7 Ways to Reduce Expensive Summer Child-Care Costs
| Photographs By Weedezign
For working parents, child care is anything but optional. Unfortunately, the cost of child care has risen exponentially over the years, to the point where many parents might begin to question whether or not they’d save money if they stayed home.
Even so, staying home isn’t a luxury everyone has.
During the school year, your child-care costs may go down as children have less time with another child-care facility or babysitter. Come May, when school ends, and you’ll be forced to find a full-time day care or caretaker for your kids. This causes your child-care costs to significantly increase during the summer months.
While taking a leave may not be the answer, or even an option, there are ways to find great child-care options without spending a fortune. Before summer officially hits, take a look at these 7 ways to reduce expensive summer child-care costs.
1. Take Advantage of Day Camps or School
Instead of sending your kids to day care every day, seek out summer day camps for them to partake in. While you’ll still pay a cost, most camps usually ring in a lot cheaper than other child-care options.
Moreover, day camps are filled with fun and educational activities that’ll keep your kids entertained on their summer break. You can usually find great day camps at your local science, art, or children’s museums, or find them put on by local organizations and schools around your community.
If you’re looking for something even further on the educational side, another option is to enroll your kids in summer school. Again, you’ll have an inexpensive option and help keep their minds sharp during their break.
2. Go to Non-Profits
Many non-profit organizations like the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Club offer cheaper day-care and child-care options. In most cases, they’ll provide a day-care environment, or camp-like one for older kids, just at a lower cost.
In some cases, certain non-profits offer child-care options via volunteer programs. You’ll have a means of child care while your kids have the opportunity to volunteer for a variety of causes and organizations within the community and possibly receive school credit.
Furthermore, if you have a college or university nearby, you might find other options through Early Education programs. Students in such fields often need experience working with children and in day-care organizations before receiving their degrees, and it usually comes at a cheaper price.
3. Share a Nanny
The word nanny might make you see dollar signs; however, unlike years ago, nannies are no longer just a staple of the famous and rich.
Hiring someone outside of a day-care facility, like a nanny, can sometimes be more inexpensive. If you have kids in a full-time day-care program, you might want to consider opting for a nanny instead. Check sites like Nannies4Hire to find someone for your household.
That being said, if a full-time nanny still feels out of your budget, consider sharing one. Find other parents in need and split the cost of a nanny among all of you; in the end, you’ll pay of fraction of what you would for day care.
4. Ask About Work Flexibility
Staying at home full-time isn’t feasible for every family. Even so, there are other ways to accomplish this without quitting your job. Speak with your HR department about the flexible options.
Depending on your job, you might be able to work from home a couple of days a week or switch to more flexible hours. Of course, if that’s not an option, you or your spouse could consider each swapping and using some of your vacation days to stay home for at least a short period over the summer. While it might not seem like much, any time you can save on child-care costs is good.
5. Swap Days with Other Parents
If your budget’s really tight, sometimes, even short stints at home still aren’t enough to save on child-care costs. Instead of taking a ton of time at home yourself, ask around your neighborhood or friends for others who might have the option of flexible hours.
Find two or three friends who’d be willing to babysit a couple of days a week, make a schedule, and take turns babysitting each other’s children. By rotating homes, you won’t have to take excess time off work or work too much at home and will save a lot on day care.
6. Ask a Relative
Although this may not be an option if you don’t have family nearby, seeking the help of family can be a great way to save on child care and ensure your children stay with someone they love and trust. Whether there’s a grandparent nearby, an aunt or uncle, or even an older cousin, relatives are usually willing to help and will create great family time for your kids.
That being said, while they might not accept it, you should still offer some form of payment for their help. And even if they do accept compensation, you’ll still pay a lot less than if you’d put your kids with an outside day care or babysitter.
7. Utilize Your Skills
While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, bartering some of your skills for a discount could be a surefire way to save money on child care. Ask around at different day cares, camps, or facilities and see what kind of help they might need.
Whether they’re in need of office work or part-time assistance, or need more specialized help like marketing, fundraising, or accounting, see if there’s a skill you could provide in exchange for lower rates; you might be surprised what skills of yours they could use.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunate as it is, summer child-care costs only seem to rise by the day. During the school year, the cost of care is likely lower; however, come summer, you’ll have to invest in full-time care. While child care isn’t something you want to scrimp on, you can still find and explore an array of options to help save you money. Before summer hits, review some of the child-care possibilities available to you and set yourself up to keep your budget in check for your kids’ summer break.
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