How has the cost of child care affected the life of your family?

Full time child care for an infant is likely to cost more than $13,000 a year in Minnesota. That puts the state’s child-care costs among the highest in the nation. Today’s Question: How has the cost of child care affected the life of your family?

  • Gary F

    It’s been ten years, and it was expensive then too.

    My wife stayed home, we cut back on eating out, we tightened our belts, we had to make it work.

    It was a great choice. We found out the when we were both working we burned ourselves out mentally, physically, and economically.

    I know many moms and dads who now make the decision to stay home. Give it a try, it works.

  • Wade

    I don’t have kids, but a lot of my friends do. I can tell you that cost of child care has affected me greatly. I pay a lot of dollars in taxes each year that are given to the poor, including child tax credit and daycare assistance.

    If you can’t afford to pay for your kid, don’t have one. I didn’t have a kid cause I didn’t want to pay for one, what makes anyone think I want to pay for theirs.

  • Greg F

    We paid $22,000 last year for 2 kids in daycare. When we had a 3rd child we were up to $670 per week.

    For us, the cost of daycare was a major reason we waited until we were older to have kids. I can not imagine how parents in entry level positions could afford to pay those rates.

  • Maureen M.

    Our twins are five today and are at a New Horizon the second location we’ve been at for these five years. They have been at one since they were three months old. We have approximately nine months left of daycare before they start kindergarden. At the first one I remember the director joking to us that we were spending the most out of any family there for two infants. It was well over $20,000 a year. But a few years later there were a family of triplets. They of course are probably spending more than us.

    After six months of daycare full-time, I decided to take a job with less hours so I could stay home at least once a week. We have received excellent care at the New Horizon where we are and it’s worth it. It also gives me a break and allows me to have a career.

  • Joel

    My wife and I just had our first child. Combined, we make a decent amount of money. Our infant will begin an average cost daycare in January that will eat up 90% of one of my pay checks. Two thoughts: how do other working parents not as fortunate as we are afford this? I know I’m tempted to quit working and spend my days with my little girl – I would imagine the state govt would have an interest in keeping parents like me in the workforce by getting involved to drive this cost down.

  • Christine

    We want the best for our kids and are willing to pay for it. But in order to make the cost of daycare affordable we need to pile on worklife on the days they are in daycare — this means long days for the kids (8-10 hrs) and bringing them in when their health is questionable, but not enough that they have to be home.

  • Ellen

    I care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. I make $11.00/hour and hold these precious lives in my hands. Yes, it’s horribly expensive, but due to costs of state regulations, staffing requirements, safety concerns, building concerns, program costs, program goals, etc – not to mention the number one priority – daily care, safety, growth, and loving children – it’s a money-losing business that does not recognize or compensate care-workers enough. It’s a system in which I can’t support my own family on $11.00/hour and am constantly supplementing my income elsewhere. It’s also a system where the families that need it the most (low wage earners) can’t possibly afford w/out help. I’m tired of hearing how expensive it is for families w/out recognition of how the majority of money paid goes into regulations and wonderful, safe programs – but NOT to the workers.

  • My wife had worked for a daycare (it part of a major nationwide chain) for just over 10 years (with a ~6 month break after we were married) before we had our first child. She has a teaching license, and was on the upper end of the teacher pay scale in her daycare. When we became pregnant with our first child, we took a look at her salary versus what we’d have to pay for him to go to her daycare. It turned out that she would bring home around $100/mo.. which in our opinion was not worth it. We chose to have her stay home with our son, and love that we were able to do that; he gets a great education with mom, and goes to visit lots of friends, take classes at ECFE, and various other activities during the days. We’re actually glad that daycare was so expensive, as it allowed us to make a choice that will be great for our children’s future — they will be raised by their parents.

  • Bonnie

    I was a full time working momwho LOVED her job but when my third was born I turned to becoming a Daycare Mom. The cost of daycare for three kids took a little over half my income. Now as a daycare provider I make the a little less then half of what I made outside the home. In-home daycare families do not make that much when considering the wear on your home and the amount of time maintaining your own bussiness. Before I woked a 40hr week with a 1 hr drive to MPLS then1 hr back. Now I work 12 hr days which include 10 hours of being open with 2 hr a day preparing for the day which includes cooking cleaning and preparing a curriculum for the children in my care. That is not inluding the training time and maintaining our enviorment. This is the hardest job I have ever had. I will say the reward of staying home has beeen great. My children need to make the adjustment to sharing there home and mom everyday. That is not easy for them but it has also shown them to be better children and hopefully they will be better adult for it. The 13,000 figure for infant care isvery high by my standards but the center get much more for infant care then I. The way to cut cost for child care in doing a inhome but finding the perfect fit for your family is not easy. Paying for it is often the cost of staying home vs. working outside your home as a mom.

