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Enlighten me - child care options!

Hello, I work full-time and so does my husband. I work (give or take) 8.30am to 6pm Mon-Fri, but H works an 8 day shift rotation, same shifts in same order in the 8 day pattern but because it's 8 days we couldn't easily book, for example, the same days each week for day care or childminder.

I've been through the shifts and it looks as though we would need approx 27 hours cover a week (if my work aren't amenable to my dropping a day a week, then it would be 22). The plan *was* for my sister to be our childminder, but she (fabulously and wonderfully) has overcome lots of problems to fall pregnant with twins that are due early next year. So we're ruling that option out for now.

There's a week in the 8 week rotation where we need 3 all days and 2 afternoons, but another where we only need 1 day and 1 afternoon. And all sorts of variety in between.

I would, without doubt, prefer childcare in our home, or alternatively, in someone else's home. Due to our jobs we can both be held up at work at short notice, not often but it can happen.

I've been browsing various sites online but it all feels a bit hopeless! And obviously, we need to keep the costs as low as we can. Any advice as to where we should be looking or what definitely won't work for us so I can target my research better?

Many thanks for any help :)


  • A nanny share?

  • Isis, do you know anyone who's done this? Does it seem likely when I need someone between 2 and 5 times a week? I have seen it referred to online but have no clue how common/easy it is or isn't in real life.

  • I think my friend is just about to start it but no real experience yet. I don't know much about it tbh but it was the first thing that sprang to mind.

  • Perhaps you could find a childminder who choses to only look after one or two children, then it wouldn't have any impact on her & the days you used with her and you could pay the same rate each month.  My childminder only looks after my LO and another LO the same age which means she can be flexible about me swapping days/hours as she doesn't have the concern of going over her numbers if we change days.

    Have a look on a website called it will give you an idea of whats available in your area. x

  • A lot of childminders will be flexible. I would say call a few and ask x

  • When we were looking for flexible child care we found it pretty impossible I'm afraid to say.   The only solution for us was to use my mum for childcare.

  • My husband works shifts and the only way we managed to get flexible child care was by finding a nursery that accommodated shift patterns. I basically just told the nursery at the start of each month what days she would be in. Might be worth phoning round some places, I know you've said you would prefer something in the house but its another option.

  • H and i both work shifts and we have a cm who is flexible and will take from 7.30, she will do the odd Saturday too if we needed her but we have be dr used her at weekends

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