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Child care expenses include any fees paid to child minders, nannies or au pairs for taking care of children.
Let's look at all the child care options and their expenses in detail.
Childminder: A registered childminder provides care in the child's own home in return of a compensation. A registered childminder has permission to take care of six children below the age of eight as long as not more than three are below the age of five. In comparison to day nurseries, childminders offer a lot more flexibility as they can also be available on evenings and weekends. There are nearly 60,000 childminders in the UK. As per a 2014 survey by family and childcare trust, nearly 5% of households in the UK used registered childminders.
Childminders provide help such as taking children to parks, shops and libraries, dropping off and picking up children, to and from school, playgroups, or after-school clubs. Their costs depend on the number of children, hours they are required to work, and location. As of 2014, for a child under 2, child minder expenses for 25 hours per week are in the range of £84.81 in North West England to £136.40 in London. For a child above 2, childminders charge £82.85 (West Midlands) to £138.77 (London) for 25 hours every week.
Nannies: Like child minders, nannies also take care of a child on a daily basis. However, unlike childminders, you have to pay tax and national insurance contributions on their salaries. Technically, you will be a nanny's employer. You need to provide a contract of employment to nannies along with pay holiday and sick pay. Many nannies are professionally qualified in child care.
Nannies perform activities like washing and ironing and also ensure the equipment and toys used by the child be clean. In some cases, nannies may also cook meals for the children. Based on their responsibilities and working hours, nannies can charge anywhere in the range £250-£500 every week. However, it is possible to share the costs of a nanny with parents of other kids who may be looked after by the same nanny. Best Bear.co.uk can be a useful site for information on nanny sharing.
Au Pairs: These are young men or women in the age group of 17-27 who visit UK to learn English language and culture, and live with the hosts. Au Pairs can stay for a maximum period of two years. Au pairs can work for five hours every day or 25-30 hours a week. As per data from Home Office, Au Pairs are paid £70 to 85 every week. One should note that Au Pairs do not have any formal training and education in handling children, and so caution needs to be exercised while giving young children to them.
Child care expenses are a significant item in every household's budget. Our household budget calculator can be of help in determining the role of child care expenses in your household budget.