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how on earth do those of you who work FT mange in the school hols if you DON'T have free childcare eg. family help?

(31 Posts)
ssd Sun 16-Aug-09 09:03:45

doesn't it cost a fortune if you have more than 1 child?

do you have to earn mega bucks to even consider it?

ssd Sun 16-Aug-09 09:04:19

manage blush not mange!! grin

MissisBoot Sun 16-Aug-09 09:08:11

use annual leave for some of it

lots of play schemes are quite reasonable

also book up teh childminder to cover the school holidays!

bluejeans Sun 16-Aug-09 09:14:54

I only have one DD but still struggle! DD goes to after school club in the holidays, I get childcare vouchers through work (tax free) and get some extra during the year to help cover the summer holidays. Also have unofficial arrangements with friends in the hols where one of us takes the other's child if we're off and vica versa. I think it would be difficult with two or more DCs

ssd Sun 16-Aug-09 09:15:15

but how do you work around the playschemes?

round here they seem to be on 10-3, what if you need to be gone 8-6? also missis do you have more than one child? I have 2 and I'm trying to guage costs based on that smile

JackieNo Sun 16-Aug-09 09:20:35

It isn't easy. I've got 2, and have been lucky enough to be able to afford to take 3 weeks of unpaid leave. Otherwise it's a case of taking holiday separately from DH, andn sending them to playschemes - there's one run by a local leisure centre that runs from 8.30-5.30. NOt cheap, though, particularly for 2.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 16-Aug-09 09:30:44

Playschemes, nanny, annual leave (both me and DH), working shorter hours so we can drop-off and pick-up etc. If you have to, you work something out.

purepurple Sun 16-Aug-09 09:33:31

DD is at high school and doesn't need holiday care now but did use it every year from reception.
What we did was to stagger our annual leave over the 6 weeks holidays.
I would take 3 weeks (which meant that i didn't get much time off the rest of the year).
DH would take 2, with my last week overlapping his first, so we could have some time off together.
That just leaves 2 weeks to pay for the holiday club.
DH finishes early on Fridays, so it was 4 1/2 days a week.
I was already paying for after school care for 2 days a week, so it's not that much more for a full day.
She went to the YMCA which is open from 8 till 6.
Lots of day nurseries also do holiday care, as do some schools.
And, no, I don't earn mega bucks.
I am a nursery nurse, earning peanuts.

Hassled Sun 16-Aug-09 09:35:43

I don't work FT anymore but did when my oldest 2 were younger - and I just had to accept the fact I would make a loss in the school holidays. I'd take as much Annual Leave as possible, their father would as well (which meant we couldn't really holiday as a family), and then they went to a Holiday Club the rest of the time. But financially it was a nightmare - I just had to recoup my losses in term time.

thirdname Sun 16-Aug-09 09:35:59

ha-ha, yes, we have 3 dc. As mentioned ealier by others dh and I also try to take annual leave separate weeks.

MANATEEequineOHARA Sun 16-Aug-09 09:55:34

I have 2 dcs. I am a full time student with part time job, so luckily in the school hols it is just part time. Even then it is a pain. We use a playclub at a school that runs from 8am-6.15pm. There are a lot that are open for similar hours, but the cost is grim!

I did work full time one summer, I don't know how I survived thinking about it! I didn't have a car, and on the days they went to the play club it was 2 buses there then one to work for 8.45 start. Some days when I worked later they went to a childminder and for the two of them it came in at £70 a day! Luckily I had just returned to work so I got extra help with childcare having been on IS.

raindroprhyme Sun 16-Aug-09 20:51:40

it is a nightmare.

i just started a new job so was unaable to take annual leave in school hols. i made no money in july. luckily my kids go back to school friday.

luckily next year i will be on maternity leave.

ssd Mon 17-Aug-09 07:55:21

thanks to you all!

purepurple, can I ask what age you'd stop sending your kids to holiday care? how do you work it with older kids?

zookeeper Mon 17-Aug-09 08:02:39

tax credits pay about 80% of my childcare

violethill Mon 17-Aug-09 09:08:35

I think it's a mindset thing.

If you've worked when your children are pre-school age, then you are so used to paying shedloads in nursery/CM fees, that you are grateful when your children reach school age that at least 6 and a half hours per day is free!

If, on the other hand, you don't work until your kids are in school, the holidays hit you with a shock and you feel you're spending all your income on childcare. You're not. You just have to balance it out over the year. Yes, you may spend most or all of August's income on childcare, but overall, you're making more than you're paying (which isn't necessarily true when you have pre-schoolers!)

