The cost of childcare has a significant impact on parents from all income ranges. Last year the New York Times reported the day care costs for middle-class New Yorkers can easily equal from $25,000 to $30,000 per child.
Contributor Rebecca Harris says childcare services are becoming so necessary because of the increase of households with dual incomes; both parents are working. However, Harris does not see this as a bad thing for children as they are growing up.
“Quality child care tends to lead to positive outcomes, even during the teenage years. Children that receive high quality childcare within the first two years of life, they secured higher measures of cognitive and academic achievements when they were 15 years old.”
In addition to looking at licensing and certifications by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Harris also says there are specific things to look for and ask about when selecting a program for your child.
“Programming is really key, if you see the television on a lot and unsupervised play, that is really a problem. Having structured play is good, but too much structure, kids need to just have play, so if it’s really really structured, you kind of have to look at that. Are there age specific classrooms and age appropriate learning activities?... You want to look at one-on-one care, does the staff engage with your kid one-on-one? And is there reading going on?”
What if parents only need child care every once in awhile? Harris recommends then looking at Craigslist.com, where she says there is a large market for babysitters. Care.com also provides online childcare providers and “mommy meet up groups” can be found online as well. Ask.com also offers listings for the Pittsburgh area.