Category: Family Life

Hoorah - you've finally found out what school your child is going to. Whether that was your preferred option or not, you now need to plan childcare around school hours. Here is a round-up of the Top 10 Afterschool Childcare Options.

1. Koru kids

Currently only based in London, Koru Kids find and train students and older adults to become after school nannies. Koru Kids sift through the applicants (accepting only the Top 10%) which they then matching with you. You then schedule an interview and if both parties are happy they send the chosen 'nanny' on a First Aid Training course and carry out DBS checks. There is very little paperwork involved (i.e. you don't need to worry about tax, contracts, payroll etc) as Koru Kids take care of it all. Costs £13 per hour.

Website: www.korukids.co.uk/

2. Nanny

Ahh the elusive Nanny. Hard to find but once you find a good'un they are hard to let go. Your Nanny can live in or out, work full-time or part-time.

Don't forget that as an employer you will need to operate a PAYE system to ensure that the nannies contributions to the state are made plus you must offer Statutory Sick Pay and Holiday Pay, however, before this puts you off completely, I should mention that there are plenty of companies out there who can help with this, such as www.nannytax.co.uk. Whilst it is the most administrative of all afterschool childcare options it probably gives the most peace of mind. I list below a couple of Nanny finding websites, however, I have several friends who found their Nannies on Gumtree. A typical London Nanny salary is between £9 - £15ph depending on experience.

Websites: www.childcare.co.uk, www.nannyjob.com, www.tinies.co.uk

3. Before and afterschool clubs

Before and afterschool Clubs vary from school to school. Most schools offer a generic before and after school club which are open from around 8am in the morning to around 6pm in the evening. These are on-site offered either by the school or it is run by an external provider.

Alternatively, you might find there is an external company that will pick your child up from school and take them to an afterschool Club with children from other schools.

Both types will offer the children food, however, it is worth finding out how substantial the meals are as often they are just a snack which means you may need to provide a meal for your child when you get home. I also advise asking what time do the kids get given their tea/snack. We have moved After School Clubs a couple of times as my daughter found that waiting til 5pm to eat was too late for her so we found one that fed them at 4pm.

Schools also offer specific afterschool Clubs whereby they can learn new skills (i.e. Spanish/Gymnastics) straight after school. These normally last about an hour so are a good option if you are able to pick up your children at around 4.30pm.

Costs vary considerably from school to school. In London, expect to pay between £10-£22 per session for a generic AfterSchool Clubs depending on services provided. Specific afterSchool Clubs run by the school tend to be cheaper.

If you do go for afterschool Club just check their policy on days that your child can't attend (i.e. if they are sick or have a playdate). Some offer a refund, some a partial refund and some nothing.

Websites: Ask your school to provide a list or Google 'After School clubs' in your area

4. Childminder

A Childminder is someone that provides care for a child in their own home for more than 2 hours a day. They will pick your child up from school, take them back to their home with other children of different ages from different families. Not all childminders provide food so don't forget to ask this question when you go for a viewing. Childminders must be registered with Oftsed. The cost of a childminder is cheaper than a nanny as the cost of care is shared across more children but expect to pay between £5.50 - £7.50ph. This works out as one of the cheapest (paid-for) afterschool childcare options.

Websites: www.childcare.co.uk, www.gov.uk/find-registered-childminder , www.sitters.co.uk

5. Au Pair

If you are lucky enough to have the space and inclination to have another person live with you then this is a great option  The idea of an Au Pair is effectively a cultural exchange with a young person from another country whereby there are benefits for both parties. Au Pairs live with you. They look after your children and help out with light housework and in return, you provide accommodation, food and pocket money (between £80 - £90 per week in the UK). Au Pairs can only work a certain number of hours per week which varies per country. In the UK it is 30 hours per week. The age of an Au Pair ranges from 18-30 years old so you are effectively hosting a 'big son/daughter' for a defined period of time. I guess, it gives you a little taster of things to come!

As an Au Pair stay is considered a 'cultural exchange' rather than an employment, there is no need to pay any tax so there is little administrative burden.

Websites: www.aupairword.com, www.aupair.com, www.findanaupair.com

6. Sharing picks up and drop offs with another parent

This is an excellent option if you can find another parent who works different days to you. The children get the benefit of going back to someones home, having a friend to play with, having a home cooked meal and having a 'Mum' or 'Dad' around to help with homework or play games with. And the big advantage is that it is free.

7. Grandparents

This isn't an option that may be available to everyone but if your own parents are local and enjoy spending time with your children then this could be a lovely afterschool childcare option for all involved.

8. Change your working hours to fit around school hours

If you currently work three days a week or less then you could work your three days across five days which would enable you to pick and drop off the kids without any need for additional childcare. This would obviously depend on how flexible your employer is but for some people this is a good way of reducing childcare costs without reducing working hours.

9. Change careers/Give up work

This is a little bit drastic but some Mums or Dads find themselves in a position whereby the demands of one persons job doesn't really allow for both parents to be working.

Or perhaps you are not enjoying your career and are looking to change. Is there something else you would like to do that could bring in some income and allows you take and pick up the children from school which would remove any afterschool childcare costs? For example, I have a friend that recently moved to Devon with her husband and three children. She gave up her job as an HR executive and has spent the last few months renovating a cottage between school hours so that they could ultimately rent it out to holidaymakers.

10. A combination of the above

Clearly, these options are not mutually exclusive. For the last three years, I have done a combination of sharing childcare with another parent four days a week which included sending the kids to AfterSchool Club for one afternoon. I also changed my working hours so that I could pick the kids up from school two days a week. Sometimes it is a bit of a juggling act but it works well for everyone.

I still believe the perfect afterschool childcare has yet to be discovered but until then there are several options out there. If you have any bright ideas - please share. I would love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, if you are already beginning to worry about how you are going to get your children ready and out the door in time for school then check out my Top 10 Tips for Getting the Kids ready in the Morning.

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