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Recently I was at an entrepreneurial get together and the organizer had just returned from maternity leave. She was beaming and obviously very happy with her new family addition however, she then told me she would not be able to return to full time employment due, to the cost of childcare.  A few days later I saw this article and thought of her conundrum immediately.

Full disclosure a family member owns a child care facility and I have some idea about the trials and tribulations involved with that operation. It’s not easy caring for someone else’s children, period. The risks and liability are huge. Think back to your first time leaving your youngster with a stranger. Remember the feeling and second thoughts in you head the whole time you were gone ? 

The cost of childcare literally can’t go down, without sacrificing some aspect of the service. As the rates to hire employees raises it puts another added pressure on the system. Good to great childcare facilities have a focused interest in not providing childcare but rather on providing a safe learning, stimulating and positive social experience for your child. This is a daunting task to say the least.

Consider the responsibility just to make certain all the children are safe and have a healthy environment. If your using accreditation as a criteria, there are two principal organizations. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)  or if they provide in home care, by the National Association for Family Child Care.  However, keep in mind that these accreditations will cost the facility and may not actually add any value to the care, as many unaccredited facilities already exceed these requirements. 

Speaking of which, what did you smell when you entered the home/facility. If they are using lots of scents it would suggest a limited interest or knowledge of the toxic effects of fragrances and maybe some cleaning issues.  

Shopping for a good fit for yourself and your family is a necessary part of childcare. Remember to ask lots of questions and don’t settle for less than a facility that makes you feel comfortable and confident. We all realize that you cannot always find  an ideal arrangement but keep your eyes and ears open for the best possible connection. 

As you go about evaluating your options keep the following in mind. This is not meant to be an inclusive list. Remember your needs are going to be different than everyone else’s. 

Take Aways:

Make a list of what’s essential for your family. This includes area’s of finances, flexibility, time considerations, exposures, etc.

There is no substitute for an in person visit, preferably when they are in session and not expecting you.

How did you feel when you left the visit ?…. trust your gut.  

Did you see good organization for communications, stimulation and education ?

Was the childcare facility safe in terms of good placement and access for toys to stairs ? 

Remember not to consider the cost, as the only factor. 

Are they licensed and what does their record reflect.

Do they meet the state regulations ?

Are the kids happy when you visited ?

How clean was the operation ? Did you look a bit more than superficially ?

What their staff turn over rate…. has the director been there for years ?

Can they accomodate your child’s dietary needs  and what’s their food options ?

Do they avoid toxic cleaning products and have a green initiative to minimize plastics and waste ?

If your child is ill or what happens if someone else shows up with an ill child, their policy is ?

Were they open to questions including the hard ones, such as the what if’s ?

Can you try them out without a contract ?

Want a longer list of questions ? See What to Expect ‘s list



And for the price of daycare see this article:

These maps show the average cost of Childcare in Each State

While prices vary across the country, one thing is true: it’s all too expensive.

By Ben Marx   April 10,2018, 5:30PM

As you undoubtedly know, the cost of raising kids in the U.S. is rising steadily. A significant part of that expense is due to increases in childcare costs. But how much are American parents spending to have their kids looked after? Business Broker Network, an online marketplace for businesses up for sale, put together a set of maps that shows the average cost of childcare in every state. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.

While there are large variations across state lines, on the whole, Americans are spending a huge portion of their income on childcare. The team behind the maps put the data together from a national survey of childcare providers, and the results are staggering. The highest cost, by far, is in Washington, DC, where parents are spending an average of $35,782 per year, or $2,982 per month. Massachusetts is the next most expensive state for childcare, where it costs an average of $29,426 annually, or $2,452 monthly. New York comes in third at $24,102 annually ($2,009 monthly). On the less expensive side of the spectrum is Mississippi, where parents put an average of $7,981 a year ($665 a month) towards childcare.

Business Broker Network also looked at each state’s childcare cost compared to its median income, as well as rent price for a two-bedroom apartment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers childcare affordable if no more than 10 percent of a family’s income is put towards it, but parents are ultimately spending much more, on average. Families in Washington, DC spend 26 percent of their annual income, Massachusetts spends 25, and Wisconsin spends 23. Even in states where the cost is comparatively low, parents still exceed what HHS deems affordable. For instance, families in Mississippi spend 12 percent, those in Louisiana spends 13 percent, and those in Alabama spends 14 percent.

They crunched the numbers on home-based childcare versus center-based childcare, too. The list below shows how much more expensive center-based childcare is than home-based care in each state. In Minnesota, center-based care is 71 percent more expensive than home-based; in Kentucky, where the least amount of difference lies between the two, the average cost is about the same for both ($12,452)


It should be said that this data is averaged and presented state-by-state, which means that costs can vary wildly in any given area (cities, naturally, are more expensive than suburbs) they also fluctuate based on the type of care parents are paying for. Full-time care in a name-brand establishment adds up to more than what a household with a stay-at-home parent would spend. Still, it ain’t cheap, and with childcare costs rising, the averages are worth considering for parents looking for cheaper areas to raise kids.