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Childcare for shift workers

(21 Posts)
SellyMevs Thu 23-Oct-14 05:50:36

Has anyone managed to get good childcare when they work shifts? Is it easy to find?! I'd need anything from a a couple of days a week to 4 days. I also get periods of 8 days off where I wouldn't need childcare at all and dome days where I'd only need a half day.

Am I expecting too much?! Any tips? Going to arrange to see a few places soon.

18yearstooold Thu 23-Oct-14 06:16:36

I've never found anywhere that would let you book the maximum sessions you might need

So if one week out of 4 you need 5 days you have to book and pay for 5 days every week

Also before 7.30am or after 6pm it's incredibly hard

FishWithABicycle Thu 23-Oct-14 06:39:01

Nurseries won't generally let you do this unless they are operating significantly below capacity such that they would rather be flexible to get your custom.

Does your employer need to fill a 24/7 timetable? Are there any other employees of the same category as yourself who have a similar aged child? If so you might be able to team up with this other employee, ask your employer to always schedule you so that you aren't working the same shifts as each other, and then share a full-time nursery place between you.

Is there a DP around to pitch in? The friends I know where the mum works shifts have a nursery place for Tuesday-Thursday, and her DH has a flexitime/compressed work arrangement to work 5 days worth in 4 long days in any week where they need either Monday or Friday covered (as she works in sets of 4 days they would never need both) and when she's on an 8 day break and can cover both Friday and Monday he can either work normal hours or build up some flexitime credit.

insancerre Thu 23-Oct-14 06:47:16

You would need to book a fulltime place as the nursery would not hold open your place without being paid as they need to pay the staff to maintain ratios
As a nursery manager I couldn't say to my staff " sorry I can't pay you this week as selly junior only needs 1 day this week"
You may find a nursery that you can book as and when you need it but I expect they charge a premium and it would probably work out cheaper to book a fulltime place as you normally get a discount.
If you've booked the place you don't necessarily need to send your DC every day if you dont need to

Thegreatunslept Thu 23-Oct-14 06:47:33

I work for the nhs and work shifts just as you have described op. The only way we could get it to work is by using a childminder who works below capacity and doesn't need to have my ds a minimum amount of hrs a week.
Childminders charge by the hour rather than session usually so this is much better for us on days I finish at 2pm.

HappyAsASandboy Thu 23-Oct-14 06:48:02

Try looking at nurseries in/near hospitals.

Our nursery is based at a hospital and allows you to book flexible sessions around shifts. You have to book for the month ahead by about the third week of the month, which I think coincides with when the nurses get their shift patterns.

There are several length sessions (am, pm, short day, long day) and children must attend at least two sessions per week, but other than that you can book as many or as few sessions as you need each week, as long as you book for the month by the deadline.

The nursery doesn't operate significantly under capacity, but can facilitate this flexibility because of the large number of children attending random sessions. The children end up 'sharing' full time places because there is a lot of them switching and changing patterns.

IShallCallYouSquishy Thu 23-Oct-14 06:58:10

I use a childminder.

My shifts are a rolling pattern though so I can tell her the days I need pretty much for the whole year.

I found nurseries could not offer me that flexibility unless I paid for a full time place. Not prepared to do that for one day a week childcare!

SellyMevs Thu 23-Oct-14 07:14:52

My rota is a 20 week rolling pattern so I know my shifts for the next year plus... but they differ each week. DH works Monday to Friday so he can do drop off and pick ups so we shouldn't need out of hours care. It's just my shifts vary from 8 to 12 hours, and I do earlies, lates, nights and weekends.

It's such a minefield... my sister in law and I had considered a nanny share but we wouldn't know where to start with that either!

Greenfizzywater Thu 23-Oct-14 11:51:33

Very difficult. You might find a nanny who would accept the job on the basis of a minimum number of hours per week, and a retainer to be available for other hours - she'd have 4 weeks paid holiday per year of which you choose two, but any other time you don't need her she'd still need to be paid. And the pool of people looking for this type of job is small.

Stillwishihadabs Thu 23-Oct-14 11:56:55

Are you a hcp ? Hospital nurseries are used to strange shift patterns. I think that's your best bet really, otherwise pay for the full time place (I have done this) I will be shot down in flames for this but it is quite nice to have some time with lo in childcare when you are not working. Sacrilegious I know.

plentyofshoes Sat 25-Oct-14 23:45:40

I have a flexible contract and pick two short days per week to fit around my shifts. I pay 20 pounds extra per month which I am happy to do.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sat 25-Oct-14 23:56:48

I know someone who used a nursery that was based at a gym for flexibility.

Superworm Sat 25-Oct-14 23:58:21

The shift pattern sound similar to the police? I could never make shifts work without paying for full time nursery and relying on DH to do drop off and pick ups. It was a nightmare. Lots of people make it work with a good childminder though, I just never found one.

marymouse Sun 26-Oct-14 04:45:13

It's worth ringing round nurseries and asking if they have flexibility for the police/nhs/teachers. Our nursery offers this, every month we give them the days we need and ds just goes for those days.

SellyMevs Mon 27-Oct-14 09:12:49

My plan today is to start contacting nurseries and childminders! I work for the ambulance service, and there is a nursery at the hospital I'm based at..... The difficulty was that DH was going to do drop offs and pick ups and it's the opposite side of a very busy city and will add 45 mins at least onto his journey in rush hour. But if they help with shifts we could be flexible! With a shared nanny, I'm sure between my SIL and I, we'd probably have one full time as she does contracting work and is out different days of the week too. Just not all 3 kids on all days.

Does anyone have experience of DH's having family friendly flexible working? I've asked him if his company offer it (he does have flexi working now), but he says that nobody compresses it into 4 days where he works... although I'm not sure how much of this is his head in the sand attitude of husband works 5 days a week, and mum stays at home (his upbringing has a huge bearing on his outdated views but we are slowly changing them!). I'm trying to get him to enquire about it, so far I've convinced him he should consider start early and finish at 3 pm on the days I work 4pm to midnights which he seems happy with!

Mind you, all this could be a mute point as work are looking to change our rotas again.. probably to nicer, more regularly patterns, but will no doubt coincide with my return to work, making it harder to give my shifts well in advance sad

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Mon 27-Oct-14 09:21:24

I had trouble with this to begin with until i stumbles on a chikdminder who i now count as a friend. She adored the kids and got on well with me and DH. She bent over backwards for us and we only paid for what the kids attended. No one else wanted to so we stumbled upon a gem!its not easy by far and we paid full wack for a couple of years before finding her. Good luck op!

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Mon 27-Oct-14 09:21:50

Bloody typos!

juneybean Mon 27-Oct-14 09:29:27

I'm an ad hoc nanny but do get paid a slightly higher rate. It works for me but don't know of any other nannies who operate like this.

bellbottomedtear Tue 04-Nov-14 19:35:57

Op what area are you in?

Georgeismummysmonkey Tue 04-Nov-14 20:10:20

I'm a police officer as is my husband, we both work shifts (opposite shift patterns). Each week is different for us. We spoke to three nurseries near to us and explained our job role and each nursery offered us the flexibility we needed if we could provide the dates we needed four months in advance. Our son now attends nursery on average twice a week (different days each week). Just be open with them.

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Chunderella Fri 14-Nov-14 16:53:22

My DH has been doing compressed hours, 5 days in 4, for nearly 2 years now and it's worked well. His company are supportive.

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