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Summer childcare

summer childcare
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For family households where both parents work, the summer holidays present a massive childcare headache. Quality care for youngsters is at a premium, and places can be hard to find. Many parents find the issue so overwhelming they ignore it, and end up trading much-valued annual leave simply to be on hand for the kids. It is also common for parents to take unpaid leave in order to cover summer childcare.

Such less-than-perfect circumstances present the double-whammy of lost holiday entitlement for working parents, along with a loss of pay. Surely there must be another way? With a little forethought, and a remotely sympathetic boss, possibilities do exist to help relieve the burden. Read on to see if they could help you out:

Flexible Working

Rights to flexible working have recently been improved and this is great news for working parents. Employers are now obliged to put forward a very good reason for refusing more fluid working hours. There are obvious scenarios where flexible working hours could be difficult, such as in retail, but even in such cases there is usually a degree of compromise possible. Flexible working comes in several forms:

• Part-time hours

• Flexi-time – choosing your own hours, usually within a wide hourly range

• Compressed hours – hours are condensed into fewer days than normal

• Staggered hours – employees work different start and finish times

Job Sharing

• Home-working

Work through a number of options yourself, and then ask to present them to your boss to see if you can reach a solution that works for everyone.

Check your Credits

Those workers receiving tax credits may be eligible for financial assistance with childcare costs in the holidays. In some cases childcare costs of up to £122.50 each week for one child, and £210 for two or more may be covered. Even if you are already receiving childcare vouchers from your employer you may still be eligible for tax credits.

Don’t forget to use any childcare vouchers that your do have. There are many childcare facilities nationwide which accept them, and offer care from 08.00 to 18.00 hours ensuring those crucial early and late hours are catered for.

Play the Play-scheme Game

summer childcareMany local authorities run summer play-schemes, offering supervised activities for kids of all ages. They are often free, or subject only to a nominal subscription fee. Not all are full time, but may offer sufficient childcare cover to enable part-time or flexible working to continue during the break.

Get Networking

Chances are you are not the only working parent facing the summer childcare conundrum. Make it your business to network with other parents in your area and see if it’s possible to share the childcare from time to time over the summer. There may be other local solutions that you are unaware of too. Chatting with other parents can be revealing and worthwhile.

Consider an Au Pair

Really? Yes – inviting an au pair into your home for the summer can be mutually beneficial arrangement and isn’t as expensive as you may think. It may even turn out to be considerably cheaper than your other options. For costs in the region of £100 per week reputable agencies can offer au pairs who will provide around six hours of childcare per day, and this can include care for more than one child. Bonus!

As long as there are school holidays this annual headache will continue for working parents. Console yourself with the fact that it is relatively short-lived – when kids reach their teens they can often be trusted to fend for themselves. It is the intervening years that are problematic, but with a little careful preparation and a lot of resourcefulness you should be able to reduce the burden at least a little.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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