Parents may be unable to return to work or could even stop their children going back to school amid uncertainty over childcare, a nursery has claimed.
While schools gear up to welcome back pupils, many breakfast and after-school clubs are unable to fully reopen.
Companies providing care said they were still unsure when services could fully resume – leaving parents in the dark.
The Welsh Government said it expected more childcare places to become available as schools reopen.
For those parents unable to drop off and collect their children at school-time, clubs before and after classes are essential.
However some companies that provide services such as “wraparound” care – looking after children both before and after school – are unable to fully reopen due to coronavirus restrictions.
When schools closed in March, childcare providers could only offer services to children of key workers.
Services have slowly increased but restrictions have had “a massive impact” on those businesses, said Claire Bailyes, of Little Inspirations in Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The company has seven locations across south-east Wales and said navigating the guidance, often at “short notice” and “not clear at times”, had been difficult.
“Normally we would have school collections, breakfast club and after-school club”, said Ms Bailyes.
“However with everything going on it’s very limited, so it’s had a big impact on the nurseries and it’s been very short notice to let parents know.”
With many grandparents self-isolating, the lack of care is affecting parents’ ability to return to work.
“There’s been a lot of disappointment for parents. Some are not able to go back to work as they have to stay home with the children,” she added.
“Some have even considered not sending their children to school as they’re not going to be able to take and collect them.
“The staggered pick up times are just so awkward and many grandparents are not there because they are isolating or shielding.”
One parent facing uncertainty at how either he or his wife, who is a teacher, can drop off and collect their two sons is Owain Rogers, from Cardiff.
“That service is essential for us because we don’t have a support network to pick up the kids at three o’clock,” he said.
“We really depend on the after-school club to be able to go back to work because neither my wife or I have the flexibility to leave early.
“It’s really hard to know what provision we can put in place. We’re going to have to rely on friends, but then we feel a burden, and other families are in the same predicament – worrying about what’s happening.
“I don’t know why these clubs can’t open as usual. Schools are open and people need to go back to work.”
The Welsh Government said almost 70% of childcare settings in Wales were now open, with more expected to resume services as schools reopen.
“We understand there may be some variations in service at the start of the autumn term as schools and childcare providers get used to the new ways of operating and we are working with local authorities to ensure childcare is available to families,” it said.
“We also recently announced £4m in funding to support the childcare sector to ensure more providers re-open as schools return in September.”
It added that school-run breakfast clubs were under a “legal duty” to resume at the start of the new term.
A spokesman said: “We would expect that as primary schools open, [school-run] breakfast clubs should operate as normal unless it would be unreasonable for them to do so.”