Monday, 23 February 2015

The Big Childcare Question

Childcare. One of the hot topics when it comes to parenting. Whether you are going back to work part time, full time, or not at all and you just want to give yourself a little break each week, the topic will have usually crossed your mind at some point. The other reason it is such a hot topic is because it is so damn expensive!
I had a rough idea of the cost involved after listening to various people in my old office discussing it before I went on maternity leave but I didn’t really appreciate the process involved with organising it all until it was my turn.
I always knew I wanted to go back to work and I also knew with it having to be a new job (moved to a new area just before having Isla) that it would probably be a full time role. I wasn’t sure if after I had her that my mind would change but it hasn’t appeared to so far. I’m going to do a separate post on returning to work soon. So with that in mind I had to decide on what was best for us childcare wise. 
Unfortunately we don’t have either of our sets of parents near us so that was never an option for us for childcare. My mum would have loved to have Isla for a couple days a week but a commute from Aberdeen, in Scotland, to the South Coast of England every day isn’t really very viable!!
The two main other options are:

Even before I got my new job, I needed to get some form of childcare for Isla in place so that I could go to job interviews etc. In the end I was lucky as I only had 2 interviews and technically got both jobs so we didn’t have to go through that process for very long, but it was a thought trying to secure a place for her whilst trying not to have to pay full time fees when they weren’t needed.

Originally I wanted to go down the full time nursery route but I spoke to a few friends who had gotten childminders and decided that maybe it would be good to do half and half.
I thought it would be handy to list out my pros and cons of nurseries and childminders.
PROS – child gets to socialize with lots of other children; arranged activities; plenty of resources and toys; highly trained staff; often a more structured apporach

CONS - less one on one time; more expensive; less control over meals; less flexible schedules; can get fined for lateness etc; exposed to more germs and more likely to get ill (hello vomiting bugs, colds and conjunctivitis)!
PROS - more one on one time; cheaper; more flexibility with regards to times; a home environment; childminders often look after children throughout their life which provides security and familiarity
CONS - less back up if childminder is ill; not as much experience of bigger groups of children; you could worry that the childminder's own children will get more attention than yours
I did ideally want to have Isla in nursery for 3 days a week and at a childminder for the other 2 days. Unfortunately, we couldn't arrange a childminder, that we were happy with, in time for me starting my new job so we have gone with a full 5 days at nursery.

It's costing us £40 a day at nursery with meals and a 7.45am start. She does 7.45am - 6pm but I usually pick her up just after 5pm, as my site is just across the road from her nursery. Handy! Apparently the average price for a childminder around here is £4-£5 an hour which would be a bit of a saving but we shall see what happens later in the year.
I am going to do a separate post on how she's settled in and how we managed that process so keep your eyes peeled for that, if you're interested, soon.
What childcare options did you decide on when it was time for your little ones?


  1. When it came to thinking of childcare we had it quite easy compared to most; we knew indie would be going to whatever nursery jack worked out (she's been to 2 now lol). It's so so overpriced though and we pay about £200 a month for 2 half days a week.. With discount! Xx

  2. Its such a tough decision isn't it? I ended up going back to work 3 days a week and Sam is in nursery for those 3 days. It's expensive but worth it I think. Hope you are enjoying your new job.

  3. £40 is a bargain! Around here for those hours we'd have to pay £61! I want Scarlett to go into a nursery and we have visited one for when I go back to work! Hope she has settled okay and your finding work okay xx

  4. I'm lucky enough to be able to work very part time (one day a week) and split child care with my husband, but I'm thinking about doing a couple of days nursery because of the positives you mentioned. It's never easy is it!

  5. great post! and beautifully written!
    For us childcare was too expensive and not worth me going back to work. I would be coming away with less than £200. Im appy with being a SAHM as then i can spend all my time with E!
    Suz xo

  6. Gosh, it's a tough decision to make especially when so much money is involved. My maternity leave ends in a month and I'm not sure I could afford to go back to work even if I wanted to which is crazy.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx


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