Finding Affordable Childcare
Tips for Finding Affordable Childcare
Finding childcare can be a challenge. Finding affordable childcare can be even more challenging. Taking your time and doing some research should help you find a childcare option that meets your child's needs and your family's budget needs.
Start by trying to find childcare providers in your area. Often, in-home childcare providers cost less then center-based childcare providers, but this is not always the case. So try calling both types of providers and get a feel for the costs. Also take into consideration what the tuition includes. Most childcare tuition includes meals and snacks, but some also includes diapers and formula. A childcare that includes diapers and formula might be cheaper overall than a less expensive childcare that only supplies meals.
Consider options beyond childcare homes and centers. If there's a college or university close to you, try posting on their job board. You may be able to find a college student who is willing to watch your children and will charge less then an established childcare. Make sure you do your research and thoroughly investigate anybody you are going to leave in charge of your children.
If you have multiple children, or if you can partner with a friend or neighbor, nanny sharing might be an option. When you start paying for childcare for multiple children, it adds up quickly. Having a nanny watch your children in your home may actually prove to be cheaper then childcare outside the home. Plus, if you share the nanny with a friend, your costs could be even lower.
Also an option if you have multiple children, or if childcare costs are high in your area, is welcoming an au pair into your home. Au pairs often have higher up-front costs, because many agencies ask that you help cover the cost of the au pair's plane ticket. But Au Pairs offer a flexibility of care that few other options offer. They are able to work off hours and flex their schedule to meet your needs. They can also accompany you on family vacation. Au Pairs often become part of the family and help expose your children to another culture and language.
When choosing childcare, remember that the more expensive care doesn't always reflect the best care. Choose your childcare provider based on whether you feel completely comfortable leaving your child with that provider. A little creative thinking might help you find a childcare provider that you and your children love, and that wont break your budget.