Économie et Statistique n° 352-353 - Social and professional time through time-use surveys
An analysis of the use of childminding services
The 1998-1999 Use of Time survey figures show that over 85% of households with at least one child of preschool age and the mother at work use external assistance to mind their young child or children. Some rely exclusively on free, informal childminding by a family member or friends (outside the household). Most, however, use one or more paid services: professional child minders, nannies, crèches and day nurseries. Obviously, households with all their young children in school are less likely to use childminding services than those who have at least one child of preschool age. When they do use these services, it is generally for a shorter length of time per week. However, the use of paid or unpaid external assistance by these households is far from negligible: nearly two-thirds have to have their children minded at least occasionally outside of school hours. The mother's working hours are one of the factors involved in the choice made by households with young children at school between paid childminding, informal assistance and in-household childminding. «Short» part-time work, even when it is involuntary, is likely to make it easier to reconcile family life with work, this in itself making relying on friends and family less probable. Conversely, the probability of using paid childminding is higher when the mother has working hours that do not always allow her to be available at the end of the day. Two other factors play a decisive role: the level of resources (the most well-off households use paid services more) and the demographic make-up of the household (the presence of another adult or older children is conducive to in-household childminding).