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To ask about childcare

(20 Posts)
Mrsemcgregor Tue 27-Sep-16 13:33:03

I feel really stupid asking this, but I am honestly confused and need some help!

I have been a SAHM since my second DS was born, before that when I had just 1 child I worked part time at the weekends but decided to give that up when DS 2 came along so that we would actually get some family time together.

Now my boys are 7 & 3 (nearly 4 but not at school until next sept) I feel the need to work again for financial reasons as well as wanting to get back out there!

I really don't want to go back to working opposite my husband to save on childcare as I really got very down before with lack of family time. So I want to find either a full or part time day job.

I have been thinking about a childminder to take the kids to school and playgroup and then take them home and give them dinner, but then what do I do in the holidays? Is it common that a childminder would then take the kids full time? Or would I need to faff about with holiday clubs?

Also in your experience what would be the minimum you would expect to earn to off set the childcare costs and still have enough left over to make it worth while?

Hope you don't mind me asking but I am genuinely stuck!!

MatildaTheCat Tue 27-Sep-16 13:45:45

High chance that you will need to use holiday clubs so several weeks of the year you could be working at a loss unless you work in a school or get a lot of leave.

Only you can decide what is worth it. My SIL is working at a loss and creating a huge strain on the family but she and db are fine with this because she loves to work.

Mrsemcgregor Tue 27-Sep-16 13:47:54

I suspected as much, it's crazy isn't it?!

Ellypoo Tue 27-Sep-16 13:51:03

My childminder works full-time apart from 2 weeks in the Summer and at Christmas so I just juggle my hours & holidays around that but covered the rest of the time.

You & your DH might both be able to get childcare vouchers (assuming childminder is registered to take them) which will save you tax & NI so it does reduce your costs slightly.

edwinbear Tue 27-Sep-16 13:51:06

I had a childminder who did school drop off and collection and then had the dc all day in the holidays. Logistically it was great but she was very expensive and I found the dc got a bit bored as she also had some very young children so activities and toys needed to be suitable for them.

I'm now using an amazing wrap around club who do breakfast, school drop offs and collection and run all day activities throughout the holidays, for half the price of the childminder. I was/am quite a high earner (recently made redundant) so I can easily cover childcare costs and still make it very worthwhile working.

Dbsparkles Tue 27-Sep-16 13:54:46

My eldest goes to my younger children's childminder during school holidays. It's much cheaper than any of the holiday clubs round here.
I don't earn a fortune but still earn a small amount after childcare for three children. It's certainly do-able. Only one is at school.

Mrsemcgregor Tue 27-Sep-16 13:58:50

Thanks ladies, I have some decisions to make and research to do

Sancia Tue 27-Sep-16 14:01:54

I haven't got a clue, to be honest. My kids are the same age as yours and I've wanted to return to work for years. Here's how it goes: In the summer I ring the three local playschemes, but two have shut down. The third operates out of a Portacabin and was recently slammed by OFSTED for bringing in random, unchecked, unqualified family members as 'staff'. I basically doubt their judgement... So tat's any holiday plans scuppered.

OK, I'll ring childminders. I get the same answers each time - I've quit, I have a long waiting list, or I don't look after over-5s. Um. Right. OK. I get that one a lot. They want little babies to look after all day but not older kids who only need a couple of hours after school. Wasted earnings, see.

And that's basically it. I don't know who to ring next. I have nowhere I can send them in the holidays and I cannot even secure anyone to pick them up from school. I suppose I can keep ringing childminders further out, 5 miles away, 8 miles away, 15... but it's pretty exhausting hearing the same "no".

I'm cautious about choosing childcare because my own mother used to stick me in the house of any old random stranger after-school and for the summers. Dodgy 'childminders' with roaring, abusive husbands who bellowed 'Get those fucking kids out of my sight' so we'd have to scuttle into the conservatory until pick-up time. Or the summer with the woman with three teenage sons who barricaded her charges into bedrooms and demanded they remove their clothing. A distant relative with mental health issues who called us the c-word until we curled up and cried and waiting for 6pm. Yeah. Fun.

But I haven't even gotten to the interview stage yet. I literally haven't had a single possibility say "Yes, we can."

phoenix1973 Tue 27-Sep-16 14:05:39

I used to use a childminder after school.
She was way too pricey for holiday care though. I used a holiday club which cost 25 a day versus her 80 a day.
Trouble is, I had to pay her a retainer during holidays, even though the school wasn't open for her to be able to collect my child.
So I was paying twice in the holidays.
Low earner, so I gave it up.

