Tips for Finding Affordable Childcare So You Can Go Back To Work

Tips for Finding Affordable Childcare So You Can Go Back To Work

According to one Washington Post survey, more than three quarters of mothers and half of fathers in the workforce depart from their jobs to take care of their kids. They look for less strenuous jobs, or positions that allow them to work flexible schedules. During the pandemic, parents received a stark reminder that they shouldn't take childcare or schools for granted. Due to a lack of childcare options, people weren't able to work. Affordability became even more of an issue as parents needed to shift from free schools to paid daycare.

What to Do About Childcare

Once childcare costs take up a certain percentage of your salary, it's not worth working. And, unfortunately, this is the position that many people found themselves in during the height of the pandemic. They needed to decide whether their job was worth the high cost of childcare.

Today, the cost of childcare is still an issue for many households. If you can't find affordable options for your kids, you can't work. With inflation high, it's more important than ever to be able to find affordable childcare options. Fortunately, we have a few tips that may help you navigate the waters.

Tips for Finding Cheaper Childcare

And so, here are a few things you can do to find childcare that won't break the bank:

Take Advantage of Community Resources

Your local community has more resources available than you think. For instance, your library, YMCA, and other non-profits might have low-cost daycare or after-school programs. It might take some research, but you can find alternatives to daycare that charge thousands of dollars a month.


Depending on where you live, you might have a local VPK or preschool program. Sometimes, preschool is free for a certain number of hours. You can usually extend those hours for only a small fee. Do a quick search for VPK or pre k programs in your area. If you reach out to a local high school, you might discover that they offer discount childcare in exchange for letting the older children assist with the program.

Babysitting Exchange

If you have time to babysit on your off hours, you can look into a babysitting exchange. Parents get together to swap off days and offer childcare. Because everyone takes a turn watching the kids, there's often no or low costs associated with these exchanges. While it might not cover every one of your workdays, it could save you from paying for childcare several days a week.

Head or Early Start

If you make less than a certain set income, you could be eligible for Head Start or Early Start. The program is federal, which means it's available almost everywhere. You can get childcare for children between the ages of infant and five, and the program prepares kids for school. Some programs offer food, medical assistance, and more.

Summer Assistance

One of the often overlooked challenges of childcare is school breaks. When school lets out, parents need to scramble to find childcare. The expense can ruin your budget and it's not easy to find temporary temporary childcare. Fortunately, summer camps and vacation camps can be a great opportunity for you. Even better, most camps are full of fun and exciting activities. If your child has a very specific interest or hobby, they might be able to participate in a camp tailored to that interest.

Before or After-School

A before or after-school program offers childcare for elementary school kids. Although most schools districts offer this program, not all do. The cost varies, but tends to be much more affordable than other childcare options. You can call your school district to find out if they offer this type of program and to get details on the cost.

Company Childcare

In this day and age, some companies realize the importance of offering in-house childcare. While this isn't feasible for most small businesses, large businesses often have affordable daycare programs. If you're looking for a job, you can target your search to companies that offer childcare.

Room Exchange

Do you have an extra room in your home? If so, you might be able to get childcare in exchange for room and board. A recent college graduate, au pair, or childcare worker might be interested in receiving free room and board in exchange for childcare.

Childcare Resource and Referral Agencies

Finding information about affordable childcare is no easy task. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an extensive database that shows you childcare resources in each state. To find out more, head to this resource is particularly useful to low income families.

Find a Remote Job

If childcare is out of the question, you might be able to find a remote position. There are flexible jobs everywhere, and some of them allow you to work around your child’s school schedule. With that said, it's not easy to work from home with kids. Certain jobs require you to have complete silence, and a noisy toddler won't give you that. Your best bet is to find a flexible job that allows you to work your own hours.

Childcare Assistance

In addition to finding affordable childcare, you can also look for assistance programs. The government has several programs that make paying for daycare or other programs more affordable. Contact your local government office for help.

Tax Credits

When you file your taxes, you may be able to recoup some of your daycare costs. The child tax credit helps you pay for childcare, if you budget accordingly and save the money.

Military Assistance

There are multiple programs available to veterans and current military personnel. If you or your spouse is in the military, you can go to for information on childcare options. Every branch offers some type of childcare assistance.

Look for a New Job

If your current job makes childcare nearly impossible, it might be time for a new job. The market is right for you to find a better job with a better salary. You might even end up with a job you love!

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