  • Tracy M.

    We are putting off buying a new/used car until our youngest goes to Kindergarten next fall, the payments will be affordable when he’s out of daycare.

  • Julie

    My daughter is a child care provider in a day care setting because she is passionate about nurturing children and creating the best possible environment for their development. She sees how difficult it is for families these days to create a nurturing family life. But It is really hard for me to see her struggle to scrape together with a barely livable income, pay off student loans, watch each penny at the grocery store. Life is shaped by the choices we make and the people we put in our lives to enrich them.

  • Kristi

    We are expecting our first child and have started seriously checking into possible daycare costs. We anticipated the cost going into it (which is probably why we waited a little longer to start a family). Some of the quotes we have received vary from $40-$120/day for an infant. With 1 child, this is do-able. With 2 children, this will become tight.

    We both have flexible jobs and will try to do 4 X 10 hr days & stagger our hours to try to decrease the cost of childcare. However, not all day cares offer part time infant care.

    We are also looking into the possibility of in home day care or hiring a nanny.

  • Michelle

    We decided to only have one child, at $1200/month for infant child care, it seemed unfair to have a second child and have to sacrafice so deeply just for daycare.

  • Lindsey

    I work full time during the day and my husband works part time at night so that we can avoid paying daycare for our infant. I only see my husband on the weekends but it allowed us to have our first child and still be able to pay the bills.

  • Katie

    In order to cut daycare costs, I quit my fulltime job to take a part time job. We are very lucky that my husband’s parents are able to take care of our daughter while I work and we do not have to pay for daycare anymore. I did this also in anticipation of trying to have a second child, knowing that we could not afford daycare for two children. I have several friends who have put off having a second child until their child is in school so they won’t have to pay for two kids in daycare.

  • MikeK

    At a COST of 20-25K for 2 children to be in daycare it means one person must earn 30-37K gross to to cover that expense. This does not include the cost of the extra car, car insurance, business expenses (clothes, etc). Once you factor those numbers in and then the psychological cost of having someone else raise your kids you have to ask “is it worth it?” It was NOT for us. I stayed home so my wife could pursue her career.

  • Marin

    Thanks to Twin boys, child care and the increase in cost of living, bankruptcy is around the corner for my family and I.

  • With two little girls, I stayed home and opened a home child care. It’s been great to be able to stay home and raise my children. It’s made me a better parent, and I believe my kids are better off for it.

    The figures being tossed around represent the difference between a home setting (usually cheaper) and a child care center (or as I refer to it … an institution). There are many quality affordable home settings that are cheaper and offer better care than centers if you look hard enough.

    What does it say about peoples values when they are making child rearing choices on the cost of child care?

  • When my second daughter was born, I quit a $60K+ per year job to stay home a watch her. When we did the math, it just made no sense to work 70 hours a week to pay out $13K for the baby and another $10K for the 8 year old, just to have someone else raise our children. Since then, I work part time at night, write all day, and have never been happier.

    Maybe something good comes from the cost being so high. Maybe people start to realize what really is more important in life. Is it going to work, or is it raising your kids?

  • Kathy H

    I remember the cost of daycare being a major outlay for us, but our home daycare provider was well worth it! She gave our two girls more than care, she took them and the other 8 kids on mini day outings, she had wonderful crafts each day along with school readiness activies and gave little rewards for good behavior. We were partners in raising our girls. Now, our biggest outlay is the cost of college, so daycare iwas just the start of it, but isn’t that our job as parents to provide a loving, nurturing upbringing.

  • Ron

    We were in the fortunate position to make the decision whether to have a child (we didn’t postpone but rather had decided not to have a child for many years together) and both have stable, well-paying jobs.

    Still, for us, it was a choice. And in making that choice, we also decided to make some sacrifices. Again, we are lucky to have options. Many parents do not. And regardless of the political and corporate rhetoric, leaders in our society simply does not value families … at least not as much as they value money and power.

    Think day care and education is expensive? Take a look at the cost of poor day care and inadequate education. Not just for families, but also for governments and businesses.

