Organising childcare over the Easter holidays can be a tough task for busy parents, especially if you're trying to save money. But don't worry - there may be more options than you think.
To start with, find out as soon as you can which days and hours you will be working over the Easter break. Talk to your boss as early as as possible to arrange leave over the holidays, and be prepared to be flexible. Budgeting for childcare will be easier if you know exactly when you will need help. If you're not already lucky enough to work in a job offering flexi-time, this may be something to raise with your employer. Alternatively, discuss the possibility of working from home, even if only for one day a week. It all helps to save money, and means you'll be spending the same amount of time at home each month.
Now is the time to call in those offers of help from your loved ones. Talk to your family or friends as soon as you can and pencil in the days or times they will be able to look after your child. Although they'll be offering their help free of charge, it's important to remember they may have busy schedules too. Try to make time to create a thank you gift with your child; a painting or some homemade biscuits will go a long way to making sure your family and friends feel appreciated for their efforts, and it's also a fun way to get your kids involved in something creative over the holidays.
Schools and nurseries
Find out whether your child's school is offering any Easter holiday activities. Some schools and day nurseries run sports camps or activity weeks designed to help out working parents. Kids' clubs generally run on weekdays in working hours and can be a great way for your child to make new friends and participate in exciting activities. Remember to plan ahead - there are usually savings to be made from block bookings in advance.
Contact your local council to find out about holiday schemes in your area. They will be able to tell you whether you are eligible for any funding and will have information about free or reasonably priced activities available near you. Private schemes can be expensive, so take time to go through all the options and find the one that fits your budget. Our free money management software will help you make the most of your finances and budget for childcare costs.
Finally, talk to other parents and carers at your child's school or nursery. You're all facing the same difficulties, but you may be able to help each other out. Think about how to save money by pooling your resources. Perhaps you can organise a rota between you to pick up and drop off your children at holiday activities. Consider offering to look after a friend's child on your day off, in exchange for the favour being returned on a day when you're working. Or club together and share the costs of a child-minder or babysitter. Remember, you're not alone.
Posted by Marc Murphy, Marketing Manager at Money Dashboard.