Unexpected Costs of a Daycare Facility

Unexpected Costs of a Daycare Facility

For all the young and/or growing families out there, one of the biggest causes of financial stress is the cost of paid childcare. There are a myriad of options available: in-home daycare, daycare facility, hiring an au pair, hiring a nanny (includes a nanny share), paying a family member or friend to watch your child, and so on.

My family has decided to go the route of a daycare facility, so I want to share my unique feedback with you.


Consistent availability & long hours:

Rain or shine, Monday through Friday my particular daycare is available to watch kiddos 7:00am – 6:00pm. They rotate teachers in and out to avoid burnout and these hours would be hard to come by with one caretaker alone. Speaking of a single caretaker, if that person becomes sick or has an emergency, parents are often left without help at a moment’s notice. I appreciate that I can count on having coverage for my daughter without that variable.

Photo updates, written reports, safety measures:

In this day and age, I am comforted by the security system in place at my daughter’s school. The code I have to provide before I can even enter the building. And the cameras. I also appreciate the details they provide like a written report of her food intake, activities she did throughout the day, and how well she’s adjusting to potty training. I’m a big fan of the mid-day photo updates as well – I love to see how her day is progressing.

Parent’s night out:

My facility offers babysitting every other month from 6:00-9:00pm so parents can enjoy a date night. This is a convenient feature that eliminates the need to seek out a babysitter on the side since you already trust these people with your child. It’s a nice touch, though I will mention that there is a fee involved.

Social aspect:

While it can be argued that some of her outgoing personality is innate, there’s no question that she’s benefitted from being exposed to a variety of children, teachers, and personalities. She’s learned to share and play nicely with other kids. Since she’s my only child I would have to make a deliberate effort to get her together with other kids to have that same effect.


In our house we don’t refer to my daughter’s provider as daycare but rather, school. That’s because she has had a detailed curriculum laid out since day one. There’s a big focus on education, emotional and physical skill development, social interaction, etc. This was the primary motive for my family in deciding to pursue the route of a daycare facility.


Higher cost:

As a general rule of thumb, daycare facilities often charge a higher premium since their overhead cost is more significant than many of the other options.

Hidden costs:

Annual registration fee, picture day photos, teacher appreciation week, Scholastic book fair, etc. While many of these costs are not mandatory, look out for additional ways that you may be spending dollars related to your choice in childcare. I’ll also mention that there are a handful of teacher in-service days that may not align with national holidays and therefore either my husband or I have had to take a day off of work.

Less personal:

At a daycare facility your child will progress through a series of classrooms based on their age and development. Therefore, I recognize that my daughter won’t have one caretaker that she’s bonded with over many years.


Some parents will read this bullet and instantly nod in agreement. Many childcare facilities require you to pack and label your kid’s milk and food every day. First name, last name, date, time, classroom, etc. It may seem like a small issue, but it eats up the precious and limited time we’re all working within. I dream of the day that I can put the Sharpie and labels away.

Inflexible with unique schedules:

Despite the fact that I often send my daughter to daycare only 3 days a week, she doesn’t fit into the category of “part time” and so I’m charged the full-time rate. She averages 30 hours/week at school yet it’s the same rate for a child that’s present from open to close five days a week. Be sure to understand the part-time options at your local daycare facility, since they vary dramatically.

Best of luck in your search!


MainStreet Team
MainStreet Team

MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc., an independent fee-only financial planning firm was founded in Maryland in 2002 by Jim Ludwick, CFP® who passionately believed that financial planning advice should be accessible to people from all walks of life without product sales and investment management services. In 2006 Anna Sergunina, CFP® joined the team and together they grew MainStreet Financial to a nationally recognized company, with a team of 6 staff members and 5 offices across the country.

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