It’s coming up to that busy time of year where you may need to employ the services of an au pair agency to help with childcare over the summer holidays, but have you thought about how much it costs to keep the kids entertained over these few months and budgeted for it? If not, it’s something you should think about, as according to The Scotsman, a new study has shown that the cost of keeping children busy and stimulated over the school holidays is soaring.
We all know the cost of living has increased, and this extends to everything from eating out to going to theme parks. According to figures from the Post Office, the cost of doing this with children during the holidays has increased by a quarter over the last five years and could be as much as £632 extra you need to spend.
Of course, getting affordable help with childcare is a great option for the holiday months, as it means that you can continue working at full capacity, ensuring your income doesn’t suffer over this time, but you may be still required to come up with some ways to entertain the little ones to suit your budget – everyday can’t be theme parks and expensive activities, after all. And it’s those attraction entrance fees which are really taking up the main part of the budget, representing 42 per cent of all expenditure. This is followed by eating out and buying all those extra treats and sweets that come with being out of school, and this overall figure doesn’t even factor in the likes of fuel.
Almost half of parents have put some saving time in to accommodate this, but as few as one in eight have saved the required amount. Chrysanthy Pispinis, director of Post Office Money, said: “It’s no surprise parents feel the pressure mounting as the school holidays get nearer, particularly as our research shows that parents have only saved 40 per cent of the costs they can expect to incur entertaining their children.”
So how best can you, and your au pair, manage finances and expectations when it comes to the summer holidays? We suggest ensuring that you give the kids a timeline of any major trips you plan to take, as they can have a concept of when these will be taking place, and avoid front-loading your break with expensive outings. Also bill some less expensive trips at the same level to make sure that they’re not only looking forward to those events that do cost a little more. You should also think about ways to make the everyday more exciting – turn watching a film indoors into a home cinema experience, plan a fashion show with their wardrobes and turn playing into the garden into a camping adventure.
Making these little things a bit more of an event will help the holiday fly past without emptying your bank account, while also making sure that the children stave off boredom, engage their creativity and make memories that will last a lifetime.