One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is finding quality childcare. If you plan on being a working parent, we would recommend thinking about childcare as early as your second trimester so that you have the time to make the appropriate decision for your family. There are many different kids of childcare for you (and your partner) to consider. Discover our quick rundown of childcare options: pros, cons, and costs—so that you can make an informed decision about what you want for the daytime care of your child.
A good daycare center can cost $380 to $1564 (or $972 on average) per month for babies and toddlers. On the plus side, daycare is more affordable than nanny care and is more reliable because they cannot call in sick. There are many licensed and regulated adults trained in early childhood education on site providing supervision and there are many children of varying age groups with which your child can socialize.
However, each caregiver is caring for more than one child. There are strict pickup and drop-off times, and they will be closed most holidays. Furthermore, not all daycares are equipped to care for infants, or may already be full. Children in daycare tend to be sick more often, and daycares will not care for sick children.
Home daycare can be a great alternative to a daycare center that provides a nurturing, homelike, atmosphere. It tends to run from $300-$1000 ($650 on average) a month for babies and toddlers, which is less expensive than a center. Home daycare’s tend to have smaller groups of children than daycare centers but still provide children of many ages for your child to socialize with. Plus, the pickup and drop-off times tend to be more flexible.
Cons: Caregivers may not have formal training in early childhood education and the licensing requirements are less strict. Most likely, they will be closed for holidays and vacations; although if you maintain a good relationship something may be able to be worked out. If the caregiver gets sick, there may not be an easy backup already in place. And children tend to get sick more often in any sort of group care.
Nannys are the most expensive childcare option, costing $2,167 to $3,033 a month.
Pros: A nanny can give your child personalized attention. You do not have to worry about pickup and drop-off times because a nanny would be more flexible. Most often, the nanny comes to your home and provides in home care so that your child gets to stay in familiar surroundings.
Cons: Nanny’s are the most expensive childcare option and they may not be licensed. Plus, there is a bunch of paperwork and taxes that you would need to deal with to ensure you have hired your nanny legally. Also, if your nanny is flaky, sick, or is for some other reason unavailable, you may have to scramble for last-minute care. Finally, arrangements would have to be made by you and/or the nanny to allow your child to socialize with other children, so this may be the more lonely option.