Keeping your children entertained during a long summer holiday is never easy especially when you’re on a tight budget.
According to the Family and Childcare Trust, the cost of holiday childcare has increased by 4% since 2016 to an average of £125 per week.
The BBC has called on you, the experts, to send us your best advice for managing childcare costs in the summer downtime.
It takes a village…
Melanie Stevens from Cheltenham, Gloucester, suggests:
“In the summer holidays, I ask young students back from university to be our holiday nanny.
“My two boys are 11 and 12. I’ve got two lovely girls helping this summer, sometimes chilling at home and sometimes trips to the Lido, park and cafes.
“This works out cheaper than sending the boys to sporty holiday clubs and I have the luxury of not having to rush them out of the house.
“It does cost my entire salary for those weeks. I save £100 per month towards this.”
However, Christine Castle from Reading, Berkshire, says paying for a club may be worth it:
“I can use up my holidays looking after my grandson but that would mean mean losing time to spend with my husband as we both still work full time.
“I have paid for all the school holiday – less two weeks when my daughter is off work – for my grandson to go to a local summer club.
“He is educated and has fun whilst doing it so for me it is money well spent.”
Work through the problem
Followers of Mumsnet’s Facebook page have also provided these pearls of wisdom:
Alison Cunningham suggests: “I got a weekend job so, yes ,we don’t get a full weekend as a family but hubby gets quality time with our little girl and we don’t have the worry of relying on family for childcare. We are fortunate that hubby’s job allows me to only work a few hours at the weekend, though I know this isn’t a possibility for everyone.”
Amanda Hobbs went to back to the classroom for her solution: “I got a job in teaching! Has its drawbacks because everywhere is so damn busy and I get no ‘me time.’ However, we don’t have to worry about childcare.”
The conversation developed on @BBCBusiness as parents offered further advice.
Continuing the family theme Bakehouse Cottage recommends:
Startup Mums suggested self-employment might be the key, although it’s not an easy option: “A lot of mums start their own business because they want increased flexibility, makes holidays a little easier, but it is still a juggle!”
For Traynorbird, it all comes down to money:
Meanwhile, Julie reminded us a friend in need is a friend indeed.
And Karl Woolley offered a father’s perspective:
And if all else fails……
Tmckinnin has a solution: “I quit and take time off.”
By Bernadette McCague, UGC and Social News team