Q:

What is the going rate for childcare?

A:

According to BabyCenter, as of 2014, center-based daycare costs about $11,666 annually, which is approximately $972 per month. Aside from center-based daycare, parents have other alternatives for childcare. These options include hiring a nanny, using an in-home daycare or having a parent or relative stay at home to watch the children.

BabyCenter reveals that nanny care costs about $500 to $700 per week, which equals approximately $2,167 to $3,033 per month. Parents should keep in mind they may want to offer health benefits, vacation, sick days or holidays to their nannies, since the nanny is an employee. Au pairs are a live-in type of nanny who are given a stipend along with room and board and may provide parents with cost savings if they have multiple children that need care. In addition to providing childcare, au pairs typically help out with light housework.

Home daycare costs about $7,761 annually, or approximately $646 per month, according to BabyCenter. This may be the most cost-effective option for parents seeking childcare services. However, not all home daycares provide children with learning curricula the way most centers do. It is critical for parents to evaluate what they are getting in return for their money rather than simply looking at the bottom-line cost if this type of education is important to them.

Aside from the type of childcare parents choose, many factors may influence their childcare costs, such as location, children's ages and whether the kids need part-time or full-time care. Infant care tends to be more expensive than toddler or preschool care.

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