Parents can compare monthly day care costs by considering sending their children to a day care center, hiring a private nanny, using an in-home day care or finding an au pair. Parents must also consider if they need care for one, two or more children.
Parents should also consider their lifestyles when comparing day care costs, including how much care they need, what time of day they need care and the distance from home to the day care center. Using day care facilities typically costs less than hiring an au pair or nanny, but each day care center charges a different rate based on available amenities. The number of children at the facility, staff teaching certificates or licenses, provided meals, available therapy, and early drop off or late pick up fees all affect the cost of day care. A Care.com survey found in 2015 that parents are willing to pay more for facilities with varied activities, video cameras for remote check-ins and updated communication technology.
Using an au pair typically costs more than sending children to a day care facility but less than hiring a private nanny. The au pair lives with the family, which provides parents with flexible scheduling options. Most parents hire a pre-screened au pair through an agency and can interview the candidate over the Internet. One salary covers all children in the household rather than per child.