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How much do you pay for after care?

Aug 2010

Hi there, We are trying to figure out what we can afford to pay for a new house when the kids go to elementary school. My husband and I both work so I figure we will be paying for after care, and summer camp. Can anyone give me a general idea of how much these things cost? Or, where to go to find out? We will probably be living in Oakland or Berkeley when the time comes (but could be Alameda, Albany or Kensington too). Thank you!


My son has gone to after school care for several years, we pay (about) $5.00 per hour (a a bit more if it's ''extra'' such as when I happen to come late to pick him up, or when it's for a week of short days such as P/T conference time). So, for about 10 hours per week (3:00 - 5:00 most days) it's around $200 - $240 per month. Sometimes we intersperse after school enrichment programs (martial arts, chess, Spanish...) instead of just aftercare; each has their own price.

Summer camp cost varies wildly. Adventure Time or some such unstructured, play-based camp is quite inexpensive at, say $200 per week for full-time care (9:00 - 5:00 every day), and charges by the hour (fewer scheduled hours = lower cost). Something like Sarah's Science can be almost double that, depending on when you register, and if you need to stay after 3:00 pm. A really all-out camp that offers everything from swimming and boating to horseback riding, like Roughing It (even picks your kid up in a bus), can cost almost $1000 per week for full day ($3600 per 4-week session). There are so many options here it makes your head spin; every year it's something of a challenge to get all my son's favorites scheduled. Karen


We pay $400-$600/mo for after care during the school year, and basically preschool level prices during the summer, like $800-$900 for summer-long care and more if we do some of the week-by-week camps. We are in Albany. Rumor has it that prices are going up for the fall... hope that helps

How much to charge for bringing another child home?

Sept 2009

I'm wondering what is fair compensation for picking up an extra child after elementary school one day a week and bringing them to my house (or the park or...) until the child's parent(s) are able to pick them up when they get home from work, around 5:30 or so. I'm talking one day a week every week for several months. I did this for a while last year and it was never really reciprocated. While it was not terribly inconvenient, I felt a bit taken for granted.

This year, the other family offered to exchange so they would take both kids one day, and I would take them both another day. However, my child has tutoring on the day they offered childcare, so that plan didn't work for us. When asked about taking their child on the other day (basically continuing what I did last year), I took a few days to respond, because I felt uneasy about the one-sidedness of the arrangement. When I did give an anwer, I said yes and that I would like to be paid something. The response I got was surprise and then a withdrawal of the request (since I didn't seem to want to do it).

I would like to know if anyone out there is doing this sort of thing for free and/or what people think would be fair payment. To clarify, I did take the kids to Tilden once in a while, but more typically they just came over to our house, had a snack, did their home work, and then played. reality checking


Ah, the slippery slope of being ''nice.'' I have definitely been there, so one thing I can say is: don't start off doing the favor unless it really is no problem at all for you and not likely to lead to resentment. I can understand why the other parents were taken aback by your request for money -- you were always so ''nice'' before. Asking for money for something you have done for free does not seem ''nice.'' But at least now you know that this kind of arrangement will ultimately feel wrong to you, so you can avoid it in the future. When my son was playing little league ball, a very busy (and rather affluent) parent who worked in the City asked me to pick his son up at his private school when I was on the way to practice with my son. It was more or less ''on my way'' (but not really -- and I had to track the child down and sign him out of his school), and despite the dad's assurances that we would trade off on this arrangement, it was somehow never convenient for him to reciprocate. The next ball season I was ''unavailable'' to do this. I suggest you make yourself unavailable unless there is a very clearly worked out plan on how services will be reciprocated. But I don't think you can start charging for something you used to do for free and expect the other parents to accept it. It would be better to say something like, ''Well, if it won't work this time for us to work out a shared arrangement, we'll try it another time.'' no more ms. nice mom
My feeling about the situation is that it seems your friend asked for your help, as her friend. In my mind, you are already picking up your own child and this is simply a couple of hours once a week. The whole idea of ''it takes a village to raise a child'' means vastly different things to different people, but I also believe in karma -- is this REALLY that much of a hardship? If you wanted payment for this arrangement, you should have spoken up long ago. Instead, why don't you come up with a specific way that you might ask your friend to help you in return? is the kid a brat? If so, speak up and get that issue resolved. In the ''old'' days, this is simply what friends did for each other; most of us are not fortunate enough to have family nearby to help, nor do we have the luxury of staying home all day. I did for a while, and every time I began to feel resentful of the gaggle of kids I seemed to be hauling around, I reminded myself how lucky our family was that I could do that, and I really got to know my kids friends. Enjoy this time as it goes much too quickly! What Goes Around Comes Around
I work three days a week until 5 pm. I pay another mom $100/month to pick up my child from school on the three days I work and drive her 10 mins to her babysitter's house. I pay the babysitter $200/month for watching my child from 2:45-5 pm three days a week.