  • Adam

    When we were expecting our first child and began looking into care options, we were greatly underwhelmed. My salary would have covered costs, but barely, so I decided to quit my job and stay at home with our son while my wife went back to work. We had a daughter two years later and honestly I don’t even miss the financial benefit of being a two-income family. The amount of harmony and groundedness in our lives more than makes up for whatever financial gain could be achieved by two parents working and two kids in daycare.

  • Jess

    My husband and I discovered midway through my current (and first) pregnancy that we are expecting twins in February. While this is exciting news, what it’s meant on a practical level is that I had to quit my job because the annual cost of two infants in daycare ($24,000 – $26,000 from our research) is more than my take-home pay as a clinical social worker. I feel lucky in many ways that I will get to stay home with my baby boys, but at the same time, I had no real choice in the matter – we would have lost money by having our kids in daycare, so the choice for us was clear.

  • steve

    my wife did daycare so our kids were not latchkey. we had tight budget then and still do with both of us working, but our kids are great and life is good!

  • Sarah

    It is likely that we will have only one child due to the cost of daycare.

  • Jessica London

    My husband and I moved just across the boarder to Wisconsin where daycare is significantly cheaper. We pay $8,684 a year for our 10 month old son to attend a top of the line daycare facility.

  • Brigid

    Seems expensive until you realize you are paying between $3-4 an hour for someone to care for your precious children! Then I think it seems cheap.

    We live in an old (decrepit) farm house. Our dream is to tear it down and build a new house. We will wait until the children are all in school.

    Since we just had our 3rd baby…it will be a long wait.

  • bill

    It’s been quite a few years since our kids were that young. It was agonizing for us. We wanted really good care but we both had to work. The cost of very good care was beyond us so we went w/ a county licensed provider. It was disastrous. Moving on to a well regarded day care center was just as bad. The issue was older children who were poorly controlled by the provider. Our kids were bullied.

    If we had to do it over, one of us would have worked nights rather than pay so much for such poor care.

  • Michelle

    We are sticking with canine children for the foreseeable future.

  • Kevin VC

    Well I have no kids.

    My sister though went through a hard breakup and has a child. This happened when I was young.

    Daycare was not even something you could consider affording especially when she was working 3 part time jobs to make ends meet. Never mind paying someone else to help keep a eye on your child.

    As a family we pitched in to help her.

    When she got herself established she could afford day care now.

    But he child is now in college at that point.

    Those complaining about daycare need to first see about family help, even though a burden. Those without the support I have no idea how they can make it… sanely that is….

  • Linda

    I have taken care of my two grandchildren since they were newborns. My daughter salary couldn’t cover costs of daycare plus the children are exposed to too much illness while in daycare. I have to say I love having the kids in my home.

  • CHad

    Ironically, we’ve had to work more to pay for childcare.

    (and–respectfully– dogs are NOT people or children. Don’t minimize what parents do by equating the two).

  • Pam

    I was let go from my job at a school because of budget cuts and so I now watch my 6 month old grandson while his parents work. I am saving them 175.00 a week and even though I am not recieving a wage, it is all worth it to know that I am helping my son and his wife out. They are a young coupe just starting out in the world. The costs of daycare are insane. I dont know how young people do it these days. Plus I get the added benefit of creating a special bond with my beautiful little grandson. Priceless.

  • JC

    When I was pregnant, I assumed that I would go back to my job as a manager in a not-for-profit organization. When my daughter was born, I was so in love I couldn’t imagine leaving her. Me being at home with her felt right. When it was time to return to work, I went back for 2 months, and we did the math. Full time child care, with no help from relatives, would be over 50% of my take home pay AND I wouldn’t be raising my own child. So, I quit my job and my employer allowed me to stay on in a part-time position.

    When I’m at work, my husband is home with our daughter. It works well. We feel as though we have no money, but we have the basics covered and will live with our tight budget as long as we need to.

    Because now is the best time, we were planning on having more children right away, but recently reviewed our health insurance documents and found that our costs have doubled from last year and are four times more than the year before that. We’ll have to wait to have another child because of healthcare costs… but that’s another issue….

  • Joanna

    I have always been a single mother who receives no child support. For the first five years of her life, every single penny except for the most basic living expenses went for child care because if I didn’t work, we wouldn’t eat. We were fortunate to have access to a wonderful child-care center, and it was worth every penny. But I didn’t become a mother until I was 37 because it wasn’t until then that I could afford it.

  • Vija Miller

    I feel greatful to be able to affort to pay for child care. I also believe that our care providers need to earn a living wage, If my child care provider is able to provide for their family and the care facility is good and well maintained, the care my children received will be that much better and I will feel better about leaving them in someone else hands.

