Morning/evening childcare division(16 Posts)
Has anyone here tried dividing childcare by morning/evening?
I was thinking that when my partner and I both go back to work full time, we could limit childcare/nursery time to around four hours a day (say 11:00 to 15:00). The plan would be that one of us takes the morning shift, and starts/finishes work late, while the other takes the afternoon/evening shift and starts/finishes work early.
Not sure if this is an unrealistic plan, so I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried something similar.
Do you have the kind of work where you can both do fixed early/late shifts?
You will struggle to find a nursery/childminder who will only charge for those hours. Nurseries do morning/afternoon/all day sessions. Your proposed times stretch across two different periods. A childminder similarly will struggle to find someone who wants the hours at both ends of the day which you do not use. You might find one who has an after-schooler only but you would probably need to get to him/her before 3 in order for her to do a school run for other children. Arriving at a childminder at 11 a.m. is also difficult as that is when many want to be at playgroup/library/park etc rather than sitting in waiting for one child to arrive.
We are both lucky enough to have a lot of freedom about our work hours, as long as we get the work done, and we are around for some core hours.
Although I guess we will face problems trying to find childcare for a few hours in the middle of the day.
Although I can see why you want to minimise the amount of time in chdcare, I don't think this pattern will work very well if you use a nursery (no experience of child minders).
If you drop off at 11am, the kids will be just finishing up their morning activities ready for a calm-down story at 11.30 before lunch at 11.45 ish. After lunch all the children go for a nap, say 12.30 until 2pm, so your DC would only just settle into the afternoon routine before you collect at 3pm. I think he/she would miss out on most of the good bits of nursery (at ours this is a visiting gymnastics teacher, dance teacher and Spanish teacher in the mornings) and get the humdrum eating/sleeping aspects.
Personally, I think the best nursery hours would be 9am to 4pm. Then the DC gets all the activities without the less structured drop off and collection periods first and last thing. My DC do 7am to 6pm several days a week, which I think is a bit long - they're knackered after a nursery day
Yes as I childminder I'm afraid I couldn't commit to those hours.
It blocks a whole day for only four hours pay and I would be out and about at both of those times.
I have very similiar childcare requirements to what you mention, due to dp working shifts 2pm-10pm. it is impossible to find childcare to fit these hours unless you are prepared to pay for hours you won't use.
nurseries in this area offer full days (Â£50) or 8am-1pm and 1pm-6pm (Â£25).
Childminders although hours vary seem to offer full days and after school care only. You might be lucky and find one willing to accommodate your hours.
The long hours is what I would be worried about. We will be returning to work when our DC is just 12 months, so I'd like to limit nursery hours to as little as possible. Although I expect that missing out on the fun stuff is less of an issue for younger children
BobTheFly: out of interest, how would you feel about taking a child 11:00-15:00 if you were paid for the whole day? Would it not be worth it, because you have to wait in at inconvenient times?
Well it depends.
The 3 o'clock would be more of an issue as I have to be at school. Cutting short morning trips less so as were home by 11.15/11.20 anyway.
Would you be happy to drop/collect at other locations? I have had many swaps at school for parents who have older children to collect there too.
Childcare flexibility may depend on where you live - in London for example, I always found it easy to find all sorts of weird combinations of childcare hours as there were so many nannies & childminders around who could do nanny shares and were looking for odd hours here and there. Since we've moved to a small town, the childcare on offer is much more regimented - saying that, my childminder does very good PT hoursfor me and is reasonably flexible so it can work.
DH does drop off and I do pick up and it works reasonably well (our DCs are school age so it is a longer day) though I hate always being the one who has to leave work early
and always miss the after work drinking
Picking up from another location is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that.
11 till 3 strikes me as nice hours for a sahm to earn some money during school hours. I would advertise for the post & see if you got any responses from people you'd consider.
Was also going to suggest a SAHM with school age kids. Only issue could be them not wanting to do the holidays, as they'll want to be with their kids. I was considering something similar for my DD as I needed 1 day a week.
My experience of nursery (when older DS was there) is that it is really set up for kids being there all day. Arriving mid afternoon will probably mean taking them in the middle of an activity etc.
Thanks for all the useful comments everyone. It looks like its worth trying to find a childminder who is willing to accommodate these hours, as we might get lucky. Otherwise, I think we could make things work around a morning nursery session. It would mean being in the office at different hours on different days of the week, which is not ideal. But as we both have pretty flexible work schedules, there is a good chance we could make it work.
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