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What are Average Daycare Prices?

Parenting and Child Care
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Age as a Factor

High quality, affordable daycare is always in demand. Parents need options for caring for their children while they are at work. Daycare prices continue to rise, while wages remain the same or decrease. These costs can vary widely, depending on the age of the child. Infants are more expensive to care for, since they require more attention. The daycare center must employ more staff to keep the overall child/staff ratio down. Daycare services for toddlers are less expensive than for infants, but more expensive than for preschool aged children. Some daycares do not take very young infants, and may only take children from a particular age range.

Daycare Center Prices

Daycare prices, just like daycare regulations, are different in each state. For many single parents, the costs of daycare for their children can take up at least 20% up to 43% of their pay, depending on where they live. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) did a state by state study to find the average costs of sending a 4 year old child to daycare center for one year. States in the Northeast are generally the most expensive for daycare, while states in the South are cheaper. The most expensive state for daycare is Massachusetts, with a yearly cost of $11,678. The cheapest state for daycare is Mississippi, with a cost of $4,056 a year. Many states fall in the middle, like Nevada, with an annual price of $7,133.

Daycare is normally more expensive in large cities. For example, in the Dallas area suburbs, prices for childcare services at a daycare center can vary from $110 to 250 a week. Prices can vary even by areas within the city, based on the daycare’s reputation, size and number of competitors.

Options for Reducing Costs

Every family must find their own solution to the daycare dilemma. Parents often must make critical decisions about childcare, either to reduce hours, change providers or eliminate it altogether. Some parents ask trusted relatives or friends to watch the children, if they live nearby. Other parents may send the child to daycare part-time and work part-time instead of full-time. However, parents who work early morning or late night shifts may find it difficult to locate quality childcare during those hours.

Parents may also ask the daycare center for lowered prices for multiple children or for working for a preferred employer. Parents may also get a discount for paying tuition in one lump payment, instead of installments. Some employers offer flexible saving accounts for their employees, and parents can set aside money tax-free for daycare expenses. Some parents might be eligible for a childcare tax credit. In addition, many states offer assistance to low income families for daycare costs; however, many programs have been reduced or eliminated due to the economic slowdown.

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