When it comes to choosing a caregiver for your children, there are several important things to consider. To name just a few: Trust, flexibility, reliability, and, of course – cost. What you pay for childcare will depend on several factors, from location to on-duty hours. And because Cultural Care Au Pair wants parents to be as well-informed as possible, we’ve narrowed down the top 5 factors to help you make one of the most important decisions for your little ones.
Not only will the state you live in dramatically affect your childcare costs, but the region or city in which you reside will also have an effect. Stricter licensing regulations (governed individually by state) drive up prices of center-based and family daycare and a higher cost of living will increase both daycare and nanny costs. In addition, families in urban areas pay an average of 30% more annually for childcare than families in rural areas.12 The map below shows the average weekly cost of center-based daycare for an infant and a 4-year-old in all 50 states.12
2. Number of children & their ages
In most cases, the more children you have and the younger they are, the more you can expect to pay in childcare costs. Some daycare facilities offer a sibling rate (so be sure to ask!); others don’t. Nannies won’t charge you double for two children what they would for one, but they will definitely expect more pay for multiple children and for infants/toddlers versus school-aged children. An au pair’s cost is the same regardless of the number of children they take care of.
3. Number of hours needed
The number of hours of coverage you need will definitely impact your childcare costs as center-based and family daycare, as well as nannies, normally charge by the hour. (Keep in mind that many daycares charge a little less per hour the more hours you need.) One exception is the au pair program – hosting an au pair costs a fixed amount per week regardless of whether or not she works the full 45 hours allowed (as dictated by the U.S. Department of State).
4. Required duties
One of the benefits of hosting an au pair or hiring a nanny is that you can ask them to help out around the house. In the case of an au pair, it won’t cost you extra to have them help with household tasks related to the children (i.e., laundry, meal preparation, room pick-up). However, most nannies will charge more for completing similar chores around the house on a regular basis.
5. Required experience, special skills & training
If you require specialized experience, skills or training from your nanny, be prepared to pay for it. Nannies can charge more if they have an educational background in child development, child psychology or advanced childcare studies, a medical background in pediatrics, experience with multiples, experience with children with special needs or any other unique skill or experience. Again, with a Cultural Care au pair, you won’t pay more for candidates with special training or experience, and they all have a minimum of 200 hours of childcare experience and are American Heart Association-certified in adult and pediatric CPR/AED and First Aid.