Are Expensive Daycares Worth it?

children playing at daycare

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Parents may laugh at the idea of daycare not being expensive.

Unless you are extremely lucky, you are not likely to find a quality child care provider that is anything less than pricey.

That said, you will certainly come across daycares that are far more expensive than their counterparts.

Are expensive daycares worth it?

Spending more doesn’t always lead to better quality. There are more important factors to consider when choosing a daycare such as reputation, curriculum, location, and safety. Sometimes, the best quality does come with a higher price tag but you should never commit to spending more than is reasonable for you to pay.

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Are Expensive Daycares Worth the Cost?

My kids went to an expensive daycare.

We didn’t choose the expensive daycare because of the cost. We chose it because it was highly recommended, extremely clean, and safe, the staff was well-trained and it was located in a convenient area.

We were sold on the place before we fully understood how much it would cost. It was only then that we had to make some difficult decisions.

Reconsidering the amount we could afford to spend, we visited some other daycare facilities. None of them offered the quality we wanted. Therefore, we decided spending more was in the best interests of our children.

However, that may not be the case for everyone. Before you settle on spending more than is reasonable on daycare, consider some of the following questions.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

What is the Average Cost of Day Care in Your Area?

This is an area where many new parents are caught off guard. The average cost of daycare in the United States is much higher than many families realize.

In this country, the cost is about $900 per month for full-time daycare. That dollar figure may be much higher or lower depending on your specific location.

How Much Can You Afford to Spend?

Only you know your daycare budget. You will need to look closely at the amount of money you earn, how much needs to be saved, and how much others, such as grandparents, may be willing to contribute.

Though you may be tempted to look at daycare centers that are outside of your budget, it may be a wiser choice to only consider those that are affordable for your family.

The daycare we chose for our children was a bit different than you might expect. We paid roughly the same cost as is average for our area but for part-time care.

If you want the experience of a premium daycare but can’t swing the price tag, ask about part-time options.

What Exactly Are You Paying For?

A higher-priced daycare should theoretically offer more services. At a minimum, a daycare should provide a clean, safe environment for children to learn and grow.

There should be some structure to the daily schedule. The staff should be qualified and trained.

Pricier daycare facilities might offer extras. This could include:

  • Advanced lessons plans
  • Staff with high-level degrees
  • Low class sizes
  • Foreign language learning
  • Music or sports lessons

When you need specialized care

Your child may have needs outside of the typical spectrum of child care. This often comes at a high price. Those needs might significantly vary.

In our case, my son was reading well by age two. He was reading full chapter books and beating me at chess by age three. We needed a facility that encouraged learning at his level. The higher price we paid allowed for dedicated lessons that catered to his needs.

Of course, there are many types of special needs. Children with mental, emotional or physical delays may need care that unfortunately comes at a premium price.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

Are There Drawbacks Other than the Price?

An expensive daycare should and often does offer excellent quality. However, there may be some drawbacks that you didn’t previously consider.

Children in expensive daycares are often only exposed to kids in their direct socio-economic class. They don’t get the experience of meeting children from a variety of backgrounds that might happen in a more affordable daycare.

Another drawback may be in the form of freedom. Pricier daycares tend to be more structured in nature whereas less expensive ones may allow children to explore on their own. This level of pseudo-self-sufficiency could be important down the road.

Are There Other Benefits to Spending More on Daycare?

Aside from the obvious benefits that are likely to come from a more expensive daycare, there are others that might be less apparent.

You could be spending well over $1,000 per month for four to five years. Getting used to setting aside that amount of money can help you continue to save in the future.

You could have an adequate college savings fund set up in about half the time normally needed. Likewise, you could use that money to pay down any accrued debt or fund a retirement account.

Final Thoughts

Daycare doesn’t have to be expensive to offer excellent quality. You may find the perfect daycare for your family fits easily into your budget.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

However, if you can afford to put a little more into the monthly payment, you may find it is money well spent.

How much do you plan to spend on daycare? Let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should you spend on daycare?

It should be no more than 10% of your household budget (according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Why are daycares so expensive?

One of the reasons why daycare is so expensive is because of the expense of paying the wages of the daycare workers. The second reason is related to how heavily regulated that industry is.

Is daycare really that bad?

There are pros and cons to daycares. For example, daycare allows both parents to have a career that they otherwise might not have if it wasn’t for daycares.

Is daycare or a nanny cheaper?

When comparing daycare vs nanny, daycare is significantly cheaper than a nanny for full-time childcare.


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