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Advice please- what would you do re childcare for a 1 & 2 year old?

(29 Posts)
kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 12:07:02

At the moment I have a lovely childminder who has the babies 3 days a week whilst I work. Though in September I am going full time and she does not want to do full time, so I am looking for someone else. Though the biggest problem I am having is the costs!

The cheapest childminder I found would be £400 a week, and I provide everything. And the highest I found was £700 a week for the both!! Now I would go for quality over price all the time, But even £400 a week amounts to £1600 a month and I'm still paying nappies/ breakfast/lunch/ dinner.

I'm a single parent so I am entitled to tax credits at a maximum of £300 a week.

Do you think it is worth looking for a nanny? Can you use tax credits with a nanny? Are nannies looking for well off people who can provide them with a car ect? As that is definitely not me! I live in a small flat at the moment. I live in London by the way.

Any advice? Oh the 2 year old will be 3 in January and entitled to the 15 hours free nursery care. So that will help. I am really confused and thinking that I will not be able to do my NQT year because of the costs.

Any advice or information about different childcare would be greatly appreciated.

forevergreek Sat 11-May-13 12:18:02

Well a nanny will be around the same price, and you will still pay wen eldest is in nursery as they are paid per family not per child. In London you are looking at around £10 net (12 gross per hr). So £120 ish a day based on 10 hr day. You will need to add employers ni on top.

I would say nanny around £600 - you will need to pay for food etc ontop

Childminder £400 - you will need to pay for food etc on top

Nursery - depends where in London but approx £500 a week ( if £50 Each a day), usually food etc is included. But more if nursery more..,

I think a childminder is still your cheapest option

forevergreek Sat 11-May-13 12:19:33

Oh and with a nursery it will Get cheaper with 15 hrs free, but most nannies or childminders will still need you I pay them for the 3 hrs they aren't there as they can't fill that time/ and are around if sick/ school holidays

ReetPetit Sat 11-May-13 12:19:36

How about nursery? Do you have children centers in your area? Fees are normally on a sliding scale and as a single parent i would think you might find this your cheapest option. Many children centres offer term time only places which as a teacher would probably be good for you

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 12:38:56

Thanks for that. My childminder is great and charges me reduced rates because of my situation. I appreciate her SO much!

I worked in a nursery for a few years and I think around age 3 is the best time to start (though I know many babies and toddlers thrive in nursery. Just my preference). I was toying with the idea of splitting them and sending the 2 year old (who will be nearly 3) to nursery and then the nearly 2 year old to a cm still. But they are so close. Plus I have school aged child and 3 children in 3 different places might make me go crazy.

Could you explain children centres to me? We have one round the corner but as far as I can see it is for little play and stay sessions. Not actual childcare?

nannynick Sat 11-May-13 13:24:15

What are the hours of care - start/finish times? An advantage of a nanny is that they will often work longer hours than other forms of childcare provider, such as providing very early morning care and late into the evening.

Children's centres in my area do not provide all day childcare. They might run a nursery in some areas but they don't in mine.

I'm a single parent so I am entitled to tax credits at a maximum of £300 a week.
Isn't it 70% of £300, so £210 a week?

Do you think it is worth looking for a nanny?
Probably not as I would have thought the costs will be higher.

Can you use tax credits with a nanny?
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland - where are you?
Yes you can but the process varies between countries. For example in England the nanny needs to be registered. Whereas in Scotland you have to use the services of a registered nanny agency.

Are nannies looking for well off people who can provide them with a car ect?
No. I have worked for teacher, civil servant, doctor, barrister. So it varies a bit. Nannies I feel are looking for an employer who trusts them and is not too controlling. Something they get along with, have similar views about raising children.

I live in a small flat at the moment.
That may make having childcare at home tricky, depending on the size of the flat. My flat is very small - said to my boss yesterday that my flat is about the size of their kitchen diner.

I live in London by the way.
High costs alas in many areas. Also there can be problems with car parking, though on the other hand you have pretty good bus and tube networks, unlike us who live 20 miles outside of the city.

Any advice? Oh the 2 year old will be 3 in January and entitled to the 15 hours free nursery care. So that will help.
Won't help with the costs of a nanny. May help with the cost of a childminder in the future (or now, for some childminders who are registered specifically to accept to early education funding).

HANG ON... How many children do you have IN TOTAL? You have suddenly mentioned a school aged child... how old are they? Are they not something you are factoring in to your costs?

Having 3 children makes a nanny more viable, as nannies are not paid on a per-child basis. So how much childcare is needed for this older child?

NarkyNamechanger Sat 11-May-13 13:29:50

Just so you're not surprised, if your child's birthday is January then they won't get funding until the summer term.

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 16:24:18

Whoops sorry to throw that curveball in! I never really included the costs because it wasn't as sky high as the babies. DC1 attends breakfast club and after school club. All together £45 a week.

The hours I am after are 730-530. Thank you for the detailed reply!

