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Childcare options for older children

Childcare options for older children

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In the UK there is no law that states what age children can be left home alone. Many kids will be given a front door key when they start secondary school and will let themselves in to wait on their parents coming home from work. However, this isn’t suitable for everyone. Parents with a long commute or long hours may be wary to leave older children alone for a significant amount of time and obviously the maturity of the child in question is a huge factor. And then there are the school holidays to consider – spending an hour alone in the afternoon is a whole lot different to being left for entire days for six weeks at a time!

So if you’re not ready to give your kids the key to the door just yet but they’ve outgrown previous childcare providers, what options do you have available?

School services

Many schools now offer breakfast clubs. This means you can drop your kids off early, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be fed, watered and entertained while you can still make it to work by 9 o’clock. There may also be after-school clubs running to help with pick-up times after work. These might include homework clubs or sports/music rehearsals.

Out of school services

These are run by outside companies but often take place in a school hall or local community centre. Local councils or private companies may operate them and as such you’ll have to pay to use them. Generally this type of after school club will provide a place to do homework as well as some organised games or sports activities.

Holiday clubs

Childcare options for older childrenEven if your child is happy to come home alone on schooldays, you may want them to have more supervision during the school holidays. The same companies that provide out-of-school services often run holiday clubs so check with your local one to see what’s on offer. Places tend to go quickly so it pays to be organised and arrange a place early on in the term. If possible, try to get a place in the same holiday club as your child’s friends so that she is more comfortable going but don’t worry as they’re bound to make loads of new pals while they’re there.


As childminders are paid hourly, they can be a cost-effective childcare option for after school. Those looking after children under the age of eight need to be registered with Ofsted and if yours is, then you may be entitled to help with childcare costs. Childminders are perfect if you have a child with younger siblings but you may find an older child reluctant to go to a childminder on her own.

Family and friends

Many working parents rely on family and friends to help with childcare and this gets easier as children get older. You may be happy to let your child go to a friend’s house after school, returning the favour for the parents when needed. Or the kids might be happy to pop round to their gran’s house until dinnertime.

When choosing childcare for older kids it’s important to consider what they would be most comfortable with when weighing up your options.







About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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