Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents | Family | Education | Pre-school | The Childcare Juggle

The Childcare Juggle



The Juggle


Between drop offs and pick-ups and commuting and work how are families managing? In most (72%) two-parent families both parents have jobs, so we know you are all somehow managing your kid’s childcare. But the choices are tough. Do you rely on (free) Grandparent care, or use a childminder or does your baby go to a nursery. According to the Coram Family and Childcare’s survey it now costs £6,600 to have your under 2 year old in childcare for 25 hours a week. So how are you finding the right balance? spoke to one Dad in London about his childcare juggle –

We have two kids under five and both work. We don’t live near family so we are completely dependent on childcare. We’re both self-employed and until April had enjoyed the benefits of self-employed maternity leave. But like all good things it came to an end. My wife found herself work almost immediately but her hours and commute mean three days a week I do all the drop offs and pickups as well as working my own hours at home. Our elder child is over three so is entitled to 30 hours free childcare which is an absolute life (and pocket) saver.


The situation is tricky. I am having to get the two kids to childcare on my own, pack lunchboxes, spare clothes and deal with a screaming baby – now I know what an amazing job my wife was doing whilst I worked!


Making a plan

Making a plan was step one. We had to really pin ourselves down. We chose to send our youngest to the childminder on our road as it saves so much time. However, our older daughter’s nursery is a drive. It is a struggle to get enough work done between her drop off and pick up.

Communication, communication, communication

We’ve discussed how we’re going to make the childcare work so many times and are constantly tweaking it. It is so expensive we can’t afford to make a mistake. We’re always asking our friends how they do it and steal their best ideas. We use our google calendar and add shared entries. We try to make sure everyone (including the kids) knows where they should be.

Family help

The ideal of course would be to get some family help. That’s not possible for us but we have a group of local friends who really step up to support us where they can.


We try and save money by one of us dropping off while the other goes to work early and swap duties on the way home. Ask your employer to be flexible. Being self-employed we have the option of making up hours in the evenings.

Although it is hard now it will get better

We are looking forward to free childcare (for the little one) at three, School is starting for our eldest in September which will bring new challenges. It’s definitely a work in progress but making sure everyone is happy and in the right place without breaking the bank is possible. It just takes some work!

Check your entitlement to help with childcare costs


15 hours entitlement

3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds, are entitled to 570 hours of funded early education or childcare per year. For more information click here.

30 hours entitlement

If you both work (and meet the criteria) then your 3 and 4 year olds will get 30 hours free a week.  Make sure you apply promptly for the term following your child’s birthday.  If you miss the window you will miss out on the money.

Tax-Free Childcare

Eligible parents can open an online childcare account. For every £8 they pay in to their account, the government will pay in an additional £2, up to a maximum. Parents are then able to use the account to pay for childcare costs with a registered provider. For more information click here.

If you are struggling with the childcare juggle come and share your concerns on our Forum.

Related entries

Childcare: what are the options?

Childcare: what are the options?

Modern parenthood is about striking a balance between caring for your children and earning a crust. Many families need childcare options to balance the juggle. If you don't know your nannies from your au pairs, read our guide to childcare to help you decide...

Has Lockdown Hurt Your Pre-Schooler?

Has Lockdown Hurt Your Pre-Schooler?

4-year-olds have regressed eight months during UK lockdowns. Who would have believed we could survive a year with... No school. No clubs. No childcare. No grandparents. Not even a poxy toddler group to give me much needed backup. I have spent sleepless nights worrying...

Pre-School: Why It’s A Good Idea & How To Prepare

Pre-School: Why It’s A Good Idea & How To Prepare

Attending preschool is a great way for your child to make friends, have fun, learn new skills and get ready for primary school, and there are plenty of easy ways outlined below to ease the transition from toddler to pre-schooler...  Attending a preschool is a...

Latest entries

Positive parenting- what is it and how can I use it?

Positive parenting- what is it and how can I use it?

There are many parenting terms being coined these days, but positive parenting is an approach proven to work. It's also easy to adopt and benefits the whole family.   What is positive parenting?  In short, positive parenting means focussing on your child’s...

Kids’ gaming safety: what can parents do?

Kids’ gaming safety: what can parents do?

Keeping track of your child's online life can be challenging. Online video gaming poses difficulties for parents trying to monitor their child's activity. Gaming and gambling safety charity Ygam shared with us their tips for working with your kids to keep them safe:...

How to survive a holiday with a baby or toddler

How to survive a holiday with a baby or toddler

If the thought of a long trip with a wailing baby sends shivers down your spine, you're not the only one. But, before you baulk at the idea of travelling with a little one, check out our tips on surviving a holiday with a baby or toddler. The truth is that holidaying...

Pin It on Pinterest