As for logistics, split holiday leave between partner and self, at least some of it, seek out holiday care, clubs etc.

Someone made the point that some holiday clubs only run 10 to 3, and not normal working hours. But then if you need care from 8 til 6 or whatever, then presumably you already use a CM during term time, as you would need to use before and after school care, so maybe worth checking whether your CM can do some full days, or knows another CM who would?

None of it is easy, but all do-able if you have to.

purepurple Tue 18-Aug-09 07:34:19

ssd, DD when DD started high school, I stopped sending her to holiday club
same with DS
I work about 10 minites walk away and I trust them
It works for me, but DD is a September baby and old for her years
I have rules, like only 2 friends in the house, nobody goes in my bedroom and she has chores to do too.

ssd Tue 18-Aug-09 09:30:13

purple, whats the longest you'd leave them in the house without you there, say at age 12?

dollyparting Tue 18-Aug-09 10:33:12

When my children were between 8 and 14, I got together with a friend who had similarly aged children and we employed a local student during the summer (she was training to be a teacher). She had done baby-sitting for us for several years so she already knew the kids.

It was a less expensive option that a play-scheme and it meant that the dc didn't have to get up early every morning of the holidays, and that they could still go out and do other activities with friends.

itsmeolord Tue 18-Aug-09 10:39:04

I save throughout the year into a savings account to cover the extra cost of the holidays. I have two dd's. I pay around £800 per month in the holidays, I take two weeks leave in the holidays but stagger it so that one week falls in one month and the second in the next.

Also, most years the children go to their grandparents for a week.

Pollyanna Tue 18-Aug-09 10:54:04

annual leave, school playschemes, nursery (for ds2 and dd3 aged 1 and 4 - dd3 doesn't normally go there).

lots of "working from home".

Luckily (?) dh got swine flu and a chest infection at the beginning of the holidays and was at home for 2 weeks.

I also do have grandma living nearby so she helps, but can't do all 5 or long hours.

It is very tricky. Very epensive and quite stressful. We hopefully have an au pair starting next week, but she will be new so won't be able to do much, and can't be left with the children on her own either (we have an au pair to do school runs normally, not childcare).

I'm not sure what we are doing next week as my mum is on holiday. also dd3 starts reception, but not until the 16th Sept, so another couple of weeks to fill, when dh and I are both running out of annual leave.

tickfeckingtock Tue 18-Aug-09 11:02:06

Ended up not needing care but local council have a playscheme 8:30 to 6pm. Also a drama club in town runs week long workshops from 10-4 with an extra play session 8-9 and 4-5 for a little bit extra. So those were the options I was looking at.

violethill Tue 18-Aug-09 12:07:10

Good point from dollyparting about employing a student. We also used that on occasions - it's a useful way for students to earn some holiday cash, and also something they can put on their cv if they're looking to go into teaching or something similar.

We found it probably the best form of care when our kids reached that 'inbetween' stage of not really wanting the structured playscheme type care, or feeling babied by going to a CM, but still weren't old enough to be left independently. There was something quite cool about being with a 19 year old student instead.

The bottom line is - any form of childcare costs, unless you get relatives to do it unpaid, which tends to bring its own set of problems, so you just have to look around at the options and then bite the bullet.

purepurple Tue 18-Aug-09 18:27:52

I have left DD at home all day, from 8 till 5.
I trust her and I phone her to check on her.
DS was a bit older, but he is not as sensible and he was my first.
It is harder with your first.
But only you will know your children and know what they are capable of.
Today I have come home to a clean, sparkling home after I left instructions yesterday.
DS is 20 (but acts 12)
DD is 12 (but acts 20) grin

QueenEagle Tue 18-Aug-09 18:34:19

I have 5 dcs. Older 3 are teenagers so can be left (with a list of chores!). They know how to get hold of me in emergencies.

Annual leave for my younger 2. I work shifts so need to take only 2 or 3 days in the week off and dd who is almost 18 can supervise them for a few hours until dh finishes work in the early afternoon.

Have used a childminder before - cost me about £120 a week, so summer hols was £800 quid last year!! Tac credits covered a lot of it though.

ssd Wed 19-Aug-09 07:59:04

thanks purple, my eldest is 11 so I'm starting to think if/how long he could be left, as you say its all down to each child

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