Life & Family

Mom’s Guide to Childcare: Tips for Parents of Young Kids

Childcare is a major expense for many families with young children. Unless your child goes to school full-time, you’ll likely have to find an after-school program or other types of childcare as a parent. The high cost of childcare often means it’s the most expensive monthly bill many parents have.

If you are looking into your child care options, we have compiled all the information you need in one place! Check out this article and get informed on different types of child care, how much they cost, and what your local community has to offer.

You will also find helpful tips from real parents and advice from leading childcare experts. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of home daycare, institutional daycare, and nanny services and what to look for when choosing among these options.


What is child care?

Childcare is the term used to describe finding a place your child can go while you’re at work or otherwise engaged. Child care ranges from full-time daycare centers to after-school programs. You may need to take time to find the right care for your child and your family’s needs.

Types of childcare

Out-of-Home Child Care – Out-of-home child care is when your child is cared for away from your home. This could be in the home of a family member or friend, a nearby daycare, or an institutional setting like a school or a center. While this type of care may be more convenient for parents, it also comes with a higher price tag.

In-Home Child Care – In-home child care is when a caregiver comes to your home and looks after your child there. This could be a family member watching your child in exchange for a small financial payment, a neighbor doing the same, or a professional caregiver being paid a fee for services. This type of care is more affordable than child care that takes place away from your home, though there may be state or county regulations that further restrict its availability.

On-Site Child Care – On-site child care is when your child is being cared for at a nearby location, such as a nearby daycare center, a nearby school, or a nearby YMCA. This type of care is convenient for many parents, and it also helps give your child the opportunity to play with other children. On-site child care is often more expensive, however than other types of child care.

How much does childcare cost?

The cost of childcare varies widely depending on what type of facility or provider you choose. Many parents find their costs vary significantly yearly, especially if they’re looking for a new type of care or a new facility.

You can expect the cost of daycare to rise about 5% a year and more for in-home daycare. The price of daycare should be based on your child’s needs, and it can vary greatly depending on the type of child care you choose.

Additionally, you should consider your child’s age, your hours at work, and the type of care you choose. Full-time care starts at around $200 per child and goes up, while part-time care will be much less expensive.

What to look for in a childcare facility

– First and foremost, ensure your childcare facility has all the necessary licenses. There are many different types of licenses that a facility can have, but having them all is a good indicator of quality. If a facility does not have the proper licenses, it could present a danger to your child.

– The quality of a facility is also often reflected by its teacher-to-student ratio. In general, you want to find a facility with low teacher-to-student ratios. This will help ensure that your child gets plenty of personalized attention.

– The space of the facility is also something worth considering. You want a facility with plenty of space for your child to move around and explore and enough room for the other children to play and safely interact with each other.

Nanny services

Nanny services are provided by individuals who watch your child in their own home or yours. You decide the hours of service and the schedule. Nanny services are usually very affordable but also have some drawbacks, including less oversight and no set hours.

When choosing a nanny, ensure you get references and look into the person’s background to ensure they are the right fit for your family. If you’re worried about the cost of choosing a nanny service, remember that you might be able to write off a portion of the nanny’s salary as a work-related expense. Nannies are generally considered self-employed workers, and choosing one can be considered an expense for your business.

Institutional daycare

Institutional daycare is also known as daycare centers. Large companies often run these buildings and provide daycare services for many children at once. These daycare providers cost more than in-home daycare, though they also offer many advantages.

You’ll want to make sure you find a daycare center with a good reputation in your area if you choose this route. The advantages of choosing a daycare center over in-home daycare include lower costs, more options, a more extensive staff to help with your child’s needs, and a more diverse group of children to interact with.

On the other hand, daycare centers also have some drawbacks, such as less individual attention, less flexibility for your child’s schedule, and a less intimate feel than in-home daycare.

Home Daycare

Like in-home child care, home daycare is when a caregiver watches your child in his or her own home. Home daycare is usually less expensive than institutional daycare, though it may take more time to find a suitable home daycare provider.

Home daycare is often regulated at the state level, so you’ll want to check with your state’s child services department to ensure your chosen home daycare provider meets the necessary standards. The advantage of choosing home daycare over daycare centers is that it offers more flexibility for your child’s schedule. Still, it can also mean that your child gets less attention than in a larger facility. You may want to consider choosing home daycare for your child only if your work hours are pretty consistent and predictable or if your child is older and more independent.


Childcare is an essential expense for many families with young children. You should go over your options and make sure they fit your family’s needs before you make a decision that will affect your family financially.