I knew it was the term after their 3rd birthday but I assumed it worked in half term slots? So her birthday is mid jan, I thought after the February half term she was entitled! So thank you for clearing that up, so she won't get the 15 hours until the start of the summer term, argh longer than I had thought.

ReetPetit Sat 11-May-13 16:38:17

i agree with you re nurseries generally kindlegeek (having worked in them for many years myself) but i do find the council run or children centre types one to be better quality which is why i suggested it.

you won't get the free 15 hours until the September after her 3rd birthday I don't think? check this though...

can your cm recommend anyone? Would she be willing to keep them on for the 3 days she has been doing or is she looking for an excuse to stop do you think? maybe the discount she has been giving you isn't worth her while.

it would depend a lot of which part of london but for f/t for 2 children with a childminder i would say you would be looking at £500 pw minimum.... not many will start at 7,30 either - it sounds like you have been lucky with current cm - i would charge double time per child for the hour between 7.30-8.30am...

NarkyNamechanger Sat 11-May-13 17:09:21

It's the term after third birthday.

Cut off dates are

31st August for September funding
31st December for January funding
31st March for Easter funding


nannynick Sat 11-May-13 17:19:05

Does DC1 like breakfast club, afterschool club, or would they rather be at home, or being taken to the park after school? Whilst it is not much money, there is the hassle factor of getting him to breakfast club whilst also having the little ones dressed and dropped off to childminder. Do they get invited to play at a friends house after school but have to turn down the offer due to having to go to after school club?

Having a nanny come to you could reduce the hassle factor in the morning and evening, could mean that some of the laundry mountain gets washed, flat may get the occasional vacuum but on the other hand the children will be at home more so making more mess at home.

A nanny will still cost you more but with 3 children it may be viable and make your life easier in the morning and early evening.

What happens when school is closed? Are you looking only for term time care?

nannynick Sat 11-May-13 17:29:04

So your lowest cost so far is £400 childminder, plus £45 after school club.
That I feel sounds like your lowest cost option... You are wanting 50 hours care for 2 children plus before/after school care of an older child (though I do wonder what the school holidays cost rises to).

A nanny working 50 hours a week could easily cost you £700 a week but would care for all 3 children.
For a better cost estimate:
What care is needed during school holidays
How does eldest get to/from school? Do they need escorting to school or are they senior school aged and bus,walk themselves?

nannynick Sat 11-May-13 18:10:44

In London, expect nannies Gross salary will need to be £12, possibly more.

Lets use £12 gross an hour. The market is such that there are more nannies than jobs so you should be able to get someone for that figure.

The Calculations for a nanny, 5 Days a Week:

Nannies Salary: £12 Gross per hour

Number of hours per week: 50

Nannies Salary per Week: £600 Gross – £31,286 Gross per Year

Employers National Insurance: £ 3255 2013/14 tax year (calculation by MrAnchovy?s PAYE Calculator)

Nanny Payroll: You can do this yourself or you can get a lot of a assistance from a Nanny Payroll Company such as PAYEforNannies who my employer has been successfully using for many years now. The cost of having a payroll company is around £115 a year. The payroll company will produce payslips and tell you when and how much to transfer to HMRC in terms of the deductions (Employee Tax, Employee NI) as well as your Employers NI.

Weekly Expenses Kitty (for activities/outings): You may find the cost increases during school holidays. The more children you have the higher the activity cost may need to be – perhaps consider £2.50 per day, per child. Based on a 48 week working year, nanny working 5 days per week, £7.50 x 48 weeks x 5 days= £1800 total.

Nannies Travelling Costs Whilst On Duty: If your nanny uses their own car, then employers would usually reimburse the cost at £0.45 per mile (this is known as the Approved Mileage Rate). Employers can negotiate with their employee to pay less than this, though you should take into account your nannies costs of providing a car, car seats, suitable motor insurance to include transporting children for whom they care (this can be arranged through Morton Michel and other insurance brokers)

How many miles your nanny would do will vary. Consider the usual mileage they would do to take children to school and back, to get to toddler group, other outings. I would say that I do an average of 3000 miles a year (nannying 4 days per week in a semi-rural location). Start recording the mileage you do in your car during the week, you may be quite surprised how quickly the mileage adds up even if you are just going to the local shops, library, playground, woods, PYO farm etc.

As you are in London, if all travel is by bus/tube/train then factor in cost of a travel card / oyster.

While your nanny is on duty, you give them food and drink. Nannies don’t really get a lunch hour, can’t leave your children home alone. So food is seen as a sort of perk in compensation for working without a break. How much does that add to your weekly food budget… I am not sure. Nanny will eat with the children, so eat the same thing. If nanny wants something different, I feel nanny should be buying that themselves. So increase in food bill, extra £3 a day maybe? Heating/Light will also be used more as nanny is around during some of the day, so another few pounds. If comparing with a childminder/nursery, lights wouldn’t be on at your home, heating may also be set low. There is also some additional wear and tear on the property. Shall we lump all these types of cost together… say £8 per working day. Suppose you could include cost of Employers Insurance in that (it is usually part of your home contents cover, check your policy). So 5 days x £8 = £40. 48 weeks x £40 = £1920

Total Cost of Employing a Nanny For Five Days Per Week

£31286 gross salary, Employers NI £3255, Nanny Payroll £115, Activity Kitty £1800, Mileage £?, Food/Drink/Heat/Light/Misc. £1920

So it will cost £38,376 or more.

