Single parent with his child
Parents are expected to spend around £1,279 a month on their child. Pixabay

It has been estimated that childcare expenses take up to 60 per cent of a parent's average monthly salary. Studies have found that on average, parents are expected to spend around £1,279 a month on their child.

According to Child Poverty Action Group, a charitable organisation that helps people manage the social security system, the cost of raising a child with basic additional needs until the age of 18, has risen to at least £65,000.

When considering the cost of housing and childcare, the overall expense rises to at least 160,000, spread over 18 years. For single-parent households, child expenses can reach £210,000.

Child Poverty Action Group have also recognised that the annual childcare expense is expected to increase further, due to the current cost-of-living crisis.

Reassured, a life insurance broker, studied the average income of family households, in relation to their child expenses. The study showed that, in 2023, almost half (41.4%) of parents are having to spend more on their kids than their budget allows.

The Reassured investigation considered, childcare, food, baby groups, music lessons, baby products, future savings, healthcare, after-school clubs, clothing and footwear, birthday and celebratory gifts, transport, school uniform, attending social events, and pocket money.

The Reassured study also found that, with the current cost-of-living crisis, 67.7 per cent of childcare costs have increased recently – such as food, clothing, and transport. The intense inflation has left a huge 58 per cent of parents concerned with their finances.

In their Childcare Survey 2023, the children's charity Coram, found that the average cost of sending a child under two to a nursery for 25 hours per week (part-time) has risen to by over £500 since 2022. The current cost of part-time nursery enrolment is £7,729 per year.

To send a child to nursery full-time, Coram calculated that parents would need to pay around £14,836 per year.

A father of three, Rick Wild, revealed: "My wife is a teaching assistant. At one point when we had our two youngest in nursery, the fees were more than my wife's salary."

The current cost of part-time nursery enrolment is £7,729 per year.

In relation to the median adult salary in the UK, there are arguments for the child benefit donation not being sustainable. On average, men earn around £26,856, and women earn around £25,115 a year.

If parents are entitled to child benefits, the UK government will provide them with £24 a week for the eldest or only child. For any additional children, parents will be given a weekly allowance of £15.90 per child.

SpareMyTime, a UK-based Virtual Assistant firm, found that families in Yorkshire, East Midlands and Wales are experiencing the biggest disparity between their salary and rising childcare costs.

The CEO of SpareMyTime, Melissa Gauge, is concerned with the fact that during term breaks, "Women are paying to return to work – i.e., childcare costs more than they earn... The school day finishes at 3 pm - often when the afternoon work session is only beginning."

"We all live and breathe the juggle around the kids' holidays, so we can all support one another and create solutions to make sure everyone has the best balance possible," Melissa Gauge added.

During the school holidays, parents witness a rise in child expenses – primarily due to childcare.

Another survey, conducted by Coram, showed that the average cost of a week's worth of childcare is £148. Half terms and the summer holidays add up to 15 weeks a year, depending on the school. The 15 weeks of childcare, for one child, could cost parents up to around £2,220.

This amount would increase dramatically for parents with two or more children. These extreme costs emphasise the financial strain that childcare expenses can place on households during extended school breaks.

Samantha Meehan, who is a mother to a 15-month-old child, expressed her fears surrounding the cost of raising a child.

She said: "I am completely aware it was our choice to have a child, but the fees are increasing to the point it's making us consider whether it's worth working at all, and we're not in minimum paid work."

"We've worked hard to be in a good financial position to have a child, but it's just not enough," Meehan added.