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Childcare For 7 Children

(45 Posts)
MyUserNameIsGreat Mon 29-Feb-16 17:30:23

Hi, I'm a new member although I've lurked on and off for years. I'm now in a position where I need some advice from you lovely people.

I'm mum of 4 boys ages 8 (9 in May), 7 (just turned last month), 3 (4 in a couple of weeks) and almost 11 months.

For the past 4 months, my husband and I have been caring for his sisters three children whilst she has been unwell. This was supposed to have been for just a couple of weeks but unfortunately she is still not well enough to care for her children (she is a single mum, widowed). The children are 7, 5 and 3 (4 in May).

I have to go back to work after Easter. I am a primary school teacher. I was supposed to return after Christmas but took an extra term off unpaid. I now need to return to work. I will be working at minimum 8:30 til 4pm but prefer to stay at school an extra hour or two to set up for the next day and to do any marking rather than taking it home with me.

My husband is manager of a retail store working 12 hour shifts plus 45 minutes travel time each way. He has used all his annual leave and we can't afford for him to take time off.

There is no family to help. My husband and his sister grew up in foster care and only have each other. My own parents are elderly and I don't have any siblings.

So we need to look at paying for childcare.

At the moment we have the two 3 year olds in nursery for 5 mornings a week.

We need somebody to have the baby all day (8am to 6pm), drop the children at school and nursery (nursery attached to school), pick up the nursery children, go back again to pick up the school children and then look after them until 6pm.

Or something like that, anyway.

What do you think would be the best childcare for us? A full time nanny (if we could find somebody to have 7 children!!), one full and one part time nanny, childminders??

fakenamefornow Mon 29-Feb-16 17:36:37

I think you undoubtedly need a nanny. Are you getting SS help with your sil's children?

Could these people help/advise?

www.kinshipcarers.co.uk

fieldfare Mon 29-Feb-16 17:41:32

A full time nanny would fit your needs. A childminder would be able to but they'd be right at the limit so unable to look after any other children at all. It would probably be easier for the person to be in your home to give all the children more continuity.
You're doing a marvellous thing by helping out with your nieces and nephews.

Jesabel Mon 29-Feb-16 17:43:42

So an 8yo, two 7yo, 5yo, two 3yo and a 1yo?

Is there an after school club?
Do you have space for an au pair?

I would try to separate it out a bit - a nanny for the 3yos and 1yo.
Maybe the nanny can drop them all at school.
After school club if possible for the school children
Nanny to collect 3yos from nursery and look after til 6pm.

If you have space for an au pair - au pair does before and after school for the older 4, nanny for the younger 3.

Artandco Mon 29-Feb-16 17:50:12

A nanny would suit. They have no actual limited on how many they have.

I would keep the two 3 three year olds in morning nursery also. Then nanny start 8am and drop 4 at school, 2 at nursery, and has 9-12 to have just baby and do something with them and sort out kids dinner or something for later whilst baby naps to make it easier later.
Then has 3 12-3pm, and all 7 again 3-6pm. So she only has all 7 4 hours a day

As long as you help also by being organised and helpful for example making sure all are dressed and eating before 8am so they can take over without panicked rush before leaving for school. As as long as older 4 are good in general about not running off etc.

nannynick Mon 29-Feb-16 18:45:35

Nanny public liability insurance often has the limit of 6 children but as long as you and the nanny are happy knowing that the insurance probably won't pay out if anything did go wrong, it is fine. One new insurance provider does not seem to have a limit, so may be useful.

Consider the practical things - how will a nanny get the children to school? You will have been doing this yourself, so the same method is likely to work but if you were using your car and you need to use your car to get to work, then what would nanny use?

Consider the costs - a nanny will not be cheap but unlike other forms of childcare they are paid a salary that you decide, not charge a per-child fee. So you are in control and need to decide what you pay (you may need to pay quite well to get someone who will take on this many children) and what their responsibilities would be. You also want to look into your employer duties such as doing payroll/PAYE, providing a contract and also look at what help with childcare cost you may be able to get such as Childcare Vouchers.

BendydickCuminsnatch Mon 29-Feb-16 18:50:36

Have you enquirer with www.home-start.org.uk? Haven't experienced them myself but seen them recommended a lot on here and just had a look at their site for you, looks promising?

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 29-Feb-16 19:35:45

What were your plans for childcare going to be if didn't have your sisters children ?

How long will you be having them? Tho hard to pinpoint but may be easier in finding a nanny if you say will be 7 for 3mths then back to 4

So both 3 are nearly 4 do if this was a long term arrangement then come sept and will be 6 at school and just your baby who will be 18mths or so

I'm sure my insurance is for 7 / but if it was for 6 then I wouldn't accept this job as if anything ever happens then the nanny would be unlikely to find another job easily

We are always saying nannies need pli yet seems in this instance if 6 then the nanny will be breaking the rules

Salary is very hard to judge as nannies are per family not child but obv this is two families/lots of children - and needs to be taken into consideration - esp if long term

You would also need a very experienced nanny to be able to Cope with all ages. Yes most at school but what happens in holidays - are you off as a teacher

Do you want term time only?

