Summer holiday childcare - what are your options?

Posted by / Thursday 04 July 2019 / Parenting Tips

The summer holidays are a time where kids can enjoy the warmer weather and have a much-needed break after working hard during term time. While some families associate the holidays with having fun with family and friends, it can also be a stressful time for many due to the search for suitable and affordable childcare.  

According to YouGov polls, 31% of British parents feel stressed as they try to arrange childcare over the summer holidays and 30% are worried about balancing their jobs and trying to find affordable childcare.  

While it can be difficult balancing your job, finances and your child’s best interests, there are ways to ensure that your child is looked after and cared for over the summer during your work hours.  


Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) 

Tax-Free Childcare is a helpful government scheme that supports eligible parents with £2,000 per year. To qualify for support, you may be: 

  • Working
  • On sick or annual leave 
  • Parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave 

With the government paying £2 for every £8 that you pay your childcare provider; it is a helpful way for parents to either save up the funds during the year for childcare over the summer holidays or use it as needed throughout term time.  

For more information on TFC, visit the UK’s government and information services website. 


School and holiday clubs

Summer holiday play schemes in your area can be a great way for your child to be looked after safely and be with other children their age during your work days. To find out what is in your area, you can use the postcode finder.


Our children’s centres 

Our children’s centres provide support for families or parents facing all different types of circumstances. Find one of our services in your area and see if anything could work for your situation over the period of your child being out of school. Use our 'In your area’ tool to find out more.


Find a registered childminder

If you are ever feeling panicked about finding someone who is a safe and responsible adult to look after your child, find registered childminders in your area from your local authority.



Friends and family 

While this might seem like an obvious option, we understand that it can be difficult to ask friends or family for help. If you live near a family member or friend who is either retired, a stay-at-home parent, works from home, does not work during the summer or has more flexible hours, it can be a great and affordable solution.

This can be a good way for your children to spend time with your close friends or family members and have independent interactions with people who aren’t their parents or teachers. If it is difficult for you to ask for friends or family to help you out in this way, you can always do something special for the person to thank them. Make a craft with your child or invite them over to dinner to show your appreciation.


Parents can find out what government help is available and apply online by visiting the Childcare Choices website. It includes a Childcare Calculator that compares all the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.


Do you have any other tips on finding affordable and suitable childcare over the summer holidays? We'd love for you to share them with us. You can find us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages.

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