  • DM

    My wife works and I stay home with our 3 children ages 4, 2 and 1. We are fortunate to have that option. I did work outside the home for awhile after having our first child, but found nearly all of my income went to daycare and income taxes. My at home parent experiences have solidified my beliefs that money and stuff don’t account for all that is good in life. And my children frequently remind me that good health and togetherness are priceless.

  • Roy

    We are such Americans, we all think we have choices, and we can all do it together…pay whatever price, and “it’s worth it.” No, we need to realize that caring for our children is a communal effort; and, if we do not have extended family, then “childcare it must be.” And that care must be fair, and equitable for all…not just for the lucky few, who have great jobs, and great situations, and great communities, and fine neighborhoods; yes, if you are lucky, you can win the Lottery. Me and my wife are the new modern family, where both our families are literally across the world; we are on our own. We live in the inner city and have to drive out to the “suburbs” to get a bit more quality care (we found we paid the same in the city, and got less care–poor kids who attend, have more needs, etc.). We both work, we drive countless miles. COSTS, we pay nearly $30,000 a year for basic, child center care (we have Twins!); this does not include the after school care for every minute, before and after school care for our 9-year old. COLLEGE? Savings? Nothing…we have nothing but credit card debt and worries of what tomorrow will bring? Babysitters? We can’t afford since we’ve given so much already. No grandparents, no extended family; no options; no choices. We work, we need childcare; that is no choice; that is America’s biggest Ultimatum…

  • Gina

    We found a daycare that we absolutely love for our daughter so it is absolutely worth it. For us, one of us staying home was not an option, so it was worth it to pay a little more to find a daycare that we were comfortable leaving our child at. However, when we discussed having a second child, the cost of child care was the primary reason we will not be having another.

  • Renee

    I am glad that daycare is expensive, it made the decision to not send our child there that much easier. I am sick and tired or people complaining about the cost of daycare or how they can’t afford to have a parent stay home. There are exceptions, but most people simply don’t want to change their lifestyle. Yes, there are single moms and those in poverty, but I hear way too many people say that they can’t afford to have someone stay home when they choose to have a lifestyle that is much more expensive that it has to be. I’m not saying you can’t take vacations or have multiple cars, but just tell it like it is… choices.

  • Betty

    We pay approximately $15,000 per year for our twin daughters to attend a licensed home daycare in our suburban community. My husband and I were both fortunate enough to each take 10 months at home with our children while they were infants. Yes, daycare is expensive, but our children are cared for by a wonderful provider who loves them dearly, and has become an extension of our parenting team. The kids are better socialized and adjusted now, and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate.

  • Michelle

    For the record, I am not minimizing anything parents do.

    The question was “how has the cost of child care affected the life of your family”? My answer was that we’re sticking with our dogs (yes, they are part of our family despite the fact they are not humans) for the time being because it’s terribly expensive to have kids.

    That is how the reality of high child-care costs have affected my family– which includes my dogs.

  • Sandy

    As Roy stated in his comments, when your family lives thousands of miles away, your choices are limited. We’re in the same situation. From our experience, however, we felt that child care was the right choice.

    Children who attend a licensed or accredited day care center are typically screened by their school districts for any learning delays, as was the case with our four year old. At age two our son was evaluated and identified as having ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). As a result, we’ve been able to take advantage of the Minneapolis School District’s services and get our child into private speech and occupational therapy at a time when early intervention is the key to success. The skills he’s learned in his therapy sessions are carried over into his day care setting where he is able to interact with his main stream peers and improve his social skills – all in a structured and extremely nurturing environment. Had we not had our son in day care, he might still be struggling with speech and motor skills and far behind his peers when he starts kindergarten next fall.

    Our concern now is that we may not be able to provide the same advantage to our four month old. Both children are now in day care and the annual cost will average about $30K for 2011 alone. That’s more than what I paid in student loans for my undergraduate degree and a third of our combined annual gross income.

    We’re not rich by any stretch of the imagination and we live a very modest life style (I use the term “style” loosely). But education is extremely important to both me and my husband and we want to do whatever we can to ensure our childrens success.

    However, living expenses have been extremely impacted by this recession. Health care, property taxes, even the cost of day care, continues to rise while salaries have flattened out over the past several years. It’s left a lot of us in a very difficult financial position and questioning how much we can really afford to pay for a better Minnesota.

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