The rising cost of living means that we’re all looking for ways to reduce bills. For many families, childcare is a large part of their weekly outgoings. Whether it’s nursery for pre-school children, or after school and holiday clubs for older kids. There are some ways of cutting the costs of childcare for your kids while still keeping them safe and ensuring the care you are using is accredited and staffed by people with the right background checks.
Teaming up with Friends
Perhaps the most obvious solution is to get together with friends or relatives who are in the same position of looking for care for their children. These arrangements can work well, especially when parents’ working patterns are fixed. If a friend takes your children for one week of the holidays and you take theirs, then you have each saved a week of potential childcare fees. Individuals cannot apply for enhanced DBS checks in the same way as employers can, so the key to making these casual arrangements successful is to only agree to share childcare with people you really trust.
Church and Council Holiday Clubs
If your problem is covering the time off school in the long summer or Easter holidays, check out what is being offered by local Councils or churches. Unlike the commercially-run sports or drama clubs, Councils and churches are not trying to make a profit so prices tend to be lower. They also don’t have a large advertising budget, so you might have to hunt to find what is being offered. Leaders at charity or council run play-schemes must have an enhanced DBS check, as will the people who are working in schools or privately run childcare settings. Volunteers have their DBS checks processed free of charge. Don’t be afraid as a parent to ask the questions about who has a DBS check and what their policy is on safeguarding – this will usually be readily accessible on the organisation’s website and they won’t be offended by you asking to see it.
Is Compressed Hours an Option?
Another option for parents depending on the sector they are employed in, is to ask for some form of flexible working or compressed hours. Many employers are happy to consider arrangements whereby people work longer hours Monday to Thursday, then take every Friday off, for example. This will cut the costs of childcare by 20% right away. If you can link up with another parent who is also doing compressed hours, then it could cut costs even more. If compressed hours is not an option, asking about organising shifts around other adults can also help cut costs, so perhaps taking shifts at the weekend rather than during the week, so that there is always someone home with the kids. Employers need time to plan ahead, so don’t leave it to the last minute to ask about what sort of arrangements might be possible. Employers must by law consider any flexible writing requests, but don’t have to grant them.