Child care report shines light on different arrangements
A recent report out last week shows 61 percent of children nationwide under age 5 are in some type of regular child care.
My 2-year-old is one of them.
I’m pretty much been a working mom since having my first child 10 years ago. The report looks at both working and nonworking moms and dads (and thus, the 61 percent is based on both). For me, what I’ve been most grateful for are the caregivers my children have had – and we’ve had our run of different services.
One of my best friends provided care for all my babies when they were young. I don’ t know how I would have gone back to work had I had them anywhere else. She was their second mom – and in many ways that role continues years later. In some cases it was long term. I worked full-time for just about 10 months after both my oldest and youngest children. I worked part-time after my middle child.
Apparently, our arrangement would not fall into the majority today. According to the U.S. Census Bureau report, “Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011,” of those in regular arrangements (at least weekly care) 42 percent of children under 5 were watched by a relative, while only 33 percent were watched by a non-relative.
The report shows grandparents to be the most likely relative watching the children in relative-related care. And nearly 25 percent of children in regular non-relative care were in a daycare center, nursery or preschool.
If they’d asked me any of these questions based on the full 10 years of being a mother, I could have said, “all of the above.”
Reading the report sparked a memory that for my son’s first year of life, his grandmother watched him once a week. My two older children received care in a church-based Mesa childcare center for years before it was closed during the recession (declining numbers and increased licensing fees). My oldest son even attended school-district preschool for two years.
When my youngest came along, my friend thankfully offered to care for her. But when summer came and she needed to spend more time with her three kiddos (totally understandable!), my daughter spent a few months with a neighbor who ran childcare in her home.
Then, again, my work situation changed and I decided to try a long-established day-care center my brother attended as a child.
It’s worked out well, but the cost increase was quite a bit. Today, I pay $32 more a month for her to be in part-time care than I paid for my middle child to be in full-time care. In fact, the cost of paying for after-school care for the big kids and full-time care for my youngest (and the stress of three kids and full-time work), prompted me to go part-time.
But that, is another story. Tomorrow, I’ll look at the rising cost of childcare according to the new report.