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Tending to Baby: Cost of Childcare

The cost of childcare can be astounding for new parents especially if they live in a metropolitan area. While hanging out at a San Francisco park with my kids, a nanny said she gets paid $24 an hour for her single charge. And, this is in a working class neighborhood.

Then, a friend employed by a corporation known for having progressive family policies told me it would cost her $1700 (the reduced rate) to place her infant in the office's on-site daycare.

While these numbers may seem shocking, it's not likely that they will take a plunge anytime soon based on a working mothers need to find quality child care.

A recent MSN article about the expense said:

"Forget about the angst and expense of finding shelter that is safe and warm for your new arrival. I'm talking about the sticker shock of handing over a significant chunk of your paycheck every month just so you are free to work."

To finish the post,


Many families are having to delay purchasing homes in order to make ends meet during their childcare crunch — the years prior to a child enrolling in kindergarten. And, this is in the middle class where even dual income families struggle. It said:

"Warren believes the two-income family is stretched, too, however. Child-care costs are rising at twice the rate of inflation, she says. After paying the mortgage, health insurance premiums, transportation costs and child-care fees, today's two-income families have less money left over than the one-income family did a generation ago."

Has your family been affected by the cost of childcare?


Join The Conversation
Malachis-Mom Malachis-Mom 9 years
I live in Sacramento, CA and we pay $560 per month for full-time daycare in a licensed home daycare. My husband was a stay at home dad for the first 16 months, but we just had to have the additional income. Daycare centers here cost between $900-$1700 per month so we were forced to choose the home daycare. If my mother were alive & in good health, I'm sure she would offer to watch our son. My mother-in-law is in too poor of health to help out, so we just do what we have to. The problem is that you never really know what goes on once you drop your child off, luckily my son will be 3 in July and he is really a good communicator. And I do think if your child is getting quality care, the provider should be adequately paid. After all, there is no one more important.
Lolafox Lolafox 9 years
I live in SF. I've had 4 different childcare situations in the past year. Nannyshares for $16-$20 for two children...a family daycare for $1950 a month and currently we are paying $1500 for a daycare center. $24 hr for one child seems like the previous poster said, inflated. Nannies talk. The only reason we all pay that much is because the Nannies are making the call. If everyone stuck to thier guns and only offered $16..we'd be better off. But once a upper class family agrees to $20+/hr, we all suffer.
cbgmick cbgmick 9 years
Quality childcare is costly. I want my childcare provider to provide staff with a decent wage, health insurance, paid time off, ongoing training etc. so that turn over is less and the quality of staff is high. That being said, though, it is a really tough balancing act on the financial front!!!
LizL LizL 9 years
It absolutely affects me. I am due with my first Child in August, and I am probably going to be a SAHM because it's not really worth it to us. A friend of mine read an article (I wish I could find it) that said the SECONDARY income had to be over $70k to be worth putting your child in daycare.
Moms Moms 9 years
babysugar and I were talking and she said $16-20 an hour for nannying one child is about normal range in SF.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
Erthed, I didn't ask at husband, son and I had to stay with my Mom after an emergency move from NJ, so after that we literally had nothing. I went over our budget with my mother and she offered. She offered to either help us out with my son's daycare or my college classes. I will eternally be grateful to her for helping us out this way, for everything she has done...and since the husband has gotten a raise, we will be taking over the childcare costs from now on.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
The friggin YMCA charges $80 bucks a week for after care.
erthed erthed 9 years
Masqueraded_Angel, How do you ask a grandparent to pay for that? Do you just hope they offer? My sister is going to have to do something if she follows through with insisting that she will not be a SAHM. But how do you do that?
erthed erthed 9 years
I was paying $1650/mo for 3 kids and thought it was a lot. However, now that one is in kindergarten I'm only paying $35/wk LESS for him to be at the sitters. Even before/after school care is expensive! However, I guess it doesn't compare to San Fran! Having kids in daycare takes a huge portion of your paycheck. When do you know when it's too much and that you should just stay home with the kids? Is it worth it to pay the sitter to watch your kids full-time and only (after taxes) end up bringing home $5k after paying her $20k to watch your child? I'm not so sure with gas prices (in our world of long commutes) that it's worth it, but it is $5k more per year than you would have if you were a SAHM. My sister is running into this situation now and while she insists she didn't get her master's degree to be a SAHM, she didn't necessarily plan 2 of her 3 pregnancies so what does that tell you?
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
My mother is gracious enough to pay my son's daycare fee for the time being....$530 a month here in Dublin, CA. Even with the budget that my husband and I have, there's no way for us to pay that kind of fee. I feel horrible that she has to help us out like that, but my son starts kindergarten in the meantime, my husband and I have vowed to at least try to pay the daycare fee for now, and then pay for his after school care once he starts kindergarten. Sounds like a plan, right? lol
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I've been comparing daycares/nannies lately for when I return to work again in June, and unless those numbers are very specific to one area, they're HUGELY inflated. The wording of "so you're free to work" really rubs me the wrong way, too, jennifer76.
chicchick chicchick 9 years
A nanny is out of the question for us but daycare takes a chunk from us each week. It's hard to plan for Baby #2 when you consider the amount we'll be paying for child care.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 9 years
I think...I just think those nannies are "bragging" and "inflating" their salaries so when employers (mothers) try to negotiate, the rate wouldn't be that as low and still on the level of average rate. I have a friend who runs a domestic help agency in New York City and the usual rates she charges for nannies are between $10 to $22 per hour, based or depending upon the nanny's experience, scope or responsibilities and references. That nanny's claim is too far-fetched unless she works for a high-class millionaire and has proven many years of experience.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
holy crap! $2000 for day care, is that per child?! I never knew how much child care can cost! I work at night so that I can stay home w/ the kids, so I guess I am lucky. but really..YIKES! that's a lot of money.
ashleylynne ashleylynne 9 years
My husband and I will be moving out of the Bay Area so that we can have kids. $1700/month is super cheap for daycare here (that company must subsized it). Usually you're looking at closer to $2000/month for decent childcare. A number of women are doing nanny-shares (still expensive) and some will even put their kids into daycares run out of people's houses that aren't officially licensed. I don't know what the situation is in other metropolitan areas, but here you have to put your kid on the waiting list for the daycare of your choice the moment that you know you're pregnant.
abqmama abqmama 9 years
Like a previous poster, my parents and mother-in-law live close by and would watch my son while we were working. We worked graveyard so he would just spend the night and it was ok. Now that I have 3 kids I am a SAHM but I would like to go back to work someday.I don't think it will be worth it with the cost of childcare for 3 children, I would barely be bringing home any money.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
"I'm talking about the sticker shock of handing over a significant chunk of your paycheck every month just so you are free to work." :O Eek! Shouldn't that be, handing over a significant chunk of your paycheck every month to ensure your children get the best possible care!?
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Luckily - we have our parents who are retired or not working to help us out. Two Grandmothers care for our Baby Girl approximately 10 hours a week (Not including any mom and dad night out help they give)each. So we thank then by doing little things - by picking up a grocery item they need or bringing them to dinner every few weeks. They won't take $$ from us.
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