The first type of child care program that we’ll highlight here is daycare. Some daycares will allow children and families to start as early as six weeks, but you may want to wait until your baby has had their shots or has physically developed a bit more before sending them to daycare, according to We Have Kids. Many moms will send their babies to daycare when they go back to work after 12 weeks of leave from their full-time jobs. It all depends on the parents’ schedule, income, and budget. Daycares are known to be beneficial for child development and overall health because children can get out in the world, meet other babies, and be stimulated throughout the day.
If you still want to feel connected to your baby while you’re at work, some daycares will provide you access to their in-house camera systems, allowing you to watch your child all day long. You can send your baby to daycare for only a few hours per day or for the full day. Many daycares are flexible with their pick up and drop off policies as long as the times are within a certain window.
Some daycares take place in daycare centers, while others are held in people’s homes. Both places will be run by licensed child care providers. To find a good quality daycare, look for one that has proper licensing and ask your friends and family for resource and referral recommendations. You can also research any citations that have been issued against a licensed facility through the Department of Social Services.
In California, daycare child care costs are around $1,000 a month on average, but depending on where you live, it can range from around $300 to $1,500 per month, according to VeryWell Family. Additional costs can add to your child care bill if you have to pay for supplies, nutritious meals, camera access, a later pick-up or earlier drop-off time, and laundry or diaper assessments.
If you feel like your child is too young to be in child care facilities, or you’re just more comfortable with them being with one specific child care provider, then consider hiring a nanny. You can hire a nanny who will live with you or one who will simply come to your home to provide child care. If it’s helpful, you can also find a nanny who will help you with chores around the home. Your nanny could take your child to different activities or classes around town, like Parent and Me, as well as go to places like the playground or a local museum during the day.
When finding a nanny, always make sure you run a background check, talk to their previous employers, and make sure they have a clean driving record. Instead of doing all the work yourself to check out your nanny, you can also go with a referral agency that’ll do all of that work for you. There are several eligibility requirements to be considered before hiring a nanny, hence the purpose of customer referral programs.
According to What to Expect, the average pay for a nanny is $19.14 per hour. It’s going to be more expensive if you ask your nanny to do chores, or if they have educational certifications in early childhood learning. There are websites you can find nannies on, like Care.com, or you can ask local parents for their recommendations.
Once your child is around two-and-a-half to three-years-old, you can put them in preschool. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, in preschool, children learn how to jump, throw, catch and run around, which helps their physical development. They’ll also be given the tools to make art or write if they’d like.
It is in preschool where they’ll also learn that adults are authority figures who should be respected, which will help considerably with their development when they get to elementary school. Children also discover how to interact with one another and socialize in these types of child care programs. At this school age, they will learn how to share and work together on teams.
Children also have the chance to do emotional development during their time in preschool. If one of their friends gets hurt, they will learn empathy in their early childhood. They will discover how to deal with their emotions if they’re sad or angry as well.
Some preschool programs will teach children how to start reading, which they usually learn in kindergarten. They may also learn basic writing, math, science, social studies, technology and art, giving them a big head start and expanding their minds at an early age. They could learn things like how the weather works, how to do basic adding and subtracting, and how to use different types of technology like an iPad.
When looking for a preschool, you may want to find one that puts a great emphasis on learning, and where the employees have degrees in early childhood education. You could also find a language immersion preschool, where teachers speak English and another language like Spanish, or one that’s Montessori-focused.
According to BabyCenter, preschool costs are around $4,460 to $13,158 per year depending upon the city you live in. It may be cheaper if parents form a cooperative and run the preschool together. You would have to pitch in, but it could be worth it if you have a tight income and have the time to volunteer.
Before- and After-School Programs
Once your child is four to five-years-old, you can place them in kindergarten. The age varies depending on what state you live in. However, kindergarten may only go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so you’ll need to be aware of timing. In the case that you have no one else who could pick your child up from school, you have the option of enrolling your child in a before- or after-school assistance program that will care for your child during the odd hours.
In one of these types of child care programs, your child will get the opportunity to meet other children who may not go to school with them which can be a fun start to the beginning and end of their day. According to the YMCA, before and after-school programs give your child the opportunity to play inside and outdoors, learn new things, participate in games, get help with their homework, and have an early morning or late afternoon snack if they’re hungry. Allowing your children to get their energy out before coming home for the day can be a lifesaver for some parents, and can benefit any child's health in general.
According to CostHelper, some public schools may provide these programs for a fee of $100 to $500 per month. Private schools will charge an average of $300 to $800 per month. Or, your child could go to an outside agency like a for-profit child care assistance center, which could range anywhere from the low hundreds to more than $600 a month, depending on where you’re located.
Other Factors to Consider
It’s important to find a child care program that is going to be convenient for drop-offs and pick-ups. Look for a local child care that is near your home, and/or offers carpooling services with the other parents.
If your child has special dietary needs, that’ll also play into your decision. For instance, maybe you need to find a program that is nut-free or provides non-dairy nutritious meals for the children if they have lactose issues.
You’ll also need to take your child’s personality into account. If they get angry easily or have trouble socializing, you may have to hire a shadow to help out your child while they’re in their child care program. Maybe they’re introverted and don’t really love to socialize; you could hire a nanny or specialized child care provider if this is the case or teach your child the benefits of making friends. You could also look for an early childhood education program that is smaller, where your kid can make friends and not have trouble getting lost in the crowd. If they are easygoing and chatty, they are likely going to love going to a program every day.
Paying for Child Care
Child care is very expensive, and the costs are only going up due to inflation and the rising cost of living in cities across the United States. If you want to send your child to a high quality child care program but are in need of assistance, you don’t have to fret: We can provide you the financing you need. Your child will be in good hands while you’re back at work, which will give you peace of mind.
If you want to learn more about our child care financing options, make sure you take a few minutes to apply for a loan on our website or call us for more information at (833) 573-5626. We believe all children and families should have access to early education, as this is a benefit for any child's health and development.