You don’t have to be a parent to know that the cost of childcare is extremely high, and the cost of the best childcare services too steep for some families. Today, we take a closer, detailed look at the cost of childcare. Whether you have kids, planning to, or you haven’t thought about it fully, yet, here are some of the things you should know about the actual cost of childcare.
At a time where you might be living miles from your parents, grandparents are no quite the option when it comes to having someone watch the kids when you need to do something or even go to work.
In an analysis report published on the American Progress website, licensed and professional infant and toddler childcare is an unaffordable expense to most American families.
For example, the average cost of center-based childcare for infants and toddlers is $1,230/month, while the cost of family childcare at home is about $800 each month.
The analysis further revealed that families making state median income have to spend as much as 18% of the income on childcare for infants or 13% if they have a toddler. It was also revealed that there is no state in the US that offers center-based infant/ or even toddler childcare, that was affordable, going by the federal definition of affordable childcare.
Affordable childcare, according to the federal definition, would mean spending less than 7% of your annual income (household) on childcare. A review of twelve states revealed that the cost of childcare for an infant costs more than 20% of a state’s median income.
According to Amslee Institute’s President, one Elizabeth Malson, childcare is the second-largest expense for families. Therefore, parents are forced to find the best options that will not break the bank.
So, which options are parents left with? How do you find the best childcare service, even as you search for the most affordable option that offers good quality childcare services?
Most parents have daycare centers as their first option for childcare, although they don’t pan out well for everyone. Daycare centers are either commercial/ regulated or private-residence family childcare centers. The latter cost more than the former, but the common features include the fact that the daycare centers all feature a big number of staff, but even more kids to take care of.
Generally, daycare centers are affordable, and they offer kids more socializing opportunities while also enhancing their language skills and emotional intelligence. The catch is that kids may get sick easily, and they could also pick up negative behaviors from other children.
The other downside is the minimum age restriction and the fact that their schedules may not work too well for parents with non-traditional working hours.
The main advantage of the daycare centers is that they have professional/ certified early childhood educators.
Regarding the cost, daycare centers charge differently per state, and their costs may also vary depending on the services and the type of care they offer.
Hiring a nanny is by far the most expensive form of childcare since the nanny is a trained professional and also because they may have to live in with you, offering dedicated attention to the child(ren) at all times.
Nannies are professional caregivers and not miracle workers. Besides caring for kids, they are also responsible for meal preparation, supervision of the kids, and they also schedule school drops and pickups.
Nannies could also be tasked with offering support services and being present in kids’ activities like sports and playdates. In a nutshell, a nanny offers more than care as they often double as surrogate parents.
The average hourly cost of a nanny is $19.14 and $861.30 if they work for 45 hours in a week.
An au pair takes part in a year-long cultural exchange program during which they get situated with a host family that offers them accommodation and board, classes, and a weekly stipend. In exchange, the au pair offers childcare, and they may also be involved in the day-to-day household duties.
In most ways, the services offered by the au pair are like the ones offered by a nanny, but the host families spend less money. The minimum weekly stipend offered to an au pair in the United States is $195.75, and they are also given an education allowance.