NPR Beginnings: Child Care Costs

When my first son was born a little more than seven years ago, I worked at a newspaper. If you know anything about newspapers, then you know they’re in trouble and don’t pay their employees very well. I loved my job, though, and knew I would not be happy as a stay-at-home mom. There was never a question in my mind that I’d go back to work outside the home and my son would go to some kind of child care setting.

As I’ve written about here before, choosing someone to watch your child is a difficult decision. However, on top of safety, health, nutrition and developmentally-appropriate activities as things to consider when choosing child care, there is one that no one likes to talk about, but everything thinks about a lot: cost.

This month, National Public Radio is running an amazingly informative and insightful series called Beginnings: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond. It explores everything from global health to business and economy to culture and tradition as it pertains to pregnancy, birth, babies and children.

Yesterday, NPR aired a discussion about child care among six parents and one grandparent who live in Washington D.C. They all agreed that child care providers don’t get paid enough for their very important and difficult jobs — yet they were all paying too much. One father estimated he paid $10,000 a year to send his daughter to preschool and a lawyer turned stay-at-home mother said it was more cost-effective to quit her job than send her two young girls to day care.

The second part of the discussion is scheduled to air this afternoon. But, like all the stories in the series, they can all be streamed or downloaded from the NPR website. I highly recommend them.

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