We all want the best for our children, and when we can’t be there because of work commitments, childcare may be our only option.

However, the UK is one of the priciest countries in the world for childcare, which is deterring parents from going back to work because of the financial restraints this comes with. Is childcare expensive? How much is childcare overall and is it worth the pay out every month?

The Rise in Prices of Childcare

When the maternity pay period is over, many mothers who have returned to work begin to struggle with the costs of daily life, as the government doesn’t start to help until the child has turned two. Shockingly, childcare is expensive and can take 53% of your income.

‘Being a full-time working mother in London is turning into a luxury for those who can afford it.’

According to Metro, a nursery in London costs around £1, 400 a month if your child is attending full time, or £840 if they attend three times a week. For the rest of the UK, the average cost of a nursery per week, full time (50 hours), is £242 and £127 for part-time care (25 hours). The part-time option doesn’t allow for much leeway in a parent’s working schedule – the requirement to return to work may be a return to full-time hours, five days a week. Most nurseries operate on early mornings and early evenings, so many will not offer care after 6pm. This means shift work is a difficult option too as parents may not know their hours every week and could be kept later than predicted.

Unfortunately, the lack of flexibility in childcare means many mothers have to cut their hours dramatically or even quit their jobs.

Alternatives to Nurseries

Nannies are a great way to fill the hours nurseries cannot but are an added cost on top of what you may be paying to a nursery. PayScale states that the ‘average pay for a nanny is £9.76 per hour’, which may be more than a parent is getting paid themselves.

Childminders who offer fifty hours of childcare will take a hefty £303 a week from your income if you live close to London, and around £221 anywhere else in the UK.  So childcare can be expensive for those who need more flexible cover.

The cost of childcare has helped contribute to a particular crisis in London

Even an after-school club can cost as much as £59 a week for only five weekdays, limiting flexibility on weekend shifts. As parents struggle to juggle the financial outgoings of childcare, many will consider giving up their careers.

Is Childcare Worth it?

If you really do want to work and maintain your career, then childcare may be your only option. It gives you the freedom to live a working life and earn extra income every month.

However, if you are worried about the costs you could look at saving options. Our app allows you to invite others to give money to help achieve a goal. For example, if you wanted to cover the overall cost of childcare, you could start saving during pregnancy and then ask your family and friends to contribute when you no longer can. When birthdays and Christmas come around, ask for a small donation to your saving goal instead.