BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Childcare: How Much Do You Pay?
Berkeley Parents Network >
Childcare: How Much Do You Pay?
My son was born 6 weeks ago and my husband and I are starting to look
into Childcare options for him to start in December. We are finding a
HUGE range of prices...one home-based daycare we looked at was
$980/month for full-time care, and another was $1900/month for the
same hours! Is this normal? I was not expecting quite so much variance
in the rates...is there an average rate we should expect to see? Any
feedback would be appreciated!!
Our wonderful family daycare costs me $220 per week per child.
The hours are 7-5:30 and they provide meals, pre-school
supplies, etc. The parents are only responsible for diapers and
a change of clothes.
I advise you to go to Bananas and check out the files for
home-based care and centers where you would like to place your
child. I am a home-based provider and I use these files to help
decide my rates, then I factor in things like the food we serve
(organic and homemade), our ratio, our education & experience,
and other offerings, as well as benefits for employees. The
variance in price usually (but not always) reflects a difference
in quality. Will your child be watching t.v. in care? Do you see
any swings or bouncy chairs when you visit (these aren't allowed
by licensing rules), is there outdoor space, if so, what's it
like? These are things to look for and ask about, as well as
discipline strategies and provider to parent communication.
Bananas has several handouts on what to look for in care
situations, and the files really reflect the going prices.
Infants, especially, are extremely hard to find placements for,
since infant care is VERY expensive due to strict ratio
requirements (typically 1:4). Good luck!
a toddler teacher
I was very interested in the question about daycare price ranges.
I just hope answers can be shared here as well as with the
parent who made the original post. I'm interested to see the
range of prices and the factors involved in setting a price-
qualifications, neighborhood, etc. What makes a person willing
to pay more? What do people look for when searching for the
right daycare, and what turns people off? I may be starting a
family daycare business soon, so I'm very interested in the replies.
Around $1,000/month is typical for full-time daycare (infants
through three-years-old), based on my research 9 months ago for
my sons. I didn't see anything even close to $1,900 for a
group daycare situation. You could almost get a private nanny
for that price.
Hi: I am a single mother and I am looking for a daycare that
offers a subsidized rate for people who fall in the low-income
category. I can not afford the basic rates of day care so I need
to find a day care who offers assistance DIRECTLY. A lot of the
places are refering me to Children's Counsel but I am already on
that waiting list and the wait is VERY long. I heard that some
big, chain daycares do offer assistance directly through their
school, going off income...but I know you can't trust all BIG
chain-style day cares so I am hoping to get recommendations of
daycares who offer assistance and other possible programs I may
have overlooked that can give me assistance. Can you PLEASE help
me?! I need to find one asap, my aunty who was taking care of my
child is no longer here so I need to find someone very soon. I
live in El Sobrante so anything in Hercules, Pinole, El
Sobrante, even El Cerrito, etc. Thank you!!
Have you considered Head Start? If you're at the federal
poverty level (or even above), you may qualify for free
childcare services through this federally funded program. You
can look up the closest Head Start program in your geographic
area and call them for more information.
Head Start Director
The in-home daycare/preschool that my children ages 2 and 4
attend raised fees this year by $80 dollars a month, this
is $160 a month for us. I have two questions that I would
love to hear back on, thank you.
1.) Is this in the range of increases that most families
are facing ? and
2.) Do most people get a discount for the second child?
Our preschool (not a homebased preschool) raised its fees by
over $100/mo from last year to this, so I feel your pain. This
is not unusual. But note that our school does offer a 5%
discount on the second tuition for a sibling. Ours also offers
a substantial (5%) discount for paying the year up front (but
with two kids, not feasible for us). The daycare we went to
prior to this one offered the same two discounts.
mom of two PreSchoolers
I think a $20.00 increase weekly per child is completely
reasonable, especially if it's annual or less frequent. Daycare
providers work hard and deserve pay raises too. I pay full rate
for my two children to attend an excellent home daycare, and
''discount rates'' seem insulting to an excellent provider. Quality
childcare is expensive, and that is just the reality of having
Worth Every Penny
I don't know about daycare, but my child attends a Montessori
preschool. My baby will join next year. The answers to your
questions w.r.t. this school are:
1.) Is this in the range of increases that most families
are facing? YES. WE WILL PAY DOUBLE WHAT WE PAY NOW.
