The average cost of full-time childcare in the school holidays is £148 a week, according to Coram Family and Childcare (3). Private or specialist holiday camps (like sport or drama) could cost around £35, or even more a day, especially if you need an early drop-off or late pick-up.
Scaling back on the number of days you book could be a no-brainer. Especially if you work from home and became a master of multitasking during the pandemic.
If that's a no-no, or you want your kids to stay away from their screens, here's another way you could cut costs.
The tax-free childcare scheme is an online account that you can use to pay for childcare. There are currently some substantial financial benefits included, which are very widely available, so it’s well worth taking a look.
Most people associate the scheme with pre-school childcare, but it can also be used to pay for after school or holiday clubs. You just need to check the childcare provider or holiday club you’re using is signed up to the scheme.
Just bear in mind, your eligibility depends on:
- if you are working
- your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
- your child’s age and circumstances
- your immigration status
Check the government’s Tax Free Childcare pages for details and how to apply. It might be too late for this school holiday, but it could be very useful to have this support for the future.
Another option is to team up with other parents and try a ‘you have mine and I’ll have yours’ approach. As long as days are agreed in advance, everyone can benefit and not feel like they’re asking for a favour.