Knowing where to locate affordable child care is one of the most difficult elements of being a working parent.
Child care for children under the age of five can be prohibitively expensive, but there are many reasonable options if you know where to search. Here are a few examples:
Many families choose to employ an au pair. In exchange for lodging and board, an au pair is a person from another country who comes to live with you and works by caring for your children and doing some housework. This is an excellent alternative if you want your children to be exposed to a different culture and potentially another language. It’s also ideal if you require flexible child care during the day.
Remember that when you engage an au pair, you must give them their room, as well as meals and, in some cases, school expenses. According to Culture Care, a long-standing au pair agency, au pairs cost an average of $385 per week (whereas a nanny can cost more than $500 per week). The cost of your amenities will vary based on how many you give. Will you, for example, pay for your au pair’s gym membership or iPhone? This will differ from one household to the next.
My husband and I debated hiring an au pair several times before settling on a part-time nanny. Although we were intrigued by the prospect of hosting an au pair, we had previously lived in small houses with only one bathroom. Therefore, we anticipated adding another adult to our household would be difficult. However, if we lived in a larger house, that would be an option worth considering again.
Day Cares Provided at Home
The overhead expenditures of daycares, such as owning or renting a structure, recruiting employees, managing supplies, and paying for utilities, are some of the reasons they can be so expensive. There is, however, another option: in-home daycare.
In-home daycares are exactly what they sound like: daycares that operate out of someone’s house. In-home day care frequently charges less because it does not have the high overhead of a commercial building. This is also a terrific option as a job for moms seeking a way to supplement their income (be sure to read up on the laws and licensure required to open one at your house).
In-home daycares can be found by asking friends and family members or looking online at sites such as Care.com. I’ve also seen many women advertise their in-home daycares on Facebook and other internet communities. I know of one in the next-door community to mine, and she primarily relies on word-of-mouth referrals from her neighbors. My neighbors adore it because they can stroll their children down the street to daycare before heading to work.