Thus a nanny is probably not affordable and is probably close to double the cheapest childminder you have found so far.

brainonastick Sat 11-May-13 18:23:36

Essentially you need to fund 2 extra days, as it sounds like the current cost is ok. Have you considered splitting the care, to keep the current cm and low rate for as much of the week as possible?

Can you actually afford two extra days for two children even at your current cm rates? If so then you might be able to find another cm to cover just those extra days (at a slightly higher rate if your current cm is doing you a favour), which should be about do-able.

Don't forget childcare vouchers if you're not maxed out on those already.

Also, if you can find a pre-school that runs all day sessions (eg 9-3), then that could cover the two days under the 15 hours free, although you might still have to pay a bit on top for some wrap around care, and for lunch. Plus budget to fund this until the free hours kick in, and work out how you might cover holidays (although you say nqt - so holidays not a problem?).

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 18:52:15

I appreciate all this help! Ok to answer all questions:

Cm is happy to continue 3 days a week at £270. Sometimes she looks after them full time which costs £380 but my dm helps me out with money on them occasions. She says her sister in law is a cm too and I will be speaking to her soon.

Thanks name changer for the dates.

Dc1 enjoys both bc and asc. Days were I can take her to school she still wants to go to bc. She gets invited out but not a problem because they just pick her up from the class.

A nanny sounds like a dream! Mornings are stressful and sounds great to be able to leave the house to go to work. Though paying the nanny sounds very complicated! During the holidays no care is needed, so would I have to pay a nanny still?

Dd is 7 so needs to be taken to school. School is a 3 minute walk round the corner. Petrol shouldn't be needed as school is close by, children centre right next to the school, soft play 10 minute walk max. However my flat is so small I don't think anyone would want to nanny here grin(

I never even thought about food for the nanny, bills would be fine as I rent from my mum and bills are included. Employers insurance and home content are all new to me!

I really hope I can find care so I can do my NQT year!

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 18:53:22

I could just about afford the extra days but that was on the thinking of the 2 year old getting the 15 hours in feb, now I'm thinking I won't be able to.

cece Sat 11-May-13 18:56:57

Why don't you stay with your current cm for the days she can do and find another childminder/nursery for the extra days?

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 19:04:26

I'm finding it hard going as it is taking them to different places on different days (my mums twice a week), plus my cm I provide the food and I think most of my stress is cooking the night before for lunch and dinners.

So as much as I love her was hoping to find one childcare provider in which I can just drop them and food is provided.

nannynick Sat 11-May-13 19:06:27

Some nannies will do term time only and accept that holiday entitlement has to be taken during school holidays. You would have to pay for term time (probably 38 weeks) plus another 5 weeks for the holiday entitlement.

Childminders do not all do term time only and those who do may charge a retainer fee during school holidays, so check that when visiting childminders.

nannynick Sat 11-May-13 19:11:55

Are you saying your mum does childcare twice a week?

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 19:15:53

Ok thanks. Yes she looks after them twice a week for me.. Why is this a bad thing?! (Getting paranoid)

brainonastick Sat 11-May-13 19:56:52

No, not bad if youre all happy, it just means that you've got it covered if you really need? So can't you continue as you are, and find a better way to deal with the cooking etc? (eg we do massive batches at the weekend - like 20 child's portions - and freeze, so no cooking for kids in the week). Sorry if I've misunderstood.

kindlegeek Sat 11-May-13 20:30:31

My mum offered to have them for a year only- she works so has taken 2 days a week off for me. She did this so that I can qualify. If it wasn't for my mum I wouldn't be able to afford it on my trainee teacher wage.

Yes every weekend I say I'm going to batch cook and I hardly do. Too tired to think about it all.

ReetPetit Sat 11-May-13 20:30:57

if your mum does 2 days a week already then you are okay, aren't you? (unless i'm reading it wrong...) cm continues to do her 3 days and your mum does other 2?

as for cooking lunches and dinners, you are making it to hard for yourself. i'm assuming your mum provides meals the 2 days she has them? so really you only need to provide 3 days worth of meals - can't you do snack type lunches, eg, sandwiches, veg sticks (pack lunch type) and then something easy for their dinners that the cm can just re heat.
or pay your cm a little extra just to cover a cooked meal? most of only charge maybe £2 more a day (and some not at all) so it's worth asking her!

ReetPetit Sat 11-May-13 20:32:27

ok, i get it now, i think, so year is nearly up with your mum...

best bet i think is to try and find a recommended childminder, a friend of the one you have, so already familiar to the children, to cover the other 2 days...

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