2.) Do most people get a discount for the second child? NOT US.
Grim, but that's our situation too.
our daycare (blue skies for children in oakland) raised rates
this year for the first time in awhile (this is our first year so
I cannot confirm). our increase was $180/month from $2,110 to
$2,290 for infant care. i do not think they offer a 2nd child
discount, but i could be wrong.
Our preschool/daycare went up 100/year as it has each year for
the last two years. Siblings get a 10% discount.
not a money mama
We got a $50 increase from last year day-care fees (one child).
Yes, in the past we got a discount for the second child in the
same facility (now our older son is in Kindergarten).
Well my child attends a daycare facility and I am on the board there.
increase our fees by ~2-3% each year. Thus far it has ranged between $30
since the classroom fees vary.
Usually a discount is given for siblings e.g. 10%. I recommend speaking
childcare provider about this.
my corporate daycare raises rates ~4% each year and offers a 10%
discount for sibs. most home daycares seemed to offer the same
10% discount for sibs.
pricey being a parent, but rewarding too!
We're feeling squeezed financially paying for a full time nanny
for our 16 mo twins, and I was wondering what the going rate is
for daycare. There's some info on the website, but it's out of
Any info would be most welcome!
love our nanny, but going broke
I don't have much to compare, but at my son's home based
daycare (which we love) we pay $760 a month for 4 full days. It
includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, diapers/pullups,
and really wonderful care. Full time (5 days) is $950 a month.
love our daycare
We're paying $1,075 a month for fulltime Montessori pre-school
(that's 7:30 am to 6:00 pm 5 days a week).
I paid $780 a month (for one child) for a high-quality four-day-a-week
family daycare (8:00 - 5:30).
I live in Berkeley and recently hired a nanny. Although I did not hire a
nanny for twins, I did look into shared situations. I found that legal
nannies who are fluent in English, have a driver's license, a car etc.
charge $20 for two and up to $15 for one (the woman charging $15 was
not interested in two, so I'm not sure what her rate would be). Nannies
who want to work on a cash only basis charge between $10-12 an hour
for one and $16-18 for two. These nannies usually are not fluent in
English. One nanny who wanted to be paid in cash and was not fluent
in English told me her rate was $14/hour for one, which I thought was
well above market. I noted recently that after 4 weeks she is still looking,
so that confirmed my theory. Hope this helps.
I looked at the archives on this subject, but I found nothing too
recent or about part-time care. I would really like to hear what
other people pay (if they are comfortable sharing, of course).
I just moved my 18 month old from an in-home daycare that cost
$650/mo full time to another in-home daycare that costs $540/mo
for 7 hrs/day
550 for 20 hours, or 9/ hour for fewer hours. Lunch not included
(bring our own.)For a fabulous loving creative and exceptional
place, which otherwise I would feel this is too high but also
don't know the comparisons.
My daughter very much wants to work, but is having trouble with childcare.
She is a young mother with a five month old baby. She has a work opportunity
right now where she can make $10/hr. but is much discouraged by the $7/hr
cost of babysitting which after taxes are taken out of her salary, will leave
her with very little if anything at all to show for her efforts. She might as
well stay home take care of the baby and apply for welfare except, she wants
to work. These are such discouraging
choices. Does anybody know of any programs out there where young mother's can
get help with child care in order to do part time study or work?
I'm sure lots of people will write in to say this, but $7/hour is more than
the young woman needs to pay for good childcare. Many home daycare
situations charge $4/hr for taking care of a child as part of a small group
in someone's home. Our little boy (3 1/2) has been in a home daycare
situation during the morning hours since he was six months old, and he has
done very well. Right now he goes to a group care program that is very good,
run by a woman named Rosa Jaramillo in Albany. Rosa provides both breakfast
and lunch, and she and her helpers take the kids on little field trips, walks
around the neighborhood, etc. We are very happy with the care he receives
there. If you contact Bananas (510) 658-0381 (for Oakland, Berkeley,
Albany, EC, etc.) they can offer lots of names with prices and other
information. I realize that $4 is still a lot if you earn only $10 -- you
could also check into cooperative situations, where parents volunteer to work
one morning a week and pay less for the care. Good luck!
