What is the Most Affordable Childcare Option in the UK?
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
For working parents in the UK, childcare is readily accessible and you can choose from several options but keep in mind that your best option should coordinate childcare with your working hours and budget to find the right balance between your professional career and a rewarding parent-child relationship.
These options can be grouped into two; childcare in the home and childcare out of the home.
Bear in mind that childcare costs make up a significant proportion of many working parents expenses. According to the world economic forum, 35.7% of parents earnings goes to childcare, the United Kingdom is the second most expensive country for childcare after New Zealand.
Let us weigh the pros and cons of Childcare in the home:
1. Child-minder: These are self-employed childcare givers who look after children in their own home. They must register with Ofsted in England or Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW). They offer preschool year’s childcare, childcare before or after school, as well as during school holidays. Some offer flexible hours to coordinate with your work schedule.
Offers parents the opportunity for all their children to be cared for in the same setting regardless of age, stage and ability.
Child-minded children are not segregated because of age or stage. This encourages siblings to bond and so encourages family relationships to fully develop.
A Child-minder charges per child: if your child-minder charges £5 per hour per child and you had 2 kids, despite the sibling discount provided by many child-minders, parents are still looking at an increase in the cost of child care. However, the government helps out with child-minder costs
Your child is less priority – in some cases your child-minder will also look after their children, meaning their child will likely get more attention.
2. Nanny: If you need a flexible childcare solution, a nanny is your best bet. Your nanny should be registered with the authority, it’s your responsibility to interview and vet a potential nanny. A nanny comes to your house and takes care of your child at home. Some nannies have nursing or childcare training; however, they don’t require special qualifications.
Childcare happens at your home, not at someone else's.
Receives One-on-one care.
Schedules and timing are more flexible.
Less social interaction for your child.
Cost may be expensive, the average cost of a nanny is £250 - £500 a week plus their tax and insurance.
Lack of privacy.
Paperwork and legal hassles.
Check out childcare.co.uk to find babysitters, child-minders and nannies.
3. Aupair: If you need convenient, flexible and affordable childcare, you should consider an aupair. An aupair is a young person from abroad who has come to the UK to learn English, usually an International student.
Typical responsibilities of an aupair include babysitting in the evenings, helping with light housework, and looking after your child during the day when needed.
An aupair will stay in your home, as part of your family. You will need to pay your aupair weekly pocket money, usually £90 - £150 and provide meals and a bedroom.
Most aupairs are not trained in childcare, although some may have done a bit of babysitting or looked after younger siblings.
Your family learns new languages and about other cultures.
More affordable than nannies and child-minders.
All the pros of having a nanny.
Loss of privacy.
Bigger emotional investment.
Longer adjustment period.
Now let us look at the pros and cons of Childcare outside the home.
1. Nursery: Another childcare option is a day nursery. You may choose between private, community, council or workplace nurseries. They offer full-day service for children aged 0 to 5. They undergo inspections from the same authorities as child-minders. In some cases, your child’s stay in the nursery may be subsided by your employer or by the local authority.
2. Playgroups and out-of-school services: They offer part-time daycare services, depending on your work schedule. Both are appropriate for children three to five years old. The out-of-school facility offers a breakfast club before school, after school club, and a holiday playscheme – open during school holidays. If you want to find out more, you can visit this WEBSITE
These two are quite similar so are their pros and cons.
Your child will learn to socialize.
The staff is competent and trained.
Children's activities are varied.
You don't need to prepare meals or buy groceries for your child's meals.
Outside the home childcare services are strict about hygiene and undergo safety inspections from public health inspectors.
No administrative worries, just pay your bill at the end of the month.
The hours are limited and fixed.
The child receives less personalized care.
Children are often sick because they share everything with their friends, especially their germs.
Waiting lists are common and enrolling in any of the two can be costly.
Childcare facilities often face high staff turnover, which can make it difficult for children to form healthy attachments.
We urge you to weigh the pros and cons carefully, we hope you can choose a childcare option within your budget that strikes a balance between your work and family life.
We hope you had a good read-through and if not enjoyed it, at least found this useful.
If you are interested in knowing more about being an Aupair, or Aupair job vacancies in the UK, or you are already an Aupair and have good advice to give other Aupairs, you are warmly invited to join our community.
Just as well, if you are a parent who would like to host an Aupair, or find out about Aupairs available in your local community, or just get some moral support from other families, please join our community:
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