Cost-Effective Childcare Options

By Candi Wingate

The search for child care is on whether you need a full-time, part-time or temporary care. The challenge most parents face is finding quality care for your child that fits within your budget.  Here are some cost-effective child care options that won’t break the bank.

Hire a Nanny or Babysitter

Nannies are no longer exclusive to the wealthy. If you have two children in full time daycare you can afford a nanny, and sites like Nannies4Hire cut out the high-priced fee of nanny agency. Whether you need a full-time nanny or part-time babysitter, trusted online sources provide a massive database of local care providers at your fingertips. You can find candidates quickly based on your personal requirements and budget.

It Takes a Village

There are likely multiple families in your neighborhood with young children. Get with these other parents and arrange shared childcare, in which two or more households take turns attending to the children. Parents might need to take time off work during their turn, but it should be minimal as other households are rotating turns as well.

Go Back to College

College students are ideal candidates for child care. They can be recruited through the on-campus career centers or through a parent network in your community. Many will be looking for jobs as resume builders, so their pay expectations might be lower for that purpose, and their schedules are typically very flexible.

It’s all Relative

Enlisting the help of a relative can be a win-win for everyone. Whether it is a teenage cousin or beloved grandma, your children can enjoy some quality bonding time.  Your relative may not accept payment, but you should certainly offer.  Treat him/her as you would a hired care provider: negotiate pay, respect their schedule, keep lines of communication open, and be direct in your expectations.


City recreational departments often offer a volunteer program for kids 13 and over.  Volunteer opportunities can include office work, recreational centers, aquatics, senior citizens, and children’s summer programs. These volunteer programs are a unique way for kids to explore career opportunities, give back to the community, and receive school credit.

You might find that a combination of these options is most efficient and cost-effective.  Take your time in selecting the options that works best for your family and budget.

Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of and She is also the author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and the proud mom of two.