The Cost of Childcare

The Cost of Childcare

The cost of childcare is an important factor in every family’s decision whether or not both parents will continue working after a new addition to the family.  The cost of childcare can vary hugely depending on where you live and the amount and type of care you need.  Daycare centers can be vastly more expensive in New York or Seattle versus Lincoln, Nebraska.  Childcare per year can range from $6,000 to $12,000 depending on your location.

For working parents the cost of childcare can cause more than one sleepless night.  For many it is an unavoidable expense especially if you don’t have family you can rely on that is close by who can help out.  The cost, like any other expense, goes up every year while your salary may not.  Here is a video outlining how this can be a struggle for every working family.

Babysitter Costs

Care.com did a survey back in 2014 to determine the average cost of a babysitter across the country.  What they found was that it was an average of about $13.50 per hour but where you lived dictated how much you paid.  There were differences of more than $6 per hour based on location.  The average rate had also increased roughly 5% over the previous year.

Experience played a big part in child care costs as well.  Bring an inexperienced teenager in to look after your children can be less than $10 per hour but an older child minder with experience charged closer to the national average.  In home care costs can also depend on the other chores you want the child minder to take on.  If you want housecleaning and child care done be prepared to pay more.

Daycare costs

For parents who need full time child care then enrolling your child in daycare or hiring a full time nanny is the easiest and most cost effective solution.  Like a babysitter the cost of a nanny will vary with location and the number of hours per week that you will need child care.  Daycare facilities are always a good option, there are standards that must be adhered to along with specific education and criminal background checks for the staff.

The average cost nationally for daycare is around $200 per week.  Daycare offers more options for lower income families, check with the city and state about subsidy options and whether you can qualify.  Don’t wait until the last minute, subsidized spots are highly sought after and often there may be a waiting list.

Choosing the right child care is an agonizing decision and financial considerations are a big part of it.  Talk with family and friends before hiring a child minder.  Daycare can be a wonderful experience for children where they become fully prepared for school.

Different Types of Childcare

Different Types of Childcare

Choosing the right child care when you decide to return to work is a scary decision.  Most parents already suffer more than their share of guilt about going back to work but if you have the right child care you can breathe a whole lot easier while you’re at work.  Childcare generally falls into three categories, there is childcare in your home, in a child care provider’s home or in a licensed facility.  The different types of childcare all have their advantages so look at the differences to see which one works for your family.

Daycare Facilities

Daycare centers are institutions that have some strict guidelines put down by the government that they must follow.  The rules and legislations cover everything from the ratio of staff to children to the nutritional content of the snacks they serve.  It may seem like an overwhelming amount of rules that daycare centers must follow but they’re there for the protection of the children.  In order for a daycare center to obtain and maintain their licenses they must adhere to these rules.  Regular inspections are also part of the process.  The license requirements will vary from state to state.  You can check with your state for their licensing requirements.

In addition to health and safety regulations daycares run some structured programs for your children.  These are age appropriate activities meant to develop cognitive and motor skills.  Daycare facilities also teach children some basic social skills such as sharing, socializing with other children and listening skills.  They work with your child to reach developmental milestones.  You can find daycares everywhere, in office buildings, churches, schools and commercial spaces.  Most of the time they operate between 6am to 6pm, so they are not ideal if you work shift work.

Care in the Provider’s Home

There are child care providers that provide a smaller version of a daycare center in their homes.  There are fewer children and the facility can be licensed or unlicensed, it generally depends on the number of children being looked after.  Most jurisdictions have a maximum number of children that can be looked after, and that includes the providers own children.  Home daycare licenses differ from larger commercial facilities, so again check with the right government agency for the guidelines.

Care in Your Home

When you have your children looked after in your own home means a babysitter or nanny.  Babysitters are often thought of as temporary, they come in when you’re going out for a short time and often work with more than one family.

On the other hand a nanny works for just your family and you can have on that lives in or lives outside of your home.  Hiring a nanny can be a better solution if you work shift work or odd hours.  Neither a babysitter nor a nanny offer structured programming but you have more control over the activities that your children participate in.  They are also not regulated like a daycare facility so you will have to work out with your nanny the type of care you want for your children.