Mrsemcgregor Tue 27-Sep-16 14:07:59

Sancia- I am glad it's not just me that is finding it a nightmare, and that's before I even begin to think about inevitable childhood illnesses that will crop up (chickenpox anyone?!). It's so frustrating.

redskytonight Tue 27-Sep-16 14:14:04

Options are:

Childminder before/after school/nursery and all day in holidays
Childminder for before/after school and youngest in holidays; book oldest in holiday clubs
Childminder for youngest; school breakfast/after school and holiday clubs for oldest (depending on what exists round you)

I think you might find your oldest thinks a childminder is too babyish (depends on the childminder obviously)

Remember that you and your DH will both get annual leave, so you don't have to cover every day of every holiday. You'll be able to "child swap" with friends as well. As others have said, the longer holidays are expensive in terms of childcare, so you have to take care to budget to cover the cost of this throughout the year.

Love51 Tue 27-Sep-16 14:17:56

Every childminder sets their own contracts. Mine were with a childminder til dc 1 started school this year. Dc 2 is still there. Minder doesn't pick up from our school (she's a few miles away but on the way to my work) so dc1 does breakfast club / after school club. I use my kids 15 hours funding to pay most of the child minding bill. Mainly dc1 will spend the hols with us, having odd days at the minders to see her old friends. I will just pay on an ad hoc basis for that, could use holiday clubs but prefer the minder.
Contact some. I phoned about 10, bumped into the person I use in the community! Only visited her and one other.

Dozer Tue 27-Sep-16 14:22:26

Very important to consider medium and long term finances as well as the short term; and for your H to do his fair share of childcare to facilitate your return to work. He is a parent too and for the first 7 years has also been able to work with everything covered at home.

Some schools have breakfast and after school clubs. There are CMs who do holidays, clubs, temporary nannies.

We split our annual leave (2 weeks off together a year) and have some help from family for a couple of weeks a year. There is also unpaid parental leave.

Love51 Tue 27-Sep-16 14:23:50

When I say dc2 will spend the hols with us, I mean we will each take some annual leave. I only work 3 days, so in the summer my parents will take her for 3 days as well. It's very patchwork but so long as the kids are happy, that's ok! Dc1 enjoys the childminders but there are quite a few kids a tiny bit older than her, which she enjoys. There are always bigger kids in the hols, but it is quite a big set up with lots if space and a full time assistant (Mr childminder) who also coaches football so the big lads enjoy that!

sianihedgehog Tue 27-Sep-16 14:29:19

I use a childminder. She works every day 7am until 6pm and does school pick up and drop off. She's Ofsted registered and rated outstanding, and my son ABSOLUTELY ADORES her. He loves the other children and has blossomed there.

However, I pay an arm and a leg. Costs seem to vary a lot by region, and in the south east they are astronomical.

Dozer Tue 27-Sep-16 14:30:20

"My SIL is working at a loss and creating a huge strain on the family but she and db are fine with this because she loves to work"

Nice bit of sexism there.

tinselandpeppermint Tue 27-Sep-16 14:49:55

I am a childminder and cater for both pre school and school aged children during term times and holidays. I think it's fair to say that most childminders will do this, at least they do in my area.
I charge £4.00 p/h and ask parents to supply meals and snacks.
During the holidays I have children of all ages but I do ensure that each age group is kept entertained and has plenty to do. I also take the kids on lots of outings during holidays and from the feedback I get from the kids and their parents, I am happy to say that the children enjoy coming here.
I send out notification to all my families each January to advise them of my holiday dates for the coming year, so parents have plenty time to sort out alternative childcare for when I am on holiday.
I am registered, insured and do numerous training courses though out the year to keep up to date with current legislation and best practice and so on.
There are many excellent childminders out there, so please don't give up on us OP, I hope you find someone lovely to care for your children.

nannynick Tue 27-Sep-16 15:31:16

A local childminder may be ideal for you, coordinate your holiday with when their service is unavailable.

When comparing providers look at your total annual cost not the per hour cost. As has been mentioned, there are various charges such as retainer fee to be factored in.

Tax-Free Childcare starts in 2017, probably Summer 2017 for you but it may be earlier (it is being rolled out by age of youngest child). That may be worth up to £4,000 for your family.

Mrsemcgregor Tue 27-Sep-16 15:48:43

tinselandpeppermint you sound amazing!! I hope there are childminders like you near me!

nannynick I hadn't thought to look into the childcare changes that are coming in, thank you.

DinosaursRoar Tue 27-Sep-16 16:37:32

Look at the before/after school club and then using a nursery for DC2 as well - particularly if you can use your 15 hours of pre-school at the nursery, that will reduce the daily rate.

Your DH's holiday allowance will have to be used for childcare in the holidays, remember if you do'nt work full time but do full days (so say, you do 3 full days a week), your DH won't have to take a full week of his leave to cover your time off, but school holiday leave often gets booked up early and you and your DH will have to get it booked ASAP to keep the costs down.

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