How to find safe and affordable childcare: 5 Helpful tips for parents.
Parents are facing a crisis in the United States: Many people cannot afford the outrageous costs of childcare. A report by NPR found that average American parents are “sweating and hustling” to pay for the childcare they rely on while at work. Most families spend a bulk of what they make on childcare. In 11 states — including Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington — as well as the District of Columbia, the average cost of full-time daycare is more than 90 percent of the average household rent. With costs averaging over $10,000 annually, some dual-income households have found it’s worth it to have one parent stay at home and give up their second income, or for that one at-home parent to work from home with kids in tow.
However, for many families, having a stay-at-home parent is not a feasible option. For these parents, the need for safe and affordable childcare is paramount. Competent childcare leads to happy, healthy, and safe children who grow up to make good choices, including eating a healthy diet and avoiding the temptation of drugs or alcohol. These five tips from BusinessPop.net are for parents looking for the best childcare possible for a reasonable price.
Tip 1: Check Local Resources
Costs of childcare vary from city to city — that also means the cheapest childcare where you live may not be the same as it is where your out-of-town friends or family are. Compare the prices of private programs to what your city government provides. These programs usually offer both before and after school care for a reasonable cost because their services are supplemented by local taxes. They may also provide additional services and perks such as the occasional field trip, holiday celebrations, and parents’ nights out.
Keep in mind that child custody may factor into childcare plans. If you are a divorcee, carefully reread the custody agreement and consult with your attorney if needed. The last thing you want is to have a battle on your hands concerning who makes the decision on the childcare arrangements and who may drop them off and pick them up, and when.
It may be that the ex or a relative is now available to care for the child. And as long as your order doesn’t prohibit it, you can make agreements outside of the original child custody order parenting plan. You can have an attorney help you file this new agreement properly if you want. In some states it is called a Rule 11. It does not require that you file a modification, so you don’t have to worry about opening up expensive and broad discretionary court processes as long as you keep it simple, and the other parent is in agreement. You could also just make a verbal agreement. Keep in mind that the only thing enforceable is the signed orders.
Just because the other parent or a relative is available doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have criteria for what you are wanting for childcare. If the person isn’t going to provide your child with the diet, stimulation, routines, and support a positive parent-child relationship, you might decide that’s not the best for your child and not what you want.
Tip 2: Talk to Other Parents
Word-of-mouth referrals from other parents are priceless. You can end up saving both your time and money learning from other parents’ experiences. Talk about your concerns and experiences with other parents you meet on the playground, at your child’s school, and wherever else you may meet them. Keep an open mind to the solutions they present, but in the end, you have to trust your gut about whether something is the right option for your child.
Tip 3: Double-Check Daycare Providers’ Credentials
If you have found an affordable childcare option, that doesn’t mean your work is done. Day-cares and after-school programs all need state licenses to operate. While a place may state they are certified, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Double-check the daycare registry you can find through the social services website for your state to make sure.
Tip 4: Check out the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Places of Worship
When you find childcare through your local YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or a house of worship, you get the benefit of working with institutions people trust. These places are also known to work with low-income families to find solutions that benefit the whole family. However, just because an organization is well-known doesn’t mean there aren’t problems at the lower levels. Always do a drop-in check to see how the staff interacts with children, and make sure you see it as a safe and accommodating environment for your child.
Tip 5: Consider In-Home Care
Many parents find that in-home childcare providers are more willing to work with them on prices and schedule flexibility, which is very helpful for single parents or those with unpredictable work schedules. An in-house daycare provider should still have a proper license and insurance for watching children in their house — double-check their credentials and perform a drop-in check just as you would with any other childcare provider.
Finding the best childcare is important, but the rising costs have many families in a bind. Look for an affordable option in your area, including those provided by the local government, the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, and your place of worship. Finally, always double-check credentials and licensing and do drop-in visits to see how the staff interacts with children.
If you are going through a child custody suit and are being told that you are going to have to spend thousands of dollars and prove you are the better parent, and you want a better way with less expense, FixFamilyCourts.com can help you. Reach out today.
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