If there’s one topic of conversation that’s likely to bind parents together, it’s the cost of childcare. Scratch that – it’s childcare in general! How difficult it is to find, how much it costs, and how important quality childcare is. With more and more families requiring two incomes to cover their mortgages, and more women wanting to continue on their career paths after having children, childcare is a hot topic. Statistics South Africa recorded babies born for the year 2011 as being more than 950 000 – only 50 000 lower than what was recorded in 2006. Our birth rate may have gone down, but the topic of the cost of childcare will always be there.
Finding affordable, quality childcare is not always easy. Availability has long been a problem, though experts say that this is improving. The other problem is that new moms don’t always know what they’re looking for.
Essentially, parents want the same thing – their children to be safe and happy in an environment that is fun, educational and nurturing. It’s also important to think about the type of care your child needs.
To do this, take into consideration your child’s temperament, likes, dislikes, health, interests, behaviour, social interaction and need for individualised attention. You must also, of course, take your own budget into consideration. You may feel that your child would do better in a smaller home environment, but can’t afford the cost of a nanny. Look out for small day care facilities in your area, where small groups of children are looked after in a family home.
How much will childcare cost me?
The truth is that it all depends on where you live. Childcare costs vary from province to province and from urban to rural. The costs are not regulated. If you happen to live in an area where availability of childcare is low and demand is high, you will pay more. Suburbs close to the CBD of any capital city will always be in this boat, mostly due to land values.
Of course in South Africa, you might have the advantage of having an available family member who can step in to help. Most working moms are not that fortunate and have to rely on day care services. A more expensive option is to hire a private nanny, who may or may not be a live-in one. Prices vary and you’ll have to prepare yourself for anything from R1 500 per month for day care.
Try visiting these sites to find affordable day care for your child:
Gumtree - Child care education services - Day care
Whatever you decide on, make sure the service complies with the following:
Guidelines for Day Care – South African Government