Sorry to hear of your sisters loss - way is good - I joined after my dh died - plus winstons wish for children

How are they coping with the loss of their father and possibly in their mind their mum as well while they live with you?

Are you getting any support?

Jesabel Mon 29-Feb-16 19:38:43

Home Start offer visiting/friendship for 2-3 hours a week rather than childcare.

MyUserNameIsGreat Mon 29-Feb-16 20:13:02

Don't want you to think I'm ignoring all of your wonderful replies, just don't get 5 minutes to myself at the moment - will read and reply properly when I can.

writingonthewall Mon 29-Feb-16 20:47:20

Agree you need a nanny but prepare to pay over the odds. Round here £10 per hour net is the going rate - friend of mine with 5 children couldn't find anyone willing to do it at £12 per hour net.

MyUserNameIsGreat Tue 01-Mar-16 07:14:43

Do you think it's acceptable to pay, for example, £10 per hour when its just the baby, £12 when she's got toddlers then £16 per hour when she's got the older ones too. So basically extra £1 per child per hour. For a whole day that would be

Breakast club (from 7.45am) is £2.50 per child so that's £10 per day and then after shool club until 6pm is £8 per child so in total £42 a day!

So for a whole day, something like £146.

The school is in walking distance but across two busy main roads so I can't/won't let the children walk so far alone. We live in a different area to most of the children who go to the school (they all live on one big estate, we live the other side of the school if that makes sense) so I can't even pay one of the mums to walk mine with hers.

Sorry I'm just thinking/typing outloud.

writingonthewall Tue 01-Mar-16 07:32:55

That's far too complicated and will cost you more in payroll costs to alter the pay each day. Pick an average figure that is maybe 25% more than the going rate in your area.

Artandco Tue 01-Mar-16 07:55:00

Too complicated. I would just pay say £15 gross per hour if that's more than average for area.

£10 net, would be £13-£13.50 gross which is average for most areas outside London.

You need to pay the same as you never know really how many she will have also. She will be on call for all 7 so if one is sick they will stay home, if another is ill at school she will collect etc. She will also have all 7 in the school holidays ( which is loads of the time in most places)

£15 gross, is £150 a day for 10 hrs.

I would just allow for her to gradually get used to 7 in the home first, so Easter/ may holidays lots of playing in garden etc

Cindy34 Tue 01-Mar-16 09:35:04

Keep the pay simple. It gets horribly complicated if pay varies as what do you pay on a day the nanny has off as holiday? Agree an annual salary and then you know your main cost for a year.
If the job changes dramatically, then you then give notice of the change and the nanny accepts the new role or leaves/is redundant.

How will they get to school if you don't want them walking across the busy roads?

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 01-Mar-16 09:45:45

A set hourly figure rather then chop and change as too confusing to work out esp if some were ill and lookimg after them

I think you are looking at £15/17 gross as you will need an experienced or older nanny to cope with them all

Are they are different schools ? Or are you paying for breakfast club and after school to make easier for the nanny so most days she won't have the older 4 from 730/6 unless holidays and will have baby all day and 2 almost 4yrs from lunchtime

And timescale? Is your Sil likely to get better?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 01-Mar-16 11:38:18

Firstly, I take my hat off to you. I struggle with 2 and a FT job.

Are your SIL's children actually living with you and does that need to be the case? As her children are all nursery/school age then an experienced au pair with oversight from you/kids coming to you on weekends might be workable?

Have you spoken to the school about an extended leave of absence to establish if it is feasible to return in September? A FT nanny is likely to wipe out your income or are there funds available from your SIL?

Do you have space for a live in au pair/nanny either at your home or at SIL's if she is within walking distance?

If funds don't permit the luxury of a FT nanny assuming you can find one, then I'd suggest a childminder for the 3yo's and the baby, with the remaining 4 children in breakfast club/after school club. As your requirement is term time only I think it will be less disruptive to make formal arrangements for 3 children rather than 7.

If funds permit then a FT nanny with a driving licence is a no-brainer.

summerainbow Tue 01-Mar-16 15:47:31

Are you getting all the child benefit s and tax credits?
because with all the issues going on for the kids it might be better if your husband gives up work . and he works in school holidays if you need the money and you have the kids

salsamad Tue 01-Mar-16 15:59:02

As you are a teacher and have school holidays, could you considered offering longer holidays for the Nanny eg several days off at every half term, a week off at Easter and Christmas and then three/four weeks off during the Summer break and this with a slightly higher wage might make the job more tempting.

MyUserNameIsGreat Tue 01-Mar-16 18:48:23

I've finally got a few minutes spare to read properly and to reply.

Social Services are not currently involved as this was supposed to be just for a couple of weeks.

If we could get financial help by reporting to social services and officially fostering them, then we will do that but I worry they'll think we aren't in a position to foster and will find other homes for them.

My husband has his sisters bank card and is taking out her child benefit each week.

The children are at the same school.

My plans without sil's children was my baby would go to nursery, we'd pay for my toddler to stay all day at nursery and then childminder for after school.

