The first lesson from Parenting 101 is that having a child is expensive! Over the decades, the cost of raising a child has risen steadily. Your grandmother will be surprised to hear how much you spend on your child, and no, these are not all unnecessary luxuries as most seniors seem to think. While inflation has a major role to play in increasing child care costs (like all other costs, in general), that’s not all.
Families are struggling to support themselves and their children under the burden of all expenses. Another thing that has changed in recent decades is that more women are focusing on their careers, compared to their ancestors who would view raising children as their main goal in life. But for some working mothers, it is not just a matter of advancing a career, as most simply cannot afford to live on one income.
In any case, it means they have to invest a lot of money in services like daycare or finding a nanny. Even these are not available 24/7, so it’s not like there is a single solution for child care. Of course, parents always want the best for their children, but there are ways to keep costs down while ensuring that your precious little ones have the best facilities and the best caregivers.
Hiring a nanny / au pair or placing the child in a crèche / daycare is the most common solution for child care when parents are working. Choosing the best option will depend on family to family. Although factors such as the interest and personality of the child in particular as well as the reliability and reliability of the facilities available are the main selection criteria, your budget is also an important factor to consider.
If you’ve considered all the pros and cons of daycare and are satisfied with it by all means, go for it. Or if you can afford it, you can get a nanny or au pair who lives with you full time. But if you’re looking for a more economical option, consider sharing a nanny with a trusted friend or neighbor. This will save you a ton of money in the long run, and your child can socialize with other children his age!
2. Childcare circle
Many communities have child care circles or child care cooperatives where participating parents exchange child care hours with each other. They take turns throughout the week and are paid in time without children! Each time you babysit, the number of hours you have credited to your account. When someone else does the same for your children, this is deducted. It can even make your life easier when you have children because they can play together and socialize.
If your community does not have a child care cooperative, you can be the first to create one! If you joined a new group of moms when your baby was born, you may already know several moms with children of similar age that you have come to know well. You can start by doing some group activities with mothers and children so that everyone involved is comfortable with each other.
3. Flexible working possibilities
In today’s work environment, there are more jobs than ever before that lend themselves to homework opportunities. Flexible working hours, part-time jobs, freelancers, remote working, etc. are all becoming more and more popular. Consider changing jobs or talking to your boss so you can work from home at least part of the time. Or you can consider taking a night job so that your spouse can be at home when you are not. This way, you will only have to pay for child care on days when you are not at home with the children.
4. Government child care concessions
Many countries around the world are making an effort to make the parent’s job easier, so if you live in one of them, make use of it! In fact, you may not even know all the concessions your government is making to parents, so find out first.
For example, Tax-Free Childcare is a program in the UK where the government contributes part of a family’s child care expenses. In the United States, the Child and Dependent Care Credit is a tax deduction available for those paying child care expenses. Sweden offers paid parental leave and tax-subsidized childcare, as well as a child allowance and even a large family allowance for families with more than 2 children.
5. Free or inexpensive activities
Children today seem to need loads and loads of activities, from sports camps to piano lessons. Unfortunately, all of this can be quite costly, especially during the summer or winter holidays when school-aged children are bored and have to be kept busy.
Unless you send them to your grandmother for a few days, you can try to find cheaper activities that are both fun and educational. Spend time in places that cost you very little or nothing, like the beach, the park, or a library during the storytelling. Children can even relax in places like the museum or the fire station (most will show you around), which can be fun and educational. Volunteer work or community cleanup days can also teach them loads. Another good way to cut costs is to get together with your parent community to organize events for your children. You can do movie nights, sports days, treasure hunts, art contests, etc.
6. Ask for help
While we realize that this may not be a viable option for everyone, especially those without family, it is still something that is available to many. You may even consider asking close friends who are already spending time with your children. Even if you think your parents or siblings won’t like taking care of your children, it wouldn’t hurt to ask, would it? You might be surprised how willing they are, especially the child’s grandparents. After all, they say it takes a village to raise a child.
Getting away from you can help your child bond with grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. while they are spending time alone. Just be aware that this may not be a full-time solution or that they can expect you to compensate for the expenses they incur on behalf of your children.
This may sound like a pretty drastic solution, but there are several areas (even in your own city) where child care costs such as child care and even the cost of living in general are lower than others. This can help reduce your overall expenses as a family. Or you may want to consider getting in touch with family members who are willing to help you for free.