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Why I love France – reason number 1,028: childcare costs.

The following photographs show the disparity in childcare costs between my new home, France, vs my old home, the UK. The costs in France for a day’s childcare – including meal – are 7 Euros. In the UK you can take that figure and multiply it by a factor of nearly 10. I am not joking about this.

In the UK if you have one child and you pay X amount, and then have another child in the same nursery, you pay X again. Here they adjust the price, so as not to hurt the family wallet too much. So you are already paying a (relative) pittance, and then they add in reduced costs for more children.

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This is one of  the reasons why this blog even exists, I had to give up my job in the UK because, when child number two arrived, I was essentially working for nothing. Can you imagine that? Doing a job that does not fulfil you in any way, only to see all your earnings be swallowed up, just so you can pay someone else to look after your kids, because you can’t look after them due to being too busy working to pay them to look after your kids…

It sounds like absolute madness, doesn’t it? But this is the reality that faces many parents in the UK. This is a stark contrast to France, over here they embrace the family and encourage people to have children and enjoy their lives with them. In the UK it sometimes felt like you were being punished for that greatest of all sins: wanting to have more than one child.

I’m conflicted about my own personal situation, having to quit the ‘rat race’, because on the one hand NOBODY should have to stop working because they cannot afford childcare, but on the other hand it gifted me some incredible times with my children. Times that I may never have experienced otherwise, and these memories will last forever.

Some people are lucky, and so have parents/family that can ‘pick up the slack’ and help out with the kids, and thus ease the burden of childcare costs. We didn’t have that, we didn’t have that ‘support network’, as they call it in the UK. And this is another one of the reasons why we decided to move to France.

This kind of thing is something that parents who are contemplating moving over here really have to factor in to their decision-making, as it is a huge, huge plus. This isn’t even considering the lower costs for other things such as school trips, extra-curricular activities, university etc.

They even adjust the scale in pre-school nurseries to reflect your income, so someone on a lower wage pays a lower rate than that of someone on a higher one.

Yes there are other costs incurred from moving over here but this took a great weight off our family’s financial shoulders and I’d imagine, for many other parents, it would be the same.

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