The summer holidays are upon us – and if you’re a care professional with a little one in full-time education, you might be feeling a bit stressed about finding childcare while school’s out.
In short, it’s expensive. In summer 2022, the cost of childcare rose 5% to nearly £900 for six weeks’ cover. Put off by last year’s high costs, many parents have chosen to save money by staying at home or reducing their hours over the summer. But is that the only way?
In this blog, we’ll talk with care professional Emma and explore summer childcare options you can use to save cash and stay at work.
Juggling work and childcare
Emma, a healthcare assistant with seven years’ experience, has worked with Florence for two years. She and her partner Keith (who also works for Florence) have three children under ten, and she loves working in care.
“I don’t know what else I’d do,” she says. “If I can make the residents laugh, or make their day a bit happier, then it’s a good day.”
But like so many other working parents, Emma worries about finding childcare over the summer holidays.
“It’s too expensive to put the two year old into nursery – you’d be working for nothing,” she explains.
She’s not the only one: nearly 62% of parents worry about the cost of summer childcare. Let’s go through some ways to cut childcare costs (and stress).
HMRC offers Tax-Free Childcare of up to £2000 a year, available for children up to 11. You can use the money you get to pay for holiday clubs, before or after-school clubs, childminders, nurseries and other approved childcare schemes.
Family and friends
If they’re open to providing childcare, family and close friends can be the most affordable short-term solution. Your kids could benefit from spending time with the other family members or friends – and this might help to build their confidence, too, meaning they don’t need their parents with them all the time.
Another idea is to speak to other parents about sharing care. If your children have friends with parents in similar situations, you could decide to share care.
Schools and youth clubs sometimes offer play schemes (residential, or for a few hours each day) and these can provide great cover. There’s something for everyone, with sports clubs, drama groups and crafts, to adventure activities like climbing or abseiling.
Check out local organisations in your area to find out about summer clubs, and see if any of them are a fit. Make sure you plan in advance, because spaces can fill up pretty quickly.
Share a nanny
On average, nannies charge £14 per hour. If your friends have kids and are stuck in similar predicaments during the summer holidays, why not share a nanny? It’s a good way to share costs and your children will have friends to play with – win-win!
Work with Florence
Emma says working with Florence has been a huge help when making childcare arrangements.
“With Florence, we can work around each other, which is good,” she says. “We check to make sure our shifts don’t overlap, and book them using the Florence app.”
The flexible shifts Emma and Keith pick up with Florence make it much easier for them to take care of their children. They can rotate working days and nights to make sure someone’s always home.
“Depending on what shifts we can pick up, one of us will do the day shift and one will do the night shift,” she says.
Do what you love, without the stress
Thinking outside the box can solve summer childcare and – if you play your cards right – even make it fun for the kids. Flexible shifts, like the ones you can find working with Florence, make scheduling clubs, camps and childminders that much easier.
If you think of any more summer childcare options or have tips and tricks to share, let us know on social media.
Florence can help you find flexible shifts near you, take essential training courses and improve your work-life balance. Find out more and sign up today.
You might also be interested in:
- 3 ways to lower childcare costs for healthcare workers
- Carer's rights: your rights as an employed or unpaid carer in the UK
- How to become a senior care assistant: a step-by-step guide