Grandparents and extended families are proving invaluable for helping working parents cover childcare over the summer holidays.
Grandparents or other relatives are proving a big resource for those working parents who have family nearby and are trying to get through the summer holidays, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll shows nearly a quarter are relying on grandparents and relatives for childcare purposes during the summer holidays. Twelve per cent are using holiday playschemes, 12% say flexible working is helping them to cope with summer childcare issues, just 2% say they and their partner are taking separate periods of leave and 4% are taking unpaid leave. Twenty seven per cent are using a combination of some or all of the above, such as unpaid leave and childminders, while 14% say they have had to quit their jobs. Other ways around the holidays include term time working.
The six-week summer holiday is a challenge for many working parents, both in terms of expense and childcare. Coram Family and Childcare’s annual summer childcare survey found the average cost of holiday childcare has risen 3% since last summer, costing an average of £138 per week.
Another issue is availability of childcare. The report says only 31% of English local authorities have enough holiday childcare available for parents in their area who work full time while holiday clubs in the private, voluntary and independent sector are on average 25% more expensive than those run by local authorities.
It’s not just childcare – entertainment is expensive and many parents who access free school meals for their kids in term time are facing real problems feeding their kids due to low wages and benefits cuts. The Trussell Trust issued an urgent plea to the public in July, asking them to donate food to their local food bank, as figures showed 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018, a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.