2 year old son is going to nursery, how much do I contribute as a single dad?

Home Online forum Gingerbread Forum 2 year old son is going to nursery, how much do I contribute as a single dad?

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  • #14609 Report


    Hi all,

    So the situation is that I met a girl travelling, we hooked up, came home and found is she was pregnant (we both live in London). I decided to stick around and see him as much as possible whilst supporting the mum (we were never ‘together’), from the birth and almost every day for first couple of months. We decided on the routine of me having him alternative weekends from Friday night to Sunday night, but also a Wednesday night, I also take him football every Saturday morning.

    We’re now looking to put him into nursery because she’d like to work, and I’ve offered to pay 70% of the costs, however it’s working out pretty extortionate. Where do I stand in paying for this? Are single Dad’s contributing to nursery as well as child maintenance? Would be interested to hear other peoples opinions or situations…

    We’re looking to put him in for 3 whole days, but the mum is saying she will only work 2 days because otherwise she won’t be as many benefits…. which means the third day she will just be sitting at home whilst I’m working. It doesn’t feel very fair to me?

    I do feel so alone in this, I have no one who is in a similar situation so have no comparisons…

    #14614 Report


    She will need the third day of nursery to do everything she can’t do when she has the child…. cleaning shopping resting planning things cooking doing admin and forms and banking going dentist even. Any other things that she needs to do and can’t do while looking after your toddler. Do you book all your appointmwnts and chores to clash with your time with your son? I doubt it. She needs the alternate weekend to rest or have me time. She needs the midweek nursery day off to do some of the mountain of chores and errands. I think he Def needs the third day. However he should be free of charge from the term he turns 3. So it’s not a long term expense.

    You don’t say how old he is but as he will soon be free hopefully you can continue to support them in the meantime.

    Your arrangement sounds excellent.  Kids do cost but it might be that you have more money left after maintenance and nursery than the mum does after you take all the child’s expenses and care out. Also you could see it as she is not able to earn a full time wage for herself because she is main carer if your child. Rather than thinking that she gets 3 days off. 2 of them are spent in childcare which she is not paid for. If you were a couple you would be paying full amount anyway.

    I think you sound like a good dad who is commited. It is expensive being a parent but the mum isn’t going to be chilling it’s really hard being main carer so don’t begrudge her the household chores day. It is refreshing to hear of a supportive arrangement like this.


    #14615 Report


    Sorry but I disagree with flying, it sounds to me like you’re there pretty consistently for your boy. When you become a parent, there is little time for chores, relaxing and me time, as a parent all those things come 2nd to meeting the needs of the child. In the north of England some 2year old qualify for free nursery sessions though there is criteria to meet (such as claiming certain benefits), otherwise as flying states it’s 3years. I don’t think you should be covering nursery costs for a 2year old so mum can have a day off chilling whilst you work. Could you suggest mum looks for work around the days you have your child like most other parents do? Just to minimise the cost between you. Or alternatively, do either of you have family to watch your child for a day per week? that way you could just opt for 2 days per week


    #14617 Report


    I work part time and 70 percent of nursery fees is covered by HMRC.  I work a 2  hours from home one day to catch up on paperwork  and my daughter is at nursery that day so afterwards I can go shopping,  clean home and do general chores . . Put my feet up and catch up with stuff that needs doing  . I broke my tooth 4 weeks ago and still have not had that looked at  .  I changed my hours but I’m still doing full time work so nothing has changed

    There are nurseries who give free place but it is only during term time.  I don’t have anyone to help apart from nanny who needs paying. All children must come first but it does not make you a bad person if you want me time.

    These free nursery have a long waiting list so I suggest that you go on hmrc website and ask them about tax credit  so you may just contribute 15% and your gf  15% to make it fair.


    #14619 Report


    For the third day, could your child go to a preschool instead? It’s school hours so the mum would still have time to do the things she needs to do outside of working and caring for her son. But it’s a lot cheaper. A childminder for some hours that day would also be a lot cheaper if there’s no family to help.

    #14626 Report



    I would guess that she would get help with tax and child credits to go towards the cost of nursery? It is difficult because you need to know your job hours and income first and it sounds like she doesn’t have anything yet? Once she has found employment and sorted out the financial help perhaps your 70 per cent will be less extortionate? I can also see both sides of your argument and they are both valid. One way to possibly look at it from your point of view is that you get to work 5 days a week without 5 days of childcare costs? I know its tough but as a parent I’m not sure you ever really get a day off, its more an opportunity to get things done that you can’t do with a toddler in tow.

