Childcare Options For Working Parents

The National Childcare Week, in its 15th year promotes the importance of childcare. This year the theme is ‘Families in Focus’, helping to promote how engaging the whole family can benefit you and your child when deciding about your childcare.

Depending on your own situation you may have a number of childcare options available to you. The main ones being:

Family Members – Grandparents are the most obvious choice if they have the time.  You already know and trust family members and so leaving your child with them is easier than leaving them with a stranger.

Nannies – they care for your child in the comfort of your own home, keeping a child in a familiar environment will be less disruptive on your child. Nannies are an expensive option,

Child-Minders – they care for your child in their own homes. They have to be registered and their homes are checked prior to registration.

Day Nurseries – some employers offer nurseries onsite, so it’s worth checking before you look elsewhere.

You should start looking at your childcare options as soon as you have decided if and when you are going back to work. The earlier you look the more options will be available.

A recent report from Family Investment shows that the average childcare costs in Great Britain are £4,000-£6,000 annually (based on 52 weeks), varying greatly depending on your location. 

The report findings show that parents who pay for 25 hours of childcare each week can expect to pay £4,993 annually to cover childcare bills in Great Britain today. These costs are equivalent to 18.9% of average annual earnings. This average annual earnings figure takes into account disparities between part time and full time wages as well as gender differences.  Based on average earnings, a parent would need to work 391 hours each year to meet the average cost of childcare in Britain.

The most affordable locations are:

  • Stoke in the West Midlands is the most affordable urban area in Britain for parents to meet

childcare costs – costs are equivalent to 13.8% of average annual earnings in the area

  • The West Midlands is an affordability hotspot with four of the top ten most affordable locations

in the country located in the region (Stoke, Shropshire, Solihull and Dudley). The North West also features prominently with three of the top ten most affordable locations

The least affordable locations are:

  • Ebbw Vale in Gwent, South Wales, was found to be the least affordable location on our

measure of care costs relative to average earnings. A parent would need to spend 28.2% of

their average income on meeting costs

  • A wide variety of locations feature amongst the least affordable areas. All of the locations have one things in common, a lack of correlation between local earnings and childcare costs

Bill Weston writes on a number of subjects including childcare options and family finances. 

To view the full report and to use the Childcare Affordability Tool visit and for information about your Child Tax Credits and Working Families Tax Credits