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Name, hospital, nursery colors, delivery method, vaccinations, vitamins, cord banking, siblings… The list of decisions around having a baby is endless. It’s no wonder they say you’ll never be fully ready! Of the myriad of decisions, perhaps one of the most financially significant is whether one parent will stay home (on a full or part-time basis) and what type of child care will make the most sense. This is a personal decision and not one that we would try to make for you. Instead, since the cost of child care is a primary factor for many parents-to-be, we thought we would provide a roundup of the three most common options and related costs for your consideration.
Nanny: $17-$20 per hour (at least $680 weekly or $35,360 annually if full-time) If you prefer to have your child stay at home for care, consider hiring a nanny. A trusted friend might provide a recommendation or agencies such as Care.com, 4nannies.com, enannysource.com can also do a great job of running background checks, checking past experience and obtaining referrals. Interview multiple candidates and trust your instincts. Mom Tip: If you hire a nanny randomly, check in and don’t be afraid to consider a nanny cam. It’s your baby and your rules.
Day Care: $9-$11 per hour (at least $360 weekly or $18,720 annually if full-time) Day care is typically less expensive than a nanny and may provide for a more structured environment: established school routines, reliable hours (no need to take off work for a sick nanny) and more public monitoring of care. Many parents also like exposing their child to group learning activities and a more social environment. Mom Tip: Look for a day care close to home or work even if it costs a bit more. Convenience and family time are priceless.
Au Pair: $8-$10 per hour (at least $320 weekly or $16,640 annually if full-time) An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. The key take away here is “live-in.” Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family’s responsibility for child care as well as some housework in exchange for a monetary allowance. An au pair tends to be the most flexible of child care options and can work well for parents with unpredictable schedules. Of course, you’ll need to be open to an added roommate and have an extra room for privacy. You can get more information at sites such as culturalcareaupair.com or aupaircare.com. Mom Tip: If you expect that your au pair will be driving your car, be sure to add him or her as an insured driver on your auto policy.