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if you're both working parents, how do you manage school times

(33 Posts)
arroh Mon 20-Feb-12 22:16:45


We're both full time working parents and have one DC approaching school age. Currently we manage the nursery (8am-6pm) with one of us doing the early (drop-off) shift and the other doing the late (pick-up) shift.

However, I have absolutely no clue as to people manage the school times; what happens when you need to pick up your DC at 3.30? I don't think either of us can realistically work such flexible times due to the reasonably senior nature of our jobs.

People we know either have one parent working and the other caring for the DCs or a live-in nanny: neither of which are an option for us! Our own parents are either too far away or too infirm to help much.

What do you do? Nanny share? Flexi-time? After school clubs?

All hints and tips would be appreciated!


scurryfunge Mon 20-Feb-12 22:17:50

I had au pairs.

Wilts Mon 20-Feb-12 22:23:33

Ds2 goes to breakfast club in the morning and a childminder after school.

TheDetective Mon 20-Feb-12 22:33:57

Childminder or wrap around care at the school.

FunnysInTheGarden Mon 20-Feb-12 22:37:04

yes, I drop off at 8.45 at school and CM picks up, but CM would have DC from 7.30am if needs be. DH collects at 4pm, but again CM could have DC until 6-6.30 if we needed it. No parents near by at all, at least 600 miles away!

Beamur Mon 20-Feb-12 22:39:29

Flexi-time and working from home - we are fortunate, plus my Mum.
School does offer before and after school care though.

molly3478 Mon 20-Feb-12 22:39:37

I used to work for breakfast and after school club and we would pick up all children in the area from all the various schools and take them to the setting make them tea and look after them until 6pm

TheFallenMadonna Mon 20-Feb-12 22:40:57

DH drops off to school (or breakfast club if early meeting), I pick up from after school club. You need those or a CM!

Bonsoir Mon 20-Feb-12 22:41:14

After school nanny? Mother's help who can do pick up and make your supper?

weasle Mon 20-Feb-12 22:46:53

Breakfast club, after school club, childminder, au pair, nanny.

Could you go in late a couple of mornings each so would only need bf club once/week?
Finish early one day and do a reciprocal arrangement with friend at same school, accounting for 2 days?
Afterschool club like football or French?

Council has list of childminders and that may tell you which schools they do. Good for holidays too.

arroh Mon 20-Feb-12 22:48:57

Thanks for the answers! What's wrap around care at school? Is that a breakfast club in the morning and some after school club? Are these economical? How did you decide on a childminder?

Sorry - so many questions!

Bonsoir Mon 20-Feb-12 22:50:59

It's always nice for little children to be able to come back to their own home at the end of the day...

Wilts Mon 20-Feb-12 22:51:51

Wrap around care at our school is really reasonably priced. Unfortunately it is also heavily oversubscribed. Ds2 has a place in the mornings but is still on the waiting list for after school. His childminder is great, but considerably more expensive.

MollieO Mon 20-Feb-12 22:53:22

Ds's prep school does before and after school care. None of our local schools offered this so we had no choice but to go private (existing CM decided late in the day that she didn't want to do school run and we couldn't find anyone else to do the hours needed). It works well as ds can do after school clubs without me having to negotiate varying pick up times with the CM.

Clayhanger Mon 20-Feb-12 22:56:45

If you do have a spare room, au pairs are perfect for this as the usual deal is that their hours will include post-school pickup, preparing dinner (which even if they're crap at cooking means at least hot pasta) plus two nights' babysitting a week. Lots of people hate having another person in their home, but you can get used to it quite quickly and it allows you nights out! Really recommend it- though do your research in finding a good agency you trust.
Good luck.

workshy Mon 20-Feb-12 22:56:51

childminders usually charge by the hour, after school clubs by the session so if you aren't picking up until 6 after school would usually work out cheaper
not all after school clubs offer a school holiday club but some do

nearly all childminders will have children in the school holidays and occasional days
advantage of a childminder is a home setting as school plus wrap around care can make a long day.

what worked best for me was childminder until they were 7 then wrap around care from 7+ as they felt the childminder was too babyish -set up for preschool really -also after school club enables them to join in with after school activities like netball etc

arroh Mon 20-Feb-12 22:59:50

Fantastic info, thanks! I'll look into what care the schools offer and childminder services too.

Thank you!

gladbag Mon 20-Feb-12 23:06:39

Different schools provide different sorts of wrap around care, and some don't provide any, so I'd start by looking at the schools in your catchment and see what they offer.

My ds goes to his school's breakfast club which runs from 7.30am, then after school til 6pm. They don't provide a meal for the later session, but give them a snack at 4ish (crumpets, cheese on toast, fruit etc). They are very chilled there and ds really enjoys it, especially as he's made some good friends with children other than just those in his class. They do loads of activities and sports, or he can just hangout and do nothing. The breakfast session is £3 and after school is £6.

For us it's the best option, especially as I am a teacher so don't need holiday cover/childcare (though the school wrap around care does also-ran holiday schemes).

Heswall Mon 20-Feb-12 23:11:22

I have 4 so the nanny picks up the youngest from nursery at 1pm and stays until after tea about 7pm.
It's the only way I can manage all the after school clubs, team matches and the baby's bedtime routine.
More sensible people just have less children.

Clary Mon 20-Feb-12 23:15:08

We were luckily able to flex our time eg I moved to an early start and finished at 3pm 3 days. We both worked 4 days a week anyway so kids only had 3 days' childcare.

But I do see that this is difficult for a lot of people. I think in most couples I know, one parent either works shorter hours, or not so many days. They use after-school club or childminder or grandma to fill in any gaps.

TBH tho I am all in favour of being a working parent (I have always been one) I only know a handful of families where both parents work 8-6 evey day. It's perfectly possible tho, you just need to make sure there is breakfast and after school clubs at yr school. Or research childminders pronto. Not cheap tho - BC and ASC every day for that long at our school would cost you £13/day.

chutneypig Tue 21-Feb-12 07:01:31

Our school has wrap around care, so breakfast and after school club, which we pay by the hour so it's very reasonable. It also provides a holiday club, all on site so we have cover 8-6 51 weeks of the year, which helps. Plus they love it there.

ledkr Tue 21-Feb-12 07:07:06

My dh works shifts so is often off for my work days,if he isnt he takes leave or starts late when i finish.This is the only way we could make it work as we have one baby and one 10yr old and the childcare is too expensive.
The other thing you will struggle with is after school activities.DD does brownies,dance and drama,all which require dropping off before the working day ends.
I always found it much easier to work with babies rather than school aged dc.

We have an after school club but dd hates it.The staff seem to just sit about chatting whilst the kids get on with it shock

south345 Tue 21-Feb-12 07:13:20

I'm a cm and offer after school, our council can filter the list to which school you require, our school has after school club but only until 5pm which is no good for a lot of parents. It's also about £2 a day do cheap. Just ring a few schools and see what they offer.

Gumby Tue 21-Feb-12 07:25:47

We had to choose a school that had breakfast and afterschool club
It's not easy at first when you're 4 year old is shattered
School isn't the same as nursery in that they get exhausted
I know several people who used private schools as the day is longer - more afterschool clubs etc
It's not that bad economically as you just use the money you were paying for nursery on Sch fees however it can affect the decision to have more children because of cost

Beamur Tue 21-Feb-12 14:00:34

DD's school charge about £5 for breakfast club and around £10 for after school - children and fed and amused with themed activities. It seems really good and I might use it when DD is a bit older to give Granny a break. Does work out expensive if you do both sessions every day though.

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