A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently highlighted that childcare costs in the UK are the highest in the Western world. These costs have risen substantially with the average parent spending up to a third of their income on care for their children.
Popular childcare options
In addition, choosing the right childcare for your child is a big decision which isn’t always easy. This can prove particularly difficult for working parents because of a shortage of options for older children during the school holidays.
Helpful friends and family members are often the number one choice for childcare during school holidays. This is largely due to the small cost involved but you do need to be mindful of encroaching on their free time. If you don’t set ground rules before you start out, this form of childcare can lead to conflict and resentment.
Childminders are one alternative sometimes used. They offer a flexible care solution in a homely environment and should be registered and inspected by the relevant body. You will still need to have an emergency or backup option if your childminder is sick. Depending on the age of your child, you are looking at an average cost of up to £200/week per child for a childminder.
Nannies may also be used but their cost varies, depending on the number of hours they work and the duties they carry out. Note that they are entitled to a minimum wage. Nannies offer the advantage of looking after your child in your own home, but are not legally required to have a childcare qualification, or be inspected. Again, you will need to have backup childcare in place in case of illness.
Cost effective alternatives
So what other options are available when your child wants to enjoy their holidays but you still have to go to work?
You could split the cost of caring for your children by sharing nannies with other parents. Your children will enjoy their holidays playing with their friends, while you only have to pay a fraction of the cost. As previously mentioned, nannies aren’t inspected unless they are registered.
Holiday activity camps, like those run by Barracudas, offer a flexible childcare alternative for working parents. They also give children the opportunity to build their confidence, develop social skills, try out new hobbies and take part in a host of indoor and outdoor activities.
They can be run by your local authority, private companies or voluntary organisations. Many offer extended opening times, so you can simply drop your children off on the way to work and pick them up on the way home.
Be sure to identify a camp that is Ofsted registered, with DBS checked staff. Our own Ofsted registration means you can use your childcare vouchers with us, for full or part payment. Just let us know when making your booking and be sure to ask your childcare voucher company to send the payment to us with your customer or booking ID.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help with school holiday childcare, call our parent line on 0845 123 5299.