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Childcare costs

The cost of childcare is a significant issue for many parents. Discover your options with a childcare cost calculator and information on how to get help with childcare costs.

Choosing the right childcare for your family can take time and many parents will weigh up the cost of different childcare options when making their decision.

Help with childcare costs 

The good news is financial help is available but how much help will depend on your personal circumstances, such as how many hours you're working as well as how much you're earning.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that generally only childcare carried out by registered providers is eligible for financial help, such as working tax credits and childcare vouchers.

You might find it useful to consider the following issues when making your decision about the cost of childcare:

  • Will your chosen method of childcare qualify for financial help: working tax credit or childcare vouchers?
  • If you ask a family member to help out, will they have to reduce their working hours to fit in with yours? Although this may initially look like a ‘cheaper’ option, you will not be given any financial assistance and may be expected to pay for necessary equipment e.g. car seats, stair gates etc. Will they provide care in your home or theirs? You will need to think about illness and holidays too.
  • Is there a clear fee structure? Will this include meals, snacks, nappies and days out?
  • Do they have a notice period if you wish to change childcare?

Further information

Our helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area and see what NCT activities are happening nearby.

You might find attending one of our Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.

Childcare must be registered with Ofsted (England), the Care Inspectorate Scotland and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).