I have a response for the person asking about help with expenses for
childcare. Contact Bananas- they have wonderful resources and are hooked
into everything that may be available. Good luck.
What is the going rate for an occasional daytime/nighttime babysitter?
responses from Oct 2000
I've had great luck with babysitters. The one young woman we've had for
almost 2 years started at $5 per hour for 2 children (and my daughter was
still just over 1 year). We now pay her $7 an hour, since the children are
older and she has done a great job. We even have a part-time college
student that babysits occasional evenings (and has a car) and we pay her $7
now, but started at $6.
I'd like to put in a general note of advice for people seeking part-time
childcare since I've been in that situation frequently in the last 3
years. I finally gave up and am now staying with my nearly three-year-old
kids all day, then going to work after 5:00 when my partner comes home.
The turnover in sitters was taking too great a toll on my kids and they
were asking me every morning, "who's my babysitter?" It's quite difficult
to hire someone reliable who will stay with you for only a few hours per
week. I don't know what the solution is, possibly exchanging sitting with
another family with similar needs at different hours or hiring a younger
(probably high school) person who REALLY only wants to work a few hours
each week. This last was our solution for over a year until our sitter
went on to college. Beware however, sitters who want the job for only a
few hours (in our case it was about 7 hours a week) if they can't or
won't tell you just how they are filling the rest of their schedule. I
had THREE sitters (all with references)come to work for us and then
leave, since July this year, two of whom left because they found more
work with another family AFTER coming to work for us and then decided
our hours were no longer convenient or enough. The third spontaneously
decided to pursue classes full-time so that was just our rottern
judgement/luck. It's also very helpful to know the sitter's other
present employers if they're already working and their families etc. as
the more connections you have to their life the more responsible they
will need to be. Good luck. I'd love to hear any other solutions people
have found. --
From: Eartha (9/98)
Someone asked in the 8/28 digest how much babysitters charge. I
called Bananas which is a childcare referral service. The going rate
for an occasional daytime/nighttime babysitter is $5-$7 depending on
the area and the provider.
From: Ed (9/97)
I am in the midst of switching babysitters and will probably try to share
with another couple. Our previous babysitter charged $7.50/hr for a single
child and 12.00 for two. Other than that I have heard all sorts of ranges
for pay. I would love to know what other types of arrangements people have
to gauge what is reasonable and fair for compensation. Also since we are
paying cash, we are not able to take advantage of pre-tas savings plans for
childcare. Was this ever a subject that was addressed in the mailing list
or is there some info somewhere that would be helpful?
We share a wonderful babysitter with another family and pay her $7.00 for
one child and $11.00 for two. We feel that this is a bargain and would
have happily paid her a little more had she requested it. She definately
earns her money. She cares for two VERY ACTIVE boys of the same age (1.5
years) and has experience caring for twins (in our selection criteria we
were especially looking for someone with experience caring for twins or
more than one child at the same development stage.)
$12/hour for two kids??! At that rate I'd never get out! For the last two
years we have paid our babysitters $7/hour for two kids, and they've all
thought that was fair...
We paid our babysitter $6/hour for one child and $10/hour for two. But
lately it seems many sitters are charging $8/hour for one child,
$12/hour for two -- ouch!
I've only gone out a few times since Curt (20 months) was born
and only felt comfortable leaving him with a sitter he knew and
who has training for emergencies; we were lucky to be able to
hire a woman from Curt's daycare. It's expensive (for me) at $8/hr,
but it's worth it to me because I know she can take care of Curt in
an emergency-- as a daycare employee, she's had all the CPR and
emergency first aid classes and is up-to-date on them.
Re: How much do you pay a babysitter?
$5.00 /per hour for THREE kids maxing out at $20/ per evening.
A couple of extra bucks for fixing a meal or changing diapers.
Ours would usually clean the kitchen up while we were out (this
was not expected/required but boy was it nice!)
