If you’re anything like my family, you have bills to pay, childcare to pay for, vehicle payments, housing costs, and more money flowing from your wallet every month. For a lot of people, that’s A LOT of money. The same goes for us. We have our fair share of bills and we understand that’s the way the world works. But, I’m going to be honest with you, before we had kids, I never realized just how expensive it was to put your children into daycare. And the costs keep rising. It truly amazed me to learn about the costs. It’s one of the reasons that I decided not to look for a new job when Sophia was born. I had been laid off a month before she was born. And, it made the most sense for me to stay home, rather than spend a big chunk of that income on daycare. This isn’t something that’s unique to our family. I’ve read countless articles on the topic. Just yesterday I read this article on cnn.com. It shows how big a disparity in costs there are in different parts of the country, when it comes to daycare costs. But, it also shows that in many states, childcare costs for just one child can be more than college tuition.
“Child care costs continue to soar, with prices so high in some parts of the country that they exceed tuition at state colleges. Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.”
To combat the costs, many families decide that one of the parents is going to stay home with the children, rather than spend what can amount to half or two-thirds of a salary on daycare. Ever since Maddie was born, we’ve managed to keep her out of daycare and keep our costs at a minimum by utilizing family to watch her. But, there is only so long that we can continue to do that. Sophia has been going to daycare full-time since she was about a year old. We like the socialization aspects of daycare. It allows our kids to make friends and get used to a learning environment at the same time.
“Center-based infant care for one child was greater than median rent payments in nearly half of the states, while fees for two children (an infant and a four-year-old) exceeded rent in all 50 states. And in nearly two-thirds of the country, average child care costs were greater than yearly tuition and fees at a four-year public college.”
Obviously there are things we can do to cut costs in order to afford daycare full-time for both kids. And we can also get second jobs. Getting a second job to afford for someone else to watch my kids just seems so counterproductive to me. So, not only do I not get to spend time with them during the day while I’m working, but then I also get to spend even less time with them when not working that job, by working another job. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do whatever I need to do to provide for my children and my family. Lots of people sacrifice their time for their children’s education and well-being and I applaud them for it. It takes a lot to do it.
What is my point in all this? How much higher do childcare costs have to rise before parents are even be able to work and send their kids to daycare at all? At the rate costs are rising, that doesn’t seem too far off. Is a possible solution for more companies to offer on-site daycare for their employees? Include more coverages and benefits for their employees to help cover the costs? I don’t have an answer. If I did, I’d already be pursuing that option.