Our children are the most important people in our lives, and many of us would love nothing more than to stay home and look after them ourselves. However, in reality things can be a little more complicated. Finances or work commitments might mean we have to return to the workplace, meaning the complicated issue of childcare arises. Lots of people find themselves in a position where after they deduct childcare costs, they’re no better off working than they would be at home. This is unfortunate, no-one wants to work all day and be away from their child if they don’t need to be. Plus, finding reliable childcare and people we can trust presents an issue within itself. Here are some things to bear in mind when deciding on care for your child.
See What Help You Can Get
Thankfully there are a number of schemes from the government these days which make working easier when you have a child. From child working tax credits to help with childcare costs to free early education for three and four year olds. This has recently been upped from fifteen to thirty hours a week. Your child gets to experience what a school environment is like before starting for real, and it means you have thirty hours each week where you don’t have to worry about paying care costs.
Share Parental Leave With Your Partner
In some cases, you may be able to split fifty weeks of your maternity leave with your partner. If you need or want to return to work earlier and they’re happy to stay at home, you will continue to be paid which can help massively with childcare costs. Since there are some restrictions you’d need to look into the eligibility criteria for shared parental leave to see if you’re entitled. If you are, it can be an excellent way of sharing the duties with your partner. It saves you having to pay for childcare and you know and trust the person your child will be being looked after by.
Look Into Different Childcare Options
Will you go for a casual babysitter such as a close friend or family member, daycare, a registered childminder, a nanny or an au-pair? There are pros and cons to each of these. Babysitters such as the child’s grandparents probably won’t cost you anything, and you have the benefit of leaving them with someone you trust and that knows and loves them. But not everyone has family willing or able to do this. A registered childminder will have had their home and background inspected so you know they’re in safe hands and are a little cheaper than daycare centres and nannies. Although you will need to factor in the travel time to and from their house. Nannies and au-pairs come to you and care for the child in your own home, which is convenient and can give you added peace of mind. Although will be more expensive so might not be an option if you’re on a lower wage.