Deciding whether you go back to work is fraught with big decisions and often cost and flexibility are the things that force your decision one way or the other. Here at Mummies Club Camberley we wanted to bring you a quick guide to the childcare minefield.
We’ve pulled in the help of business member Charlotte to help us. Owner of a brand new Preschool called LittleLotties, which is opening 6th January 2016, in Chobham, Charlotte has first-hand experience of the working parent juggle having been a board level PA in the IT security industry when her first child was born.
So here are Charlotte’s top FOUR things you should do when considering childcare:
ONE – Do your numbers
So many working mums are actually earning less than the minimum wage when they look at earnings minus childcare costs. Having an identity through a job can be so important to mums but is it all actually worth it? Do your numbers – how much will you earn, what will childcare cost? Can you make any savings? Could you change your career?
TWO – Know your EYFE and FEET
The acronyms EYFE (Early Years Free Entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds) and FEET (Free Early Education for Two year olds) are key to ensuring you make the most of any free childcare you are entitled too. EYFE is available to all children aged three and four years old and gives up to 15 hours per week of free early years provision for 38 weeks of the year. FEET if you are eligible can offer some free childcare when your child is two years old.
For more information LittleLotties have created a fantastic Information page on their website which covers all things funding http://www.littlelottiespreschool.co.uk/funding/ .They are able to offer sessions that cater for both of these provisions.
THREE- Ask your employer about childcare voucher schemes
Childcare vouchers are another way to really help with the cost of childcare for your household and many employers subscribe to schemes. There has been some confusion surrounding the Childcare voucher scheme with the government planning on changing this to something called Tax-Free Childcare. This has now been put on hold until 2017 so if your employer offers a scheme then you should definitely look into taking advantage of this to put more pennies back into your pocket.
What actually happens? The savings for you here come from the fact that your childcare costs come out of your pre-tax and NI income which when you factor in the fact that both parents are allowed to participate in the scheme can equal savings of as much as £1000 a year in some cases. Definitely something to look into don’t you agree? Like most settings now LittleLotties accepts childcare vouchers but always worth double checking.
FOUR – Choose your preschool or nursery wisely
So how many of you have thought “great – free childcare!” but then when coming to arrange it you find so many places are very restricted on the hours they offer making fitting a job around the times nigh on impossible? Make sure you do your research well as it is a very common problem. When planning her preschool Charlotte made sure the hours of their sessions make it as easy as they can for working mums – your little ones can join them for various sessions from morning sessions of 3.5hrs long including a snack and lunch, afternoon sessions of 3hrs including a snack or an all-day session of 9.15-4pm.
Finally we would just like to say thank you Charlotte for your top 4 tips, we are delighted to have LittleLotties Preschool on board and think they are going to be a fantastic asset to our online community as well as the community of Chobham where they have great plans to get very involved with all things local.
If you are starting to look for preschools in the Chobham or Woking area then LittleLotties have a couple of fantastic free stay and play open days coming up on Thursday 26th December and Tuesday 15th December both from 11-1. Take the chance to go and have a look around, meet the team and grab a coffee while your little ones try the new equipment! Please contact Charlotte at .firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07884 238153 to book on the two open days
LittleLotties Preschool will be adding a discount offer to our Mummies Club discount really soon so with all the savings we have helped you make with our tips here don’t forget to buy your discount card so you can tap in to even more savings!