I think it's fair for you to ask for payment for taking care of someone else's child on a regular basis if there is no reciprocal arrangement. As a working mom, I do ask SAHMs for small favors now and then, but I would never expect free babysitting on a regular basis. Working Mom


Yikes! It sounds like you are acting out because you think/believe that they have taken advantage of you. You sound angry at them, but they are not to blame. You get to decide what works for you. But what I have found is that just when you start feeling that you are doing more and giving more, life will set YOU up with a situation in which YOU will be the one in need of help. And even if it is not that particular family who is able to step up, you will be blessed with the generous, gracious help of another family. What you are doing is building community, and unless you truly need the money, I wouldn't put a price on that.

I am a working mom and learned in the past few years (much later than I should have) to reciprocate back and forth to coordinate rides to and from sports and stuff. What I have discovered is how WONDERFUL this arrangement is and how much good karma/community/friendship is produced! Last year I had to rely on someone with no hope of reciprocating, but then....this year our situation changed and I will be the sole driver week after week for them. I occasionally wonder why I'm doing the lion's share, and then lo and behold, I am chagrined to find myself on the receiving end. Life is not tit for tat... it is much better! Anon


I would like to know how you got into this situation. It seems like the other kid's friends thought it was a standing playdate and not a daycare arrangement. People certainly do it both ways. If I were friends with the other family, and the kids were good friends, I would do it for free, especially if the playdates were reciprocated. But otherwise, I guess $5-10 dollars an hour would be fair. anon
I would not ask for payment if it were me. That is what friends do to help each other out. Perhaps if you have a dr appt or some other situation where you need help she will then help you. If the kids did not enjoy their time together and it feels like a chore to you both, that is another story. anon
Hi, I read the replies you got and didn't think all of them were fair to you or your situation. I understand how you are feeling. When my child started school last year, there was a mom that was hinting around about me taking her kid on a regular basis after school. There was just no way I was willing to lock myself into any kind of regular arrangement.

I'm happy to have kids over for playdates but generally with the expectation that there is occasional reciprocation. I am always willing to help someone, friend or acquaintance, in occasional need (running late, doctor's appt, emergency etc). But, to expect someone to take your child every week without any form of reciprocation really strikes me as taking advantage. There are exceptions, of course, when the kids and/or moms are very close but it certainly doesn't sound like is/was your situation.

Yes, maybe it does ''take a village'' but it shouldn't always be the same villagers who are doing the lion's share! Yes, maybe what comes around, goes around. Yes, paying it forward is a nice thing to do. I'm in favor of all of that, but it would be great if others also had the same willingness to help out when needed. SAHM who is not a doormat


General comments about afterschool

Re aftercare: As the parent of a future kindergartener this fall I have not been happy with the aftercare choices I have seen. A list of choices is available from the district. They all seem to have in common large numbers of kids and a feel like "summer camp" (lining up, taking roll, counselors yelling to get kids attention, kids coming and going at different times).

For older kids staying 3 hours this could be ok, for young kindergartners who I think need small numbers, a routine environment and less chaos/more attention...well I'm not happy at all with the choices. Visit them and share your impressions. The worst part of all is that you don't find out til June or July where your child will attend, and then (I've been told) not definitely until 1-2 weeks before school, meaning you may need to scramble for arrange care at the last minute (although the aftercare people say they expect this and work with you to accomodate it). Personally, although private school is expensive, I am of the opinion that it may be worth it for one more year just to avoid this aftercare mess. (My daughter is in a private pre-K program so could continue into private kindergarten there if we choose).


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