Deciding between childcare choices can be tricky. With so many factors to consider (activities and homework help offered, their interests, your and/or your partner’s working hours, your budget, to name a few…) it’s no wonder it’s such a daunting task for many parents. 

With these factors in mind, we’ve compared the most popular childcare options available to help you make the right decision for your family.

Activities and homework:

  • The quality of activities offered at after school clubs can vary, although most will offer board games, crafts and some basic activities to keep the kids entertained. Homework help is rarely offered so it will need to be completed at home.
  • Childminders will offer some activities and have lots of time for free play. You won’t have as much control about what they get up to after school with your kids as with a nanny or au pair and your kids might not always get the individual homework help they need.
  • Many after school nannies are super smart students and the perfect homework helper for your child! As they are only looking after your children, they can tailor the afternoon’s activities to what you and the children want to do.
  • Live-in au pairs often bring elements of their own culture to your family; some will even be able to teach your child a new language

Individual attention and socialisation:

  • After school clubs can have over 30 kids per setting so each child is unlikely to get much individual attention from adults. But, they’ll get to play after school with lots of their friends.
  • Childminders can look after a maximum of 6 children under age 8 at once, so little ones are likely to benefit from more individual care than after school clubs, while still getting to play with other children.
  • After school nannies work just for your family and in your own home so your children benefit from lots of undivided attention from their carer. Children have time and space to decompress after a long day at school in a safe and familiar environment. A nanny share with another family can be a great option if you’re keen for your child to socialise with other children of a similar age. 
  • Similarly to after school nannies, live-in au pairs provide lots of individual attention to kids in the comfort of their own home.

Flexibility:

  • A major drawback of after school clubs is the end time is fixed — sometimes as early as 5pm — and many settings incur charges for late pick up, meaning a stressful after work rush to arrive at pickup time. How far in advance you need to book varies by club — some let you book sessions as last minute as tomorrow. It’s worth bearing in mind that there is no option for care in the holidays.
  • Childminders will usually want you to commit to the same days each. Some are okay with late pick ups or day changes but it does depend and so it’s worth checking with local childminders to see what they can offer.
  • After school nannies can be a flexible option. You’ll agree on regular days and times each week, but they are usually happy to switch a day here or there or stay a bit later if you get stuck in traffic on your way home. A lot of nannies are keen to pick up extra work in the school holidays too. If you’re looking for a helping hand for a few hours each week, you can hire a Koru Kids nanny from just 3 hours a week.
  • Live-in au pairs are also one of the more flexible childcare choices. Similarly to after school nannies, you can discuss with live-in au pairs what your needs are in terms of childcare hours.

Food:

  • Most after school clubs offer a healthy snack: usually fruit or yoghurt.
  • At childminders, food provision can vary — some will provide an evening meal, whilst others will provide just a snack. 
  • After school nannies can whip up simple, healthy meals in your home, giving you and your child lots of say over what they’re eating.
  • Similarly to after school nannies, live-in au pairs can cook homemade meals — some might be keen to cook dishes from back home, introducing your child to exciting new flavours and expanding their palate. 

Pricing:

  • After school clubs are the most affordable option because they have the highest ratios of kids to adults. They cost between £8-£15 for a 2-3 hour session. This cost will increase if you have more than 1 child as you pay per child. Although, some clubs offer sibling discounts.
  • Childminders usually cost between £5-£10 per hour depending on their experience and location. Again, prices are per child, but again they may offer sibling discounts. Ofsted registered childminders and after school clubs accept childcare vouchers. So, if you’re eligible, money can be saved this way.
  • If you have two or more children, after school nannies can be a surprisingly cost-effective option as you pay per hour, not per child. Koru Kids part-time nannies start at £13.50 per hour, which covers the nanny’s salary and holiday pay, vetting and DBS checks, and your employer and payroll costs.
  • Live in au-pairs are usually part of a cultural exchange programme and receive pocket money (usually around £70- £85 per week) in exchange for room and board. Live-in au pairs are also regarded as one of the most affordable childcare choices but you do sacrifice a room in your home.

We hope this has helped make your decision between childcare choices a little easier. Wondering if it’s like to hire an after school nanny? Check out this article to see what parents are saying about having an after school nanny.

If you’re looking to hire a helping hand this year, browse part-time nannies in your local area for free here.