Home-based Day Cares & Preschools for Under-3s
I have looked on the UC parents web site at for advice on day care,
but it seems like no one wants to spill the beans on how much they are
actually paying. I send my 18 month old to Duck Soup in Rockridge and
it costs $829 a month. I didn't do an exhaustive search of east bay
day cares, but I think this is on the high end and I am wondering if
that is true. maybe we can't say the exact amount for some kind of
privacy reason?? If telling the actual amount is some sort of
problem--how about using ranges--$600-50, $650-700 and so on.
Also, over the course of the year our day care closes for all holidays
and a couple vacations. This time off adds up about a month off. I am
fine with this because I want our provider to have time off and the
staff to get vacations. Is this how other centers work? Of course, we
pay the same tuition every month regardless of whether or not the day
care is open all month. Basically, I'd like to know more about how
people are handling care.
I pay my daughter's daycare provider (at home) 10.00$ per hour (w/out
taxes,etc.). At the outset, it sounds like a lot, but if you do the
math, it isn't like she's rolling in the dough. And what she provides
to my child two days a week in invaluable in some ways (we love her
obviously). She is now charging others $15.00/hour and said it was the
going rate these days. Only you know if you can afford it. I know
that if we suddenly had to start paying our nanny $15.00/hour, then it
probably would almost be worthless for me to work even two days per
week....so consider that too.
I have a 7month old boy and we are currently paying $50 a day for
daycare. I was wondering if this is close to what I would be paying in a
shared nanny situation. If anyone is looking to share a nanny and/or has
information about current costs, please let me know. Jo Ann
From: Grace (1996)
When our daughter was about 9 mos., my husband and I started
visiting daycare centers around the Berkeley area and here's
our observation: regarding cost, they were all
very similar between $725 - 825 per month, providing either
lunch or diapers and all provided snacks)
Family day care (your child goes to someone else's home -- this is
regulated by the state and the caregiver must have a license)
seems to be $300-$500 per month.
The preschool my daughter attended (McGee's Farm) was on the high
end of the price range and currently charges $730 / month for full
time with no parent participation. I've seen it as low as
$500 / month, but those places usually have a lot of teacher
turnover because the pay is quite low (sometimes $5 / hour).
Our experience with home babysitting has been great. We are lucky
enough to have a home childcare dynasty across the street from out
home. There are two houses next door. The grandmother and motehr
live in one. The grandmother has two or three children, and the
mother works with Alameda County dealing with childcare issues. The
daughter has her two sons and eight other kids in her house. She has
an assistant. The two backyards are combined and it has lots of
play equipment. She has 17 years of experience, has lots of training
and does CPR training for childcare providers. She believes in
non-violence, maintains limits but is totally loving. Obviously.
we are very happy. Our daughter has been there since 6 mos., is
18mos now. Pam, who runs Harrison's Child Care provides a structured
environment - lots of stories, activities, preschool worksheets for
the older kids. Our cost averages $450/mo. for full time care.
My daughter is very happy, has learned lots of social skills
(including how to say please & thank you).
Another friend of mine takes her 2.5 year old to a day care home where he
has been since he was nine months old. The woman that runs the home
takes in 3 or 4 kids roughly the same age and gives them 2 hot meals a
day (she is state subsidized) at their own little kids table, back yard
play, "classroom" play etc. She charges $20 a day, or $18 a day if paid
What we pay our parents & other relatives
In my particular case I am fortunate to have my mother close enough by
that she can come over in the morning and stay with my 22 month old son
four days a week for about 8 to 10 hours a day. I pay her $400 a month
which helps her to cover her rent. This works out to about $2.75 and
hour. It's especially nice for baby and me because he doesn't have to
wake up and immediately get dressed and driven off to day care. My mom
gets to hang out in a roomy house all day, instead of her small
apertment. She usually makes meals out of food in my house but does
bring her own food from time to time. There is a park on the end of my
street, kids my son's age across the street and of course our now well
toy-stocked back yard.
All in all I like having my baby at home, he has comparably less colds,
(he's never had an ear infection) and of course he loves his "Nanny", as
he calls his grandma. I also give him plenty of opportunity to play with
other kids his age, and try to take him on regular outings of some kind
even if it just a walk in the stroller to visit the neighborhood butcher.
I would like to add that I am planning to place him in a
nursery/pre-school situation around age 3.5 starting part time at first.
this page was last updated: Oct 31, 2014
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network