Did you know that the average weekly childcare cost during holiday periods is a staggering £109.23? It’s a huge sum of money, especially during a period when many parents are already working fewer hours in order to spend some time with their children.
I know just what a headache summer holiday childcare can be for working parents – I have been there. Other holidays through the year can usually be managed with the help of holiday clubs, family, friends and taking a few days off work, but juggling 6 whole weeks of childcare can prove impossible. I know many parents who have had no other choice but to take unpaid leave in order to look after their children during the summer. This not only leads to a huge financial worry, but can also cause friction between you and your employer.
A recent report suggests that paying for childcare for 2 children for just 4 weeks of the long summer holidays could cost more than £850 – a price way beyond what many of us can feasibly afford. It’s not just primary school children this affects either – many local youth and play schemes close for the summer too, meaning a lack of socialisation, childcare and fun for many older kids. With holiday childcare costs rising much faster than the average wage, we are likely to see large numbers of parents left with no idea how to manage the school holidays. There is also some research that suggests this nationwide problem could lead to some children being left unsupervised at home while parents go out to work. I cannot begin to imagine the pressure these parents must feel under to consider this option, and it is very worrying.
It’s a really tough situation to be in, and I am so thankful that this for year at least, I am lucky enough to be at home with my children with no childcare worries. But if my plans to go to university and start a new career go ahead, then next summer may well find me in a very different situation altogether, and that is already a concern. I just don’t know how we would manage – especially with Kevin working away from Monday to Friday – there is no chance of doing any sort of handover allowing for joint childcare during the week.
How do you manage childcare during the summer months? Is it something that concerns you – do you worry about how you will cope financially, do you worry about the effect it could have on your career?
For this summer, I intend to enjoy the position I am in, and spend some quality time with my little ones. They grow up far too fast, and before I know it childcare will be a distant memory.