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How do you manage half terms/holidays with 12 hour shifts?!

(13 Posts)
someredhairedchick23 Fri 06-Oct-17 11:00:07

I'm sure this has been asked 1000's of times before but I'm about to start a new job so really need advice. My new job will require me to work 12 hour night shifts, now I'm entitled to the 30 hours free childcare so I'll sign my son up to extra time at nursery which will allow me to sleep during the day. The problem I'm stuck on is how will I manage during half term and especially summer holidays. If my son is at home I'll not get any sleep and of course this will be a problem. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has a similar work setting. My other half works 9-5.30 and I'll be doing 8pm-8am 3 nights a week, alternating weekends. We don't have a support network, no family/friends that are able to watch my son. Childcare is ridiculously expensive (this is why we can't have another child). I'm really looking forward to starting this new job and I'd really like to make it work as I can't bear the thought of having to go back to supermarket retail. Any advice will be so helpful as I'm struggling to figure out how people do it without being worse off...

Snap8TheCat Fri 06-Oct-17 13:00:22

Can you use a provider that is open all year round and stretch your funded hours?

jannier Fri 06-Oct-17 14:46:28

stretched funding allows you about 22 hours a week. Its worth checking to see if tax credits are a better option as most parents find it is.

If you don't work 5 nights a week you can also look at a setting like a cm who will take funding on variable days.

someredhairedchick23 Fri 06-Oct-17 15:28:30

Thank you for replies. Stretching my hours would not allow me enough time to rest after a 12 hour shift ready for another 12 hour shift that night, plus as my son is at nursery school they don't offer the extra hour and not many minders will be willing to work for just an hour. Stretching the hours is just as difficult. We are not entitled to tax credits but we cannot really afford £50+ it could cost per day to use a childminder during holidays. It's a sad state when I have to part with over half my nights salary just so I can rest for another night of work. I know we'll still be better off than having to pay for it 5 days a week but it's just so frustrating. I think our plan is to use the 30 hours during term time but save up during the year ready for the summer holidays.

Snap8TheCat Fri 06-Oct-17 18:07:24

You can also use Tax Free Childcare Vouchers to save another 20% on the holiday care.

Not sure what else to say really. 30 hours is new and quite generous to parents and providers are already taking a hit by accepting that and you still don’t think it’s enough?!

someredhairedchick23 Fri 06-Oct-17 23:03:24

I didn't know that so will look into it, thank you. However, I'm not quite sure how you've come to the conclusion that I don't think 30 hours is enough. Nowhere I have I stated it isn't enough or in anyway suggested I'm ungrateful for the opportunity, even expressing disdain at the fact that without the free hours I would be working to be out of pocket. The only reason I can even consider this job is because of the 30 hours.
I'm sorry you misinterpreted what I was saying and again, thank you for the tip on Tax-Free vouchers...

jannier Sun 08-Oct-17 00:26:03

Why not just move totally to a child-minder then? They offer exactly the same as a nursery but with more flexibility. Then allow for you and your partners holiday entitlements that could match your cm's cutting the 13 weeks holiday to maybe 9 and work that out over a year to put into a savings account.

If stretched funding is 22 hours wouldn't you only have to find 8 hours a week to pay for? or less if like me you live on 6 hours sleep max a night.

Gibble1 Sun 08-Oct-17 00:35:52

Myself and everyone I know used to just cope on barely any sleep between our night shifts. We tried to work only 2 shifts together and would sleep as best we could on the day between shifts- some had childcare during that day. Offering to work more weekends over the holidays means less time lost to sleep but also less family fun time.
Other friends used to make sure they worked different shifts to their friends and then looked after each other's children.
I'm so glad I'm past that stage! I was permanently knackered and often fell asleep whilst holding a cup of coffee.
This was before 30 hours free childcare. They got 12.5, then 15 hours free in the term after they turned 3. But our provider only offered 2.5 hour sessions so even when the littlest went and DD was at school, I would drop off at 9:15, pick up at 11:45, drop off at 12:30 and pick up at 15:00. So still not much sleep.
So glad those times are over. I used to say to myself "it's only 2 years away, you can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes" ala Flylady.

insancerre Sun 08-Oct-17 07:42:10

You could move him to a nursery that is open all year round
Put him in full time so he has a place on the holidays
Most nurseries offer a discount for full time
Use your 30 hours stretched over the year
Sign up for tax free childcare to save another £20
It is only for a year as presumably he will be at school in September

insancerre Sun 08-Oct-17 07:43:18

20% not £20

Itscurtainsforyou Sun 08-Oct-17 07:54:34

Did you say how old he was OP? When he's at school you'll only have to pay wraparound care/holiday club, which should work out much cheaper (here nursery is £50 a day, breakfast/after school club is £15 total per day and holiday club is £25).

Under 5s childcare can cripple you financially, but it's a relatively short amount of time and often worth paying as it keeps your career/work history current.

Definitely looks into childcare vouchers/the new tax free scheme. Ask your OH to look into vouchers from his work (I don't think they've stopped doing them yet).

Good luck

someredhairedchick23 Sun 08-Oct-17 10:11:23

Thank you all for your ideas, it's been really helpful to have others input! He is in a nursery school so they're not open all year and he really enjoys it, so it seems unfair to uproot him just for a year. That being said it is just a year and I've only got to see it through somehow until he starts reception next September. I know stretching hours works for some but it will be easier for us to use all the hours during terms and put away £50 a month ready for than pay £50 a week. My shifts will be 3 nights in a row, potentially moving up to 4 on alternate weeks. I'd love to have a day job but with these hours it will work out that I have less weekdays rather than pay for/worry about full time childcare. You are absolutely right childcare is so expensive and sometimes it feels you're working simply to pay for someone else to raise your child. That's another thing putting me off having another baby, I don't know how we'd afford the all year around care until they're in nursery! I have new respect/admiration for those who had to do it without free hours!

insancerre Sun 08-Oct-17 11:12:52

You could both start buying childcare vouchers if your employed!her is part of the scheme
And save them up for your holiday care provider

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