Keep the cost of kids down this summer with Mr Money’s holiday tips

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WORKING parents are paying up to £800 extra to cover the cost of childcare over the summer holidays, research has revealed.

The cash is needed for holiday clubs or childminders to cover school hours, according to the study for Save The Children.

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Cut the cost of childcare this summer with these Mr Money saving tips[/caption]

For those scrabbling to sort out cover, here are Mr Money’s top tips for keeping costs down.

TAX BREAKS

Working parents with kids aged up to 11 can get Government help towards paying for clubs, camps, childminders and daycare centres during the holidays.

You will need to set up a tax- free childcare account on the Gov website. For every £8 you pay in, the state will top up by £2 towards your childcare costs, which means you get a fifth off.

PA:Press Association

Working parents can get financial help from the Government[/caption]

The bonus gets paid in automatically when you transfer money into your account, and you can then transfer it to your childcare provider.

More than 58,000 providers are signed up to the system, including school, football, art and tennis clubs.

When the kids are back at school you can also use it to pay for breakfast, after-school clubs and childminders, with a maximum bonus of £2,000 a year.

The scheme is available to working parents, including the self-employed, earning at least the minimum or living wage for 16 hours a week.

TEAM UP WITH OTHER PARENTS

Mums and dads are working together in groups or pairs to look after each other’s children.

Sarah Coles, 44, from Bristol, an analyst for investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown, relies on “sharing” arrangements to cover her kids Callum, 12, and Alexandra, 11, when she’s at work.

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Team up with other mums and dads and take turns having the kids[/caption]

She said: “I have an arrangement with a friend, who is a nurse.

“She has my kids for a couple of rest days that fall on weekdays, and I have her son while she’s at work on the weekend.”

USE WORK PERKS

Some firms run “bring your child to work” days or allow parents to work from home.

If you’re completely stuck for childcare cover and can’t take annual leave you could consider unpaid parental leave.

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If you’re stuck for childcare bring your kid to work or work with them from home[/caption]

This is a Government entitlement of a total of 18 weeks’ leave for each child up to the age of 18. The maximum that can be taken in a single year is usually four weeks.

Some workers can adapt their work patterns to fit around their child’s holidays.

Jessie Wilson, 41, a self-employed author of educational books, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: “I now work for a couple of hours in the morning during holidays, and then once my daughter Timi is in bed, I do most of my work, going to bed around midnight or 1am.

“It’s not ideal but it works.”

HOLIDAY CAMPS

There are lots of summer camps available that will look after children in the day.

Solicitor Lucy Doherty, 39, from Hitchin, Herts, has booked her daughter Aoife, six, a week of theatre camp and a day of sports camp.

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Send the kids off to have fun at a holiday camp[/caption]

Both run from 10am to 3pm so Lucy will work from home on those days.

She said: “Aoife loves performing arts so she’s looking forward to it.

“I’ll also draw on help from grandparents and other parents.”

For a list of the camps running in your area, try the website and app Hoop. This is also good for finding out about cheap and free activities to take your kids to.



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