Raising a family is an expensive business, especially in places like Nottingham where property prices can be high, and one expense parents often worry about is childcare. It’s now common for both parents to work full-time, and that means that childcare can be a big part of your monthly budget. However, there are new schemes being launched to help working parents, and if you do a little research, you could save thousands each year. Here are some ways you could cut your childcare costs.
30 free hours
You’ll no doubt have heard of the government’s plans to up the free childcare allowance to 30 hours a week. This is an increase on the 15 hours offered previously. These hours can be used in day nurseries , childminders, or any approved childcare provider, but unlike the 15 hours, there are some things to bear in mind:
· You have to work at least 16 hours a week, or earn at least £120/week to qualify
· You can get the free hours if you’re self-employed
· You can apply online to claim the 30 hours
· The free hours cover 38 weeks of the year, but you can sometimes choose fewer hours over more weeks
· It starts the term after your child’s third birthday
If you don’t work the minimum hours, you can still get the standard 15 hours. If you are on certain benefits, you can sometimes get free childcare from the age of two. You can check whether you’re eligible by looking at the government’s website.
Get tax-free childcare
If 30 hours doesn’t cover your expenses, or you have older children who go to a scheme such as an after-school club, then tax-free childcare can help with costs of up to £10,000. The scheme means that for every £1 spent on childcare, 80p comes from you, and 20p from the government. For example, if you use a day nursery and your bill comes to £500 a month after your free hours, then you will pay £400 of this.
By signing up for this scheme, you can make savings of up to £2,000 a year, and it covers children up to the age of 12, or 16 if they have a disability. It’s therefore worth looking into if you pay for any type of childcare.
Childcare vouchers are offered through many Nottingham employers, and allow you to pay for childcare out of your pre-tax salary. Because of the introduction of tax-free childcare, the childcare vouchers scheme will close to new members from April 2018, so check soon whether it’s a better deal. Many parents use these vouchers to pay nursery schools , and if both parents’ employers offer this scheme, then they can both make a salary sacrifice to pay for vouchers, potentially saving hundreds of pounds over the year.
If you are looking for a nursery in Nottingham, get in touch with Sandfield Day Nursery. Based in the Lenton area, simply call 0115 979 2424 or e-mail email@example.com to arrange a visit.
Choosing the right nursery is often one of the first big decisions you have to make for your child. A nursery is more than just a place to drop them off while you work. It’s somewhere that they’ll grow and develop over time, so choosing the right one is essential. You’ll often know which nursery is best when you first walk through the door, as you can soon tell whether a place is welcoming or not, but choosing the right nursery in Nottingham is about more than just a feeling. Here are a few things to consider.
1. Transport and proximity
Some people choose a nursery close to their home, but if you work full-time then a place close to your work might be more practical. This means you can be at the nursery quicker if your child is sick, and don’t have to fight traffic to be back for pick-up. If you’re looking for a day nursery in Nottingham, then Lenton is a handy area, as it’s just a few minutes to drive to the city centre, or a 15-minute bus ride.
Settling in at a nursery can take a while, so if you’re returning to work after parental leave, you might want to consider a nursery that has a pre-school attached, meaning your child can go to the same place from their baby years, up to when they start school. This means they:
· Get to know the staff
· Can transfer between rooms easier
· Visit a familiar building every day
· Get to know the routine of the nursery
Kids like having familiar things and a routine, and by staying within the same nursery, they feel more at home.
Beware of a nursery that’s too tidy! While nurseries follow a curriculum, they should also be fun, welcoming places where kids can be themselves. Pay attention to the general atmosphere when looking at day nurseries . Are there plenty of toys? Pictures on the wall? Spaces for messy play? These are all signs that children are free to enjoy their time at nursery.
It’s so worrying for parents to leave their kids at nursery for the first time, and for peace of mind, you want to be sure that every security precaution has been taken. Most nurseries will have secure access doors and CCTV outside. If they have an outside play area, this should be properly fenced off to ensure children can’t wander. Any staff in nursery schools should also have DBS checks and have had references undertaken, so ask the nursery manager about their recruitment process if you are unsure.
5. Your child’s opinion
While they may be too young to say anything, you can often tell if a child likes a certain nursery. They’ll often toddle off and join in, or simply hide behind you and want to observe. Either way, you know what’s best for your child, and can tell whether it’s the right place for them.
To take a tour of our nursery in Nottingham and find out more, call Sandfield Day Nursery on 0 115 979 2424, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .