrol because mortgage and childcare come first.

Also there is nothing about the timing of having children due to childcare. I know several families where they have waiting 5 years to get first child into school before they could think about another child since childcare for 2 is more than most people can afford.

Jackstini Sun 17-Jun-12 20:34:14

Curlyfrizzball - agree completely. We ended up having to pay for childcare early as I had to go back to work as was main wage earner.
Was really frustrated that I couldn't transfer my maternity leave to dh after first 3 months as we could have afforded for him to be on SMP for 9 more months.
Broke my heart having to put them in nursery early because the wrong one us earnt more. Am still sad and angry now when I think about it.
OK - rant over mn, sorry

xxxkadzxxx Sun 17-Jun-12 23:57:53

I only use childcare when i really have to as i feel guilty leaving my boy and that is on the odd night out with my mum when she is out with me so cant babysit! Its usually about once a year, i have a lovely babysitter who i arrange my evenings around to make sure my babe isn't left with someone we dont know or trust smile

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Jun-12 14:32:55

Thanks for the responses fanjoforthemammaries has been selected as the winner of the £50 Amazon voucher. I have emailed you. Well done

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