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Child care options for shirt workers?(5 Posts)
Me and my partner are close to having our first child and have been looking at child care options, but we have hit a brick wall. My partner is a full time teacher and I work shift work that rotates through the week ie Mon-Fri morning, then the following week I would work Tues-Sat morning and so on. Which means I can look after our child at times during the week.
So we don't need full time care.
We have tried some nurseries and some child minders, but it would appear no one will cover shifts and want us to pay for full time care. We cannot afford full time care at the moment and both of our parents still work full time.
So do we have any options or are we doomed from the start?
Thank you for any help given.
My DH is a shift worker, and the shifts are irregular and unpredictable. It's a real struggle to find childcare for just the hours you want. Nurseries are just not flexible, and your best bet is probably a childminder. You might find somebody who is able to be flexible, though some sort of a weekly retainer or basic pay might be necessary. I ended up working part-time ( every day but finishing at 2pm) and having childcare arranged to cover my hours. This meant just accepting that sometimes we would have to pay for childcare when we didn't actually need it. The upside was that both of us would sometimes get a little time to ourselves ( or time to do the shopping and housework). it was annoying that we had to pay out for childcare we didn't need, but never did find a way round it ( DSs now teenagers).
Sorry can't tell you anything more positive. Just keep asking around, advertise, and bear in mind whatever arrangements you put in hand now might well be different in a year's time.
Nanny share? If you could find someone locally who already employs (or needs) a nanny to cover more than the hours you'll need, you could try to make an arrangement for them to look after your little one at the same time with the exact hours finalised on a weekly basis. It would save money for the other parents involved & you could work it out so the nanny got paid a bit more when they had an extra child to look after. There are various nanny sharing websites which try to help put local parents together which might be able to help - I had always thought that a nanny would be miles too expensive, but if you're not needing full time care and can share with somebody else, then you may find that only paying for the hours you actually use (even if you pay more than you would for a childminder/nursery for those hours) will save you money overall. It certainly did for us for the 6 months that we had a shared nanny and I was working mornings.
The other possibility that springs to my mind is that you could advertise (eg on gumtree) for a flexible part time nanny and see who applies - depending on where you live, there might be somebody living nearby who would be delighted with a job like this (I remember we had a local art student who applied for our nanny share job who was lovely & didn't want full time work as she needed time for her art). I have a friend who employs a mature student on a very flexible basis whenever her husband is away on business trips & it seems to work very well for everyone concerned. The great thing with nannies is that you don't have to end up paying for lots of time that you won't be using.
Obviously you might find a really flexible childminder who isn't too bothered about filling up full time spaces because they don't want to take on too many children, but this might be tricky - particularly because the sorts of people who might be willing to do this sort of work (eg childminders like me!) are unlikely to be advertising for more children at the moment (I only take children on on a part-time basis & it's always been through word of mouth). Spread the word like mad with everyone you know through playgroups/children's centres/other mothers you might meet, particularly those with older children & you might be lucky. Sorry this has got so long..... Good luck!
Oops, just noticed this topic reads "shirt workers" and not "shift workers", damn auto correct!
Thank you for the information AuntySib & januarysnowdrop. You have both been very helpful.
We did not realise how stressful this sort of thing could be!
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