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lone parent mums that work - what do you do for childcare during school hols???

17 replies

juicychops · 01/06/2009 13:32

i work mon and tues and my ds starts school in sept. i dont get the government funding during summer hols for his nursery so rather than pay £60 per week while im at work im putting ds in only mondays and will have to rely on people to help me out (which i HATE doing)and use all my days holidays etc.

then ds starts school in sept but only doing half days for the first half term!! so gotta juggle all my working hours around him being at school just few hours a day.

THEN its bloody half term so gotta find some arrangement for childcare during then when i work

THEN there is xmas, all other holidays, half terms etc and its so god damn hard i feel like just quiting my job which i just cant afford and id have to give my car up.

i HATE being a lone parent having to deeal with it all myself. i dont know what im meant to do. people have said 'oh, you will be ok, other parents from the school will help you out etc' but i dont want to 1. have to rely on other people, and 2. dont like the not knowing aspect! i dont like not having a plan for how im going to work this out. childcare is too expensive to put him into privately. i would literally be working for NOTHING

any practical advice? im getting so stressed its unbelievable. has anyone just had enough and quit their job?

OP posts:
Niceguy2 · 01/06/2009 14:02

The thing I learned trying to juggle kids & job was that you gotta do what you gotta do.

I've left my kids overnight with friends before so I could go away on business trips. I've had to stand up in meetings at 5pm sharp and announce I HAVE to leave to collect kids from after school club. I've had to call friends at last minute to ask them to pick kids up etc.

Ideal? Nope, very far from it. But for me its better than the alternative which is sitting on the dole. For me its more important to set a good example to my kids, to be able to provide the nicer things in life (eventually).

So my advice is to figure out who can help you and when and not to be afraid to ask for help.

And lastly yes, at first I was probably working for very little as by the time you subtracted food, bills, mortgage & childcare I had little left. But as time wore on and I worked my way up and the kids grew up, things got better. So my last bit of advice is to take a longer term view and try not to stress about the short term (easier said than done I know!)

FeelingOld · 01/06/2009 14:07

juicychops - I am a lone parent but I am also a childminder so that I can be here for my kids during holidays etc.
I look after a little girl in the school holidays whose mum is a lone parent and she gets help with childcare via tax credits (or whatever its called now days). Could this maybe apply to you?

juicychops · 01/06/2009 14:46

i get full amount of tax credits at the moment and i need to fill out my new tax credit details for the new tax year but im terrified as its gunna prob be a significant drop as ds starts school this year

working tax creds is mainly for childcare costs and once your child is in full time education you dont get hardly anything

im studying for a degree at the moment so in a few years i will hopefully be in a better paid job.

i would never choose to go back on benefits and not work if i can help it as like you said, i want to set a good example for ds.

i might look into night work somewhere. ideally i would like to work from home doing something but no idea what. i would have to be earning similar amounts as i am now which is unlikely

OP posts:
ChasingSquirrels · 01/06/2009 16:27

my mum has my boys - which probably doesn't help. Also they go to a CM 1 day a week.
What about before/after school clubs and holiday clubs.
Holiday sports club things (and maybe doing less hours over more days so you could do say 10-3?).
Could you do more hours in term time and take time off in the holidays?

idranktheteaatwork · 01/06/2009 16:35

Your tax credits for the childcare element would go up for the summer holidays, it classes as a change of circumstance bec ause your average costs will be higher for more than 4 consecutive weeks.

How much you get is nothing to do with whether or not your child is in full time education, it's based on your income and how many hours per week you need childcare and how much that childcare is.
You get up to a certain percentage paid.

For example, many moons ago when i was working full time as a lone parent and not earning very much, dd was in full time school and i was still receiving 70% of the childcare costs.

bigchris · 01/06/2009 16:40

have you got an exp who can help out?

Ivykaty44 · 01/06/2009 16:46

Childcare element of tax credits is 80% of the cost

So if you pay £100 for a week in the summer holidays you will get £80 of that back.

it is the half terms and christams that are a bugger cos you dont get it back.

The 80% is not on how much you earn or how many hours you work - you get it if you are a single parent and qulify for the childcare element.

You will have to budget the money for the holidays though as you will not get it back until after.

Ivykaty44 · 01/06/2009 16:47

Or find a mum who works thursdays and fridays and swap childcare.

juicychops · 02/06/2009 07:34

Hi thanks for your replies. ds doesn't have any contact with his dad so no help there. also dont know anyone else with kids who works part time - well not yet anyway!!

im gunna bite the bullet and do my tax credits thing this week so that i know how much im going to be getting so that i can try and budget ahead

im sure it will work out, its just the not knowing that stresses me out. once ds is in school full time and settled im going to look for a school based office job which would be ideal as it would be term time

OP posts:
juicychops · 02/06/2009 07:53

Also, what is the average rate per hour for a childminder?

OP posts:
IDidntRaiseAThief · 02/06/2009 08:17


IDidntRaiseAThief · 02/06/2009 09:21

oops dd typed that yes remark, sorry.

chattysoul · 06/06/2009 09:09

Simple, out of schools club.

gillybean2 · 09/06/2009 21:27

The childcare element is based on your childcare costs and you get up to 80% of it back as long as it is OFSTED regsitered. If you are entitled to working tax credit then you should also apply for the child care element of WTC.

I only use holiday clubs as I work school hours in term time. You can still claim this cost over the whole year. There is a section in the WTC help/instruction booklet which tells you how to do this, or phone your CAB or lone parent adviser at the job centre if you need help on this.

I simply work out what my average weekly cost for the while year is (Add up the cost for each holiday and half term and divide that by 52 to get the average weekkly cost). The 4 week consequtive thing doesn't really apply if you only use school holiday childcare cover. This is because basically your child care costs for the year haven't changed (your average weekly cost will be the same at the end of the year) and you are still using that child care provider, you haven't ceased sending your child there.

At the end of the year when you get your renewal you are asked to confirm that the amount you estimated is within £10 up or down of the actual cost for the year. And as long as it is then you're fine. If it has changed by more that £10 then there will be an adjustment. So if your child care costs are for holiday cover only then you only have to let them know if the estimated costs you gave will alter by more that £10 up or down or if you change child care provider.

The best way I find to ensure you keep the child care money straight is to put aside each week the cost I estimated. 80% from my WTC and 20% from my salary. I put it into a separate 'savings' bank account. Then when I have to pay the childcare (and the biggest chunk is the summer holidays) I have money put aside towards it. Plus if my costs change significantly I know I have the money put aside to pay it back should I need too.

Please speak to someone who can give you the advice you need on this, and claim what you are entitled too! My lone parent advisor at the job centre was great, but CAB should also be able to help you with this.

gillybean2 · 09/06/2009 21:39

I forgot to mention there is a cap, a maximum amount per week you can claim. But it's quite high. When your ds starts school you should be well under this if it's just a couple of days each holiday. But even now you are probably not claiming what you can.
Look here for more info

cestlavielife · 10/06/2009 14:03

,ay be put an ad in nursery or newsagent or local paper or local internet group saying you looking for other part time working mums to do a swap?

mascaraohara · 10/06/2009 14:11

HI I WOH FT. I've always had nursery then childminder however.. this year I have nothing for sumemr holidays. Gonna suck it and see

I don't get any tax credits so I'll be saving myself a fortune!

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