One of the foremost concerns of today’s working parents or the would-be parents is day-care. Any day that two parents meet, be it in the park or at a party, the one question that appears between them is their daycare costs. Why is it that we are facing a dearth of good child care centers and why cannot a parent be satisfied or happy about the one they have even with so many of them around? With the daycare prices skyrocketing, it becomes even more imperative that we look into the specific requirements of a child care center and also the average daycare cost one should shell out to get the best for our kids.
As the recent statistics estimates, raising a child from birth till the age of seventeen can come up to nearly $ 233,610, which for an average middle-class household is expensive. And, not surprisingly, the major chunk of this cost lies in shelling out staggering sums to the daycare costs per week. Even with both parents working, which is true in most cases now, people still find it hard to make ends meet at times, with the increasing costs year after year.
This has made parents think twice before planning children. Instead of saving for the later years and college fees, parents understand there is a cost that needs to be tackled much earlier, and at a stage where they are not as financially comfortable as required. With the young parents struggling at the start of their career, and a much less salary to deal with, having a child comes at a highly expensive cost.
Not only are they forced to return to work to deal with the extra cost of having a child, but they also need to research on day care rates in their area to look for better and cheaper alternatives. And, since sitting at home for the mother or the father is not an option, it again narrows down to an expensive daycare that can provide the best possible care to their child.
Is it within your budget?
It is estimated that an average daycare cost per week in the US is around $ 195 – $ 242, depending upon the age of the child and the time limit in which they are in the daycare. This amount, which adds up to nearly $ 2000 per month, is quite exorbitant for parents at the beginning of their high-profile careers. It is estimated that more than half of the American families cannot afford this high-profile, highly priced daycare prices and look for other alternatives to tackle the problem in hand.
When we look at the average daycare cost, it works out to be in similar lines or sometimes more than the annual tuition fees of a public college. And, even when the colleges offer good subsidies, student loans, and scholarships, there is no such respite for the new parents who are ready to set on a different journey towards managing the little one and tackling with their careers. This scenario looks to be too depressing to many who want to start a family but cannot do so fearing the cost to be incurred, despite their biological clocks ticking.
Each State again has a different set of facilities, alternating rules and of course, distinct rates when it comes to child care centers. So, for instance, if you are in Alabama, you need to pay close to $ 4, 871 – $ 5, 630 for daycare per year, you need to shell out a whopping $ 11. 700 – $ 14, 144, if you are located in New York. The same thing applies to California too, where a child care would cost about $ 8, 230 – $ 11, 817 annually. Massachusetts remains high at $ 16, 549 for an infant care.
The average costs and other additional ones incurred might differ depending upon the facilities provided or time the child spends in a daycare. However, what is worrying is for the parents who have more than one child to be placed in the daycare. The cost simply doubles or triples, making the parents sit and think twice about increasing their family further.
Why is childcare expensive?
Looking at the varying childcare costs in different States, and even within the same State sometimes, one wonders at the reason for such high daycare rates per se. Why the cost of daycare is then too high and sometimes becomes unaffordable to the parents? What makes daycare costs skyrocket beyond the levels of imagination every year?
According to the experts, where the technology has made jobs easier, it has not done do in child care. For example, the introduction of new machinery in a burger factory or bringing on the internet for ticket bookings and other traditional clerical works has helped the said fields. In child care, however, it is still a hands-on job for the caretakers and in-house nannies.
From changing the nappies at the right time to checking a baby for any disturbances or even putting them to sleep, it is a manual job altogether and requires a high level of expertise. There is also a need for large space for the toddlers and bigger kids to expand their horizon or other utilities and facilities such as toys, sandboxes and other essentials to engage the kids. The maintenance of these facilities, food provided, and also the background checks conducted on the staff, everything works out to be quite costly for the daycare centers.
As a result, the parents need to shell out more if they need the facilities to be spick and span for their children to remain in a safe and secure environment. This again translates into having to shell out more for the day care centers, if you need that kind of facility where your child will be comfortable- a home away from home.
And, as for the child care centers, with the acquisition of staff, renting out bigger facilities, teachers for elder kids and even catering and food cost increasing, there is no way that they can reduce on the cost. This is what makes child care expensive, despite help from every quarter possible to assist the younger parents in their endeavor towards building their family.
What is the alternative?
Is there an alternative for this? A working mother, or a father, for that matter, need to think about giving equal attention to both the growing career needs and the child. IN such circumstances, working from home is not an alternative either, since although the trend has set in, thanks to the technology, it still does not have attractive options. With the increasing cost, there is no alternative, but for both parents to go out of their homes to work.
Although the Federal government had tried to intervene in this matter, there was not much that they could do in alleviating the problem. Hence, it narrows down to either one of the parents leaving their work to take a sabbatical for a few years till the child can be put into an after-school care. Secondly, taking a work from home job which gives them enough opportunities to earn and at the same time, save the child care costs.
The irony here, however, is not completely lost. You think about saving a child care cost, but at the same time, losing a few prime years in making do with work from home opportunities or simply nothing to show up on the CV. The whole scenario is extremely disappointing, to the extent that people think not just twice, but multiple times about starting up a family.
Another alternative is hiring a nanny to replace the cost incurred in daycare facilities per week. A Nanny or an in-house babysitter can cost between $ 14.68 an hour to $ 21.02 depending upon their experience. When calculated annually, and with a minimum of eight hours per day, the cost is almost similar or more than the daycare rates.
Again, one needs to consider the fact that the nanny market is extremely competitive, and also comes with additional responsibilities. The families need to pay the social security and other taxes, although the amount is split between the employee and the employer.
Thus, it again narrows down to having to consider the daycare centers for options. Even though there are many companies which offer affordable and subsidized daycare facilities for their employees, not everyone is so lucky to get one within their budget.
Also, when it comes to daycare centers, it is not just the budget that we need to think about, but a whole lot of other essential and feasible options. With both parents working, and both traveling for work, there is a need for a day care center which is nearer to their home or office, whichever is feasible. The options, therefore, narrows down to ‘Day care centers near me’, rather than any child care centers within the city. Sometimes, working out on all these mundane, yet very much essential matters escalates the daycare prices further, making them all the costlier.
Do we see a little light at the end of the tunnel?
The way daycare operates, or the considerations that a new parent looks for when checking out child care centers, are not going to change. Parents are going to check out the best child care possible, with all facilities to make their children comfortable. And, at the same time, the childcare centers will look at the possible facilities to be provided to make their centers one of the sought-after in the neighborhood.
So, this is a no-win situation, where parents looking for higher facility centers and best utilities for their children will have to pay more since the daycare centers need to hike up their value with professional and high—end stuff. All in all, the cost of daycare will have to be borne by the parents, until and unless the State comes into rescue and offers some kind of compensation such as the healthcare.
Since that is unlikely to happen, anytime soon, the parents can think about the silver lining in the cloud- the limited time frame required for the child care facilities. From infant to toddler years, and higher, the cost incurred for daycare centers will considerably decrease, and reach to a point where the daycare is no longer required. And, there is a lot of time before the child reaches the college stage where we need to again dig into our resources to provide for the child.
Hence, till that time, think it as a book that as a parent, you can get the best of both worlds- a family to enjoy and a job to bring home a good salary at the end of the week.