Raising children is a full-time job, which is a problem if you both already have day jobs.
That's why they call it day care. Mom can go back to work and — like Dad — come home to a night job.
Here’s the skinny on daycare, or child care, options, costs, tax benefits, and corporate offerings. There's lots of choice, but you'll pay dearly for quality.
Finding daycare for an infant is not like choosing a hair salon or a grocery store, says executive director of the Early Care and Education Consortium Eric Karolak. “The search can be overwhelming to new parents.”
This is due in part to the wide range of providers from which to choose. There are licensed childcare centers like KinderCare, YMCA and Easter Seals, family childcare in a home or a nanny or babysitter. There are also license-exempt centers run by religious institutions.
What are we looking for? What most of us want is a safe, stimulating environment for our child, and we try to make the best choice given the quality of the program, location, cost and how the staff makes you feel.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, Naccrra, the average cost of full-time childcare in 2009 ranged from more than $4,550 in Mississippi to more than $18,750 in Massachusetts.
For a four-year-old, those numbers fell to $4,050 and $13,150, respectively. In 40 states, the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college, and in every region of the U.S., more than the average annual amount that families spent on food.