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Working mums with a baby and school age kids- how do you manage childcare??(18 Posts)
I'm going back to work three days a week in February and still trying to work out child care options. I have two school age children (8 and 7) and a baby who'll be 11 months in feb. I was going down the nanny route but have been slightly put off by high costs and, so far, not managing to find anyone I like enough! I'm now thinking about childminders as I actually feel more comfortable with that - always had lovely ones for my other two when they were little. But how do I manage the older ones after-school care ... I'll be lucky to find a CM who'll do school pick ups. So I could get someone else just for pick ups, who could then possibly also pick up the baby too so everyone is home and happy by the time I get back from work. But is that all getting horribly complicated... I can't work it out! any advice from other mums in a similar position would be hugely appreciated....
We have a 2 and 4 year old who had just started school. The younger one goes to nursery which we manage and the older one we have an after school nanny to pick up. My partner cut hours so we can do drop off - there is no breakfast or after school club at the school. It might make more sense in our situation to have a nanny but my mum looks after younger one two days and we are happy with the nursery. Good luck - it isn't easy when they are in two locations!
Thanks October - yes it is the diff locations that makes things tricky isn't it... My children are at two diff school sites too, infant and junior, just to complicate matters! I think if I found a lovely after school person to pick them up though it should all work ok. A nanny would be most simple, but I honestly can't get my head around the expense of it- it would cost so much more than what I earn.
Is a childminder who lives near school who can care for all 3 children an option?
How will you do school holidays, would you need care then?
I have known parents who have found a childminder who could take all 3 children, others who have used an aupair and nursery combination with parents able to cover school holidays.
Two different schools makes it harder but do they stagger the pickup times? It's impossible for anyone to be in two places at once, so with staggered drop off/pickup it would still work if you could find a childminder.
Budget wise, childcare during school holidays could be a lot, more than a nanny possibly so whilst you would have lower cost in termtime, you would have higher cost in school holidays, so need to work out costs carefully, taking into account holiday retainer fees, holiday pay.
The after school person is a part-time nanny. Could fit well with having youngest at a nursery or childminders. Could the after school person also cover some full days during school holidays?
The only way I found to make it work was to send the older DC to private school - the fees cover 08:30 until 17:45 and if I pay extra I can cover 07:30 until 19:30. The younger one goes to a private nursery. It was the only solution that allowed us both to work FT.
3 yo goes to nursery
6 yo goes to breakfast and after school club. Sometimes also holiday club. It's all the same club. On school premises, but seperate to school. One of the deciding factors on choosing this school was the wrap around care available.
Why is it hard for you to find cm to do school pick ups? Are there not many minders? Your 8yr old won't count in cm numbers so could make it slightly easier finding a minder who would have 2spaces rather than 3. I had 3 and couldn't justify going back to work so became a cm and still do it even thought they're all at school. It's tricky finding what's best 2work for you and your family. Good luck!
Yes a nanny is a huge cost but tbh once you have 3 children it is usually the cheaper cost
Yes you could find a cm who will pick up but in the holidays you will be paying for extra care so need to work out roughly 13/14 weeks of fulltime care for 3 plus 38/39 weeks of one baby and 2 pre/after school fees against what a nanny would cost every week times 52
Thanks all... Takesalomgtime yes it's quite hard to find CMs who'll pick up from their school. At least I haven't found one so far... And yes blondes I've just been doing some sums and once I've added up CM cost plus after-school nanny plus extra school hol care it doesn't work out any cheaper and I may as well get a nanny! Argh... It's so hard. I'm really struggling with the idea of paying someone so much to look after my kids- I guess there's a big bit of me that feels ambiguous about going back to work and whether it's worth it. Will it just make all our lives more stressful ... Or will it be fine cos kids will be well looked after and I will be a more rounded fulfilled individual!!
It will be fine as you obv want to work and you enjoy your job
Some parents on here so practically pay their salary to their chikdcare for the first few years of their lives but once all at school then the costs are less
Guess you need to work out do you want /need to work ie for your sanity or so you don't lose where you are in your career or you want to be a sahm
I've done different combinations of Childminder and Breakfast/after-school clubs.
It was heaven when they were finally all at the same afterschool CM . You have to just 'do it' sometimes. Of course, would be lovely to find a CM who can have the baby and collect from your older dcs' school, but if it's not to be, then remember, it's for such a short time, you will just grin and bear it.
We had a daily nanny including when we had 3 children at school and twin babies at home. That is actually the cheapest option compared to 2 full time nursery places plus after school care for the older ones. Worked out very well.
Oh my gosh Greengrow am seriously impressed at you having three at school plus twins!! And going back to work! I should jus stop moaning and get on with it
Are there any nurseries that run an after school club and pick up from school?
I think it also depends on how much annual leave you get and if you and your partner are willing to stagger it. Say you both get 4 weeks, you could conceivable cover 8 weeks of the school holidays that way. That would leave about 4 weeks but as you are only working 3 days a week that is only 12 days a year that you need school holiday cover for. At least in my area there are quite a few holiday clubs where you can book single days as needed. It is also fairly common for childminders who look after a baby to offer occasional adhoc holiday care without a retainer for older siblings. Not all will be willing to do this but some will. It might just swing the calculation in favour of some sort of childminder/after school nanny combo.
It might also be worth looking into an unregistered 'childminder' type of person for the two older children. I know there are a couple at my children's school. Basically other mums who collect a few extra children each afternoon and look after them at their own houses. You don't need to be registered to look after over 8's so as soon as your 7 year old turns 8 this might be an option. The trouble is these mums don't usually advertise on official channels so can be hard to find, it's mainly word of mouth.
So one potential combo might be:
Childminder for baby all year round who is willing to do adhoc days for the older two during the school hols. Plus cheapest after school care you can find for the older two, whether that be after school club, after school nanny, after school nanny share, childminder or unregistered mum from the school.
Maybe a bit off topic for this thread but CM/nursery for baby and after school club for the older two can work well if school has one. DC positively choose to go to after school club and it means they also have the option to do after school activity clubs which would probably not be possible with a CM.
We find hols are much less of an issue than we'd expected. I know 13 weeks sounds terrifying but the reality is much easier than you'd think. Me being PT (also 3 days) is key to it all working - it means that between us we don't need to use up many days' leave to cover a week. Also I don't work Mondays so my bank hol allowance mainly becomes flexible leave. We use a tiny amount of holiday clubs - my 7 year old does more than we need, just because she enjoys it. My youngest had a term time only contract at nursery because we needed to be home generally for the older one anyway in hols. We used nursery ad hoc for extra days in the hols. We were v lucky to have such a flexible nursery, and it saved us a fortune, but I think the books would have balanced with a year round contract too.
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