Childcare is a necessity for a large number of working families and single parents. Fortunately, there are many options available to meet both the needs of the family and their budget. Each option comes with advantages and disadvantages. We will provide some basic information regarding each type, as well as some guidelines in regards to estimated cost.

Childcare Centers

These are larger facilities that care for infants through school age children. They offer a variety of program options. Some childcare centers even provide transportation to and from school. Most have early learning programs.

On average, full time care for one year for an infant or a child up to four years old can range from $5,000 per year to $16,000 per year. Before and after school care for one year for a school age child ranges from $2,000 per year to $12,000 per year.


  • Childcare centers are regulated by the government. Many states also have education and training requirements for teachers and caregivers.
  • A chance for early socialization and early learning.
  • Programs available to offset the cost of childcare.


  • High tuition
  • Limited availability. Centers are usually open on weekdays during daytime hours. Weekend, evening, and holiday care is not available.
  • Illness: Children who are ill cannot attend.

Family Childcare Home

A family childcare home is a smaller center located in a family home. Childcare homes are a less expensive option for most families, and usually do not have as many children.

On average, full time care for one year for an infant or a child up to four years old can range from $4,000 per year to $11,000 per year.


  • Lower tuition
  • A smaller setting with not as many children overall.
  • May have more flexibility in scheduling that larger daycare centers.


  • Not all Family Childcare Homes have are regulated by the state.
  • Location Considerations: Does the home have a pet your child may be allergic to? What space will the children be using?

Nanny, Au Pair, or Babysitter

A nanny is an individual hired to care for the child in your home. There are a variety of arrangements for this in regards to scheduling, hours, and cost depending on the needs of the family. Families may choose to hire a nanny on their own, or they may choose to use a service.

The average hourly rate ranges from $8 per hour to $20 per hour. The number of hours a nanny works can range from 20 hours per week to 60 hours per week.


  • Children get to know one caregiver.
  • Flexibility in regards to scheduling and hours.


  • References, background checks, tax forms, etc. are up to the parent, unless going through a service.
  • Parents may have to hire several nannies before finding the right person to care for their child, or an arrangement that suits both parties.

Family Members

An option many parents now consider is having a grandparent or other family member care for their child. This, of course, provides a degree of flexibility, and has the potential or little or minimal cost. Some family members agree to care for children for free, while others accept only a small fee.


  • The child is already familiar with the caregiver.
  • Minimal or no cost.
  • Shared goals and values.


  • Active children may prove difficult for elderly family members.
  • Lack of opportunities for early childhood education or social skills development.
  • Conflicts can arise in regards to parenting or discipline philosophies.

There are other choices for working parents to consider, such as working opposite schedules, one parent cutting back to part time work, or one parent staying home. The most important thing for parents to remember is that with all childcare options, the best thing to do is research all of the available choices, what they are able to spend, and carefully consider what type of care they want for their child. They may have to explore a few choices, before deciding which is best.


“Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report.” Our Nations Leading Voice For Child Care |. Ed. Lynette M. Fraga, PHD. Childcare Aware of America, Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.