How much does in-home daycare cost?
If you’re planning on opening your own in-home daycare, how much should you charge?
If you’re searching for in-home childcare, how much should you expect to pay?
In-home daycare costs can vary significantly from state to state, from county to county, and even on a per facility basis. This can make it challenging for parents who need access to child care to find the best price for their specific area.
To help you learn more about the cost of in-home daycare, we’ve created this guide to in-home daycare costs across the United States. We’ll highlight the most important factors impacting the cost of child care and help you decide how much you should pay for in-home daycare in your area.
Determining Cost Factors of In-Home Daycares
When it comes to understanding the cost of in-home daycare, there are seven important factors that come into play:
- Licensing and Accreditation
- Child’s Age
To make sure you’re getting a fair deal on in-home child care, you’ll need to understand how these seven factors contribute to the total cost. Next, we’ll look individually at each of these cost factors in more detail.
Location of the Home Daycare
The location of the childcare center is one of the main factors determining the cost of childcare. In general, home daycare centers in states with higher real estate costs and higher cost of living will be more expensive. In states where property is less expensive, you should expect to pay comparatively less for in-home daycare services.
Find Your State
The national non-profit organization known as Child Care Aware of America (CCAA) advocates for high-quality, affordable child care services in the United States. As part of a 2019 report, CCAA published data on the average annual cost of in-home child care for a single infant, as well as for an infant plus a four-year-old, across 47 states.
Review the table below and find your state to see how much you should expect to pay annually for child care based on where you live.
|State||Annual Cost of In-home Child |
Care – Single Infant
|Annual Cost of In-home|
Child Care – Single Infant +
|Montana||Not Reported||Not Reported|
|New Jersey||Not Reported||Not Reported|
|South Dakota||Not Reported||Not Reported|
The states with the most affordable in-home daycare costs are:
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
The states with the least affordable in-home daycare costs are:
- New York
Licensing & Accreditation Status
Home daycare operators who are licensed and accredited by the state are usually more expensive than informal daycares that operate without a license.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should search for a daycare with no license because it costs less money.
The home daycare licensing process helps ensure that child care providers across the country are suitable caregivers for young children. State regulators enforce requirements such as CPR and first aid training, environmental inspections of the home, medical testing and background screening for care providers and other family members in the home, staffing ratios and other factors that directly impact the safety of your children.
Most child care providers determine their rates based on their own experience and the unique values they bring to the table.
If the child care provider is a young, local parent with a high school education and some basic child care skills, they will likely charge less than an experienced daycare center operator with a degree in psychology and years of childhood education experience.
With that said, a highly skilled child care provider is absolutely worth the extra cost. Educated child care professionals have spent years studying the cognitive development of young minds and how to maximize their learning while creating a structured and caring environment.
Child’s Age & Needs
Child care is a hands-on service, and kids need the right amount of individualized attention to reach their full potential. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management publishes recommendations for staffing ratios based on the age of children and the size of the group.
For infants, staffing ratios of 1 caregiver for 3 or 4 infants are recommended, with a maximum group size of 8 kids.
For toddlers aged 12 to 28 months, a maximum staffing ratio of 1:4 is recommended with a maximum group size of 12 kids.
For children aged 21 to 36 months, a maximum staffing ratio of 1:6 is recommended with a maximum group size of 12 kids.
For kids between 2 and 5, staffing ratios of 1:10 are recommended with maximum group sizes of 20 kids.
Once kids reach kindergarten age, a staffing ratio of 1:12 is recommended and group sizes can reach up to 24 kids.
Most child care centers follow some version of these recommendations. As a result, child care costs more for younger children because they require increased supervision with more attention. Many in-home daycares offer different pricing packages based on child age. Some states mandate that in-home daycare providers care for some maximum of kids under a certain age, so make sure any provider you choose follows your state laws.
Planning considerations for child care staffing have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Centers are advised to recruit additional staff that can fill in if existing members fall ill or must remain at home to care for ill family members. While staffing ratios have not changed, the need to implement social distancing strategies as directed by the CDC could mean fewer space for children in centers across the country.
Your cost for daycare can vary based on the number of hours per day that you plan to leave your child at the daycare center. Most in-home daycares open between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., closing between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. If you drop your child off later or pick them up earlier, you may qualify for a lower rate.
Some child care centers charge extra supply fees on top of normal daycare fees depending on what they provide. If your daycare center provides things like baby wipes, diapers, laundry service, toiletries (soap, handwash, sunscreen), or consumable art supplies, you may end up paying more to offset some of those costs.
Most in-home daycare centers have a system set up for providing meals to kids.
You may have the option of having the daycare center provide meals for your child throughout the day or packing them a lunch each day along with additional snacks.
If you choose to have the daycare center provide meals for your child, you should expect to pay a little bit more. This is especially true if your child has dietary needs that may require daycare providers to make special arrangements or develop new capabilities.
Breaking This All Down for Your Family
Looking at the annual in-home daycare cost for your state can feel a little overwhelming at first, so it’s important to break it down into monthly or weekly budget items that are easier to manage.
Most daycare centers will also explain pricing as a weekly or monthly rate, so you’ll want to know the conversions ahead of time to avoid being caught off guard. Here’s how to figure out weekly rates from the data we’ve provided above.
Weekly Cost Per Child
Start with the annual average child care cost for your state. If you lived in Florida, that would be $8,070.
Next, divide that number by 52 to get the weekly rate.
$8,070 divided by 52 weeks works out to $155/week.
Monthly Cost Per Child
If you’re planning to pay your child care costs each month, you’ll have to calculate your rate in a different way.
Start with the same annual average childcare cost for your state. Let’s imagine you live in Rhode Island, so the average annual cost for infant care is $9,900.
Next, divide that number by 12 to get the monthly rate.
$9,900 divided by 12 is $825, so you would expect to pay around $825/month.
Procare Provides Software Solutions for In-home Daycare Centers
Procare is an affordable child care management solution for centers of all sizes, offering a free “basic” version and a more robust version that starts at just $25/month.
When you’re searching for the best child care option for your family, choose a center that uses Procare to automate billing and drive parent engagement with regular meaningful communication. Let your child care provider know about the benefits of Procare, including offering a more engaging experience for parents like you.
Facilities that use Procare spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on providing care and education that drive better outcomes for your child. As a parent, you’ll benefit from features like automated billing, diverse payment options, and streamlined communication with your child’s daycare center.