Offering an annual salary makes sense especially as I wouldn't need somebody all day every day of the holidays.

Neither myself nor my husband want to give up work. We have both worked very hard to get to the positions we are in now and enjoy our jobs.

Artandco Tue 01-Mar-16 20:56:15

Is there any way you and Dh can adjust work hours? Not give up but alter

So one of you starts very early and back by 3pm for after school. The other starts later so can do school and nursery runs and works later. That way you would only need care for youngest 3 term time 9-3pm approx. And nothing for elder ones to save costs. Or even if you need just after school or morning care rather than both it would help

I would contact social services though for help. It's far cheaper they pay for some childcare for 3 than full time fostering. They will want them to stay with family if possible

bostonkremekrazy Tue 01-Mar-16 21:05:11

myusernameisgreat

it is highly unlikely that you will get any fostering monies for your SIL children - it will be classed as kinship care and therefore no monies are paid. you are right also, it means social services starts looking at your ability to care for them and may decide you are not able to care for them and begin proceedings to bring them into local authority care - the children will then become LAC - looked after children.

if you can afford to go ahead and hire somebody and go back to work that may be best.

alternatively - you can transfer the child benefit into your name, and then claim tax credits - it may then become financially possible for one of you to give up work in order to care for the children.

hth.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 02-Mar-16 00:23:33

so 3 types of childcare for your 3, what would be the cost of that, nursery,preschool and cm

then the added cost of a nanny for all 7

no way should you give up your jobs as you have worked long and hard

agree an au apir may help with the overload and takeing/picking up from school, plus some cooking/cleaning while nanny is there

how long will they be with you? tho how long is a piece of string sad

few months or possibly in sept? when all older 6 will be at school and just your baby, who will be a toddler daytime

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 02-Mar-16 09:57:39

So by the sound of it all 7 children are in your home and your SIL is not in her home at present given the odd circumstance of your husband having her bank card.
You are both middle income workers so unlikely to have a spare room left free in that case for an au pair or three.
Your husbands hours mean that he is basically unavailable Mon-Fri though he quite possibly has two days off during the week and works weekends at least several times a month in a rota pattern.

In my view you have a few objectives to meet:
You should not factor your husband into the childcare rota formally. On a week to week basis his schedule will change and that will give you both some flexibility for emergencies but also would allow you to work late on an ad hoc basis maybe two evenings a week and burn through some prep work. With 7 kids in the house there is presumably plenty of domestic work that needs doing on his days off and his SIL to visit.
Ideally you need childcare in place that will ensure that when you get the kids home in the evening, homework is done and it is simply dinner, bath and bedtime. Another teaching professional like a TA might be useful for home after school care if you can't be sure that

You need childcare in place which meets your needs should your SIL regain her health. Employing a nanny worth her salt willing to take on the care of 7 kids is going to require a reasonable notice period and plenty of cash. FT for a year is going to cost upwards of £35k gross to you out of your taxed income assuming you do it the legal way and pay NI and register as an employer. If you don't then you are still looking at circa £500+ a week in cash.

If that's not remotely feasible financially, then I would suggest that you look for a childminder within walking distance of the school who is prepared to employ an assistant so that he/she can increase their quota of kids.

The alternative is to offer a term time position to someone to present themselves at your house at 6.30am to help get them out the door and do drop offs - 6.30 - 9.30am for example, and after school care at your home. I would put the baby and the two 3yo's into nursery until close to school pick up time and possibly the baby into nursery until 5?.
I would advertise to TA's, nursery workers and childminders.
Then the other MN mantra about outsourcing anything you can like the cleaning, ironing, etc

And I would seriously consider calling Social Services for assistance. 4 months and rising is a big commitment already. How long can you realistically do this for? Large families exist but the children tend to be more spaced out and self sufficient unless you've had a run of twins!
If you have a well drafted plan, with continuity of care and simply need financial assistance to execute it, then it's a much better proposition than someone flapping about? [I'm not suggesting you are, but I certainly would be!].

I interviewed a nanny once who worked two jobs. 6-8am / 5-8pm with one family and an 8-5 with a another family. They lived a street away so she could hop between them. The first family was simply to help with getting everyone out the door and at the other end of the day, homework dinner and bed. People do, do this sort of thing. Bloody long day but she seemed happy enough.

Your SIL is a very lucky woman to have you both in her corner.

MyUserNameIsGreat Wed 02-Mar-16 16:51:18

I am sooo pleased to be able to report we have a solution, sort of anyway, I don't know if it's legal.

Chatting to a lady at school who I thought was one of the mums but turns out she is a childminder. One family she childminds for no longer needs her so she spaces. She can only have five children at any one time and currently has just one. If I pay her to take the toddlers and 5 year old to nursery/school along with the baby, then the other children can walk with them but she won't actually be responsible for them. They are 8, 7 and 7. Do you think that would be ok? They'd basically just be walking with her rather than her actually taking them. I've said I'll pay her a little extra.

And then she'll pick up the toddlers at 12pm, then the 5 year old at 3pm and the others walk with them again.

Please tell me this sounds ok??

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