    Good luck with whatever you both decide xx


    #14729 Report


    Okay wow, I can’t believe how many of you got back to this, it just makes me feel so good to talk about this and hear different opinions!

    So I’ll add a bit more context to my situation. We are both 27 and she actually lives with her parents, who are lovely and help out a lot. She also has a lot of family who live near her who also help baby sitting. My point is, she’s not always alone with my son and so house work, chores and bills are not something she has to worry about, solely. Also my son turned 2 in August 2018.

    I know that she’s getting a lot of benefits as a single mum, so I do feel like she’s taking the P a little. Apparently it’s been confirmed we get 15 hours covered by the gov, so it’s actually only 15 hours we need to pay a week (because he’s set up for 30).

    In terms of her having the extra day as ‘alone’ time, I’m not sure I agree she needs it. I have him alternative weekends, wed’s eves and also Saturday mornings and afternoons for football, she has ‘me’ time then. She also has a lot of help from family… Surely you would want to work the 3 days to get more money? The not working 3 days frustrates me as I’m working a full time job, whilst trying to start a business on the side, I hardly have any free time.

    So after we get the 15 hours free, do the gov give her extra funds to cover the extra 15 hours of nursery?

    I’m starting to think I should offer to pay 50% now, especially if she gets extra benefits and is not working 1 of the days.

    My family live outside of London, so its hard for them to have him in the week, although they love seeing him on the weekends I have him.

    I think he’s too young for preschool?

    Also, I swear I read you’re allowed 30 free hours childcare if you child is 2 and you’re a single parent working, whilst on benefits?

    I wish she was more honest with how many benefits she earned, however she never tells me which makes me suspicious sometimes.

    #14987 Report


    Could you not put your son in to nursery for 2 days instead of 3?


    #15007 Report


    Yes the  child can get 30 hours after 2 years old but this is only term time and you have to go on wait list.  So school holidays the child would not attend and stay at home.  I get 30 hours but only received after my daughter turned 3 years old. She attend private nursery and is only off at easter christmas and bank holidays. It is open all year round.

    #15045 Report



    Personally I think she is taking the p out of you and expecting to much, if you are already paying maintainance then I think if you are still happy to help here out with the nursery fees i think she should be happy with you paying as much as you could afford.

    I also agree she does jot need alone time as as you say she has that when you child is with you and to be honest part of having a child is changing your life to be there for them not yourselfs and there are many that are doing it alone and who never get a break.

    Hope you get it all sorted out.



    #15144 Report


    like i would suggest to go for a childminder, those will be cheaper in a long run, and she will still be able to claim expenses. like 2 days in a nursery can be 3 days at the childminder. I wish someone would pay for the childcare for my son. i cover everything myself at the moment, and waiting till he will be 3 years old. And i do not have any family around. I cant claim 15 hours free because i get housing benefit. so that sucks. Being able to claim 15 hours pr week, means you can use them in one day. Some people use couple of hours every day. What i think is a waste of time. If she is working part time, you can pay for one day, she can pay for one day and one day is funded by the government. (the benefit is calculated on the income, as salary plus housing benefit, tax credits etc if you get one. if total amount is over 15k per year you do not get 15 hours funded).

    <span style=”color: #1a1919; font-family: Lato, sans-serif;”>Also, I swear I read you’re allowed 30 free hours childcare if you child is 2 and you’re a single parent working, whilst on benefits? – show me people who said that, id love to claim. i was told that luxury is from 3 years old for all children, regardless on parents income.</span>

    I think that part of the child maintenance should go on nursery. (still id chose the childminder. every council will have a local offer where is a list of service providers)

    #15194 Report

    Healing Light

    In my opinion she has it easy.  She lives with helpful parents, gets benefits, has family baby sitting and wants another day to chill.  Hmm i may sound harsh but does she know what privilege she has infront of her.

    Am a lone parent, no help from no one, live below very below the poverty line. Not had a day to myself since i got pregnant & my child is nearly 4 yrs old. Have had 5 hrs alone in a&e for a suspected heart attack and then back home to be a mother again at 2am.  If im sick i have to still be a parent, still cook n clean, still take care of a child & study at night when my child sleeps.

    If she wants a 3rd day in nursery then have her pay for it. You buy clothes & needed items for nursery & some food items for the lunch box. Don’t let anyone control you. Legally your not obliged to do anything. What you are doing is excellent. You got my support.

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