Cost of the second child forces parents to stay home

Article date: 19 July 2010

Millions of "average" two-child families are being forced to cut their working hours as they struggle to cover the cost of childcare, according to new research from Aviva.

The Aviva COTS (Cost Of The Sibling) study1, which interviewed over 1,000 parents with two or more children, shows that four in ten families feel it is not worth both parents working full time, after the birth of their second child. The research was carried out to celebrate the first anniversary of Aviva’s "free life cover for new parents" initiative.

Two children is currently the most common family size in the UK2, but with full-time childcare for two children costing nearly £17,000 a year3, many of these families say they would be working purely to pay the child-minder. As a result, they have decided that at least one parent should cut their hours or give up work.

57% of people who reduce their hours or don’t return to work after the birth of their first child, do so to spend more time with their new baby – the main reason given for staying at home. This changes with the second child, with financial factors being the single biggest influence (39%).

These money matters are particularly relevant now, following recent budget proposals to remove Child Trust Funds and Health in Pregnancy grants. Families with two or more children may then be feeling the "sibling squeeze" on their finances.

Almost half (45%) of the parents who don’t return to work after their second child are taking at least five years off work. These five years potentially cost over £125,0004 in lost earnings, even before taking into account the additional cost of supporting the second child.

Louise Colley, head of protection marketing for Aviva says: “As any parent will know, children have a huge financial impact on a family - and this can sometimes mean double trouble when a sibling comes along! This is why protecting the family is so important, perhaps even more so when there are more mouths to feed.

“If a parent gives up work this often means the family needs to tighten its belt financially. Unfortunately, as a result, life insurance can be overlooked, but the consequences of having no cover in place can be huge - especially for a family already relying on just one income. Should the worst happen, having to return to work to generate an income and cover childcare costs could be a tremendous strain. Life insurance can cost as little as £5 a month and could ensure child care fees are taken care of and - more importantly - replace some or all of the lost income.”

Aviva offers £10,000 worth of free life cover to new parents, per parent, per child up to their first birthday. Parents must register within the first six months of their child’s birth. To find out more about the Aviva life cover for new parents initiative and to register, visit or call 0800 404 6434.


The Aviva offer provides £10,000 of life cover per parent, making up to £20,000 of cover per child (£40,000 for twins or £60,000 for triplets).

1. Source: Unless stated, research was carried out by for Aviva between 15 and 22 March 2010. Sample: 1,084 parents with dependent children.

2. Source: Office of National Statistics figures, 2007 (most recent figures).

3.  The typical cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two is £152 a week, more than £7,900 a year. Source

4. Based on Office of National Statistics, 2009 ASHE survey. Median earnings £489 per week (£25,428 per year).

For further information please contact:
Sarah Poulter
Tel: +44 (0)1904 452828
Mobile: +44 (0)7800 699526

Louise Duffy
Tel: +44(0)1904 452791
Mobile: +44(0)7800 690963

Notes to editors:

About Aviva
Aviva is the world’s fifth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009.

We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe.

Aviva’s life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 9.8%** and a leading position in its key markets of savings, protection and annuities

The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2008

**Source: ABI data released May 2010

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