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Childcare costs are one of the many expenses that are spiraling out of control. But unlike energy and food, it isn’t getting the same amount of press. Yet it should. But don’t worry if you are struggling. Because there are some easy ways you can access resources for child care. Most of them are low-cost or free. But there are always plenty of options available to you.
Online Resources and Documents
Many communities have local parenting websites or blogs that provide information about childcare providers and other family-related resources in the area. Some even offer handy guides you can download. These are often Word or PDF documents. See here (https://setapp.com/how-to/cant-edit-pdf-files-in-mac-preview) if you have trouble with digital files. Also, there are websites for child care, such as Care.com, Sittercity, and UrbanSitter.
Your Government May Offer Resources for Child Care
Costs for child care are high. In the UK, it costs an average of £225 per week to care for a child. This is too much for many parents. But many countries, like the UK, have government-funded programs that help low-income families and those with special needs pay for child care. To find out what programs are available in your area, check with your local government office. There might be money out there that you don’t even know about to help pay for your child care.
Nonprofits Organizations and Charities
There are a lot of nonprofit organizations that offer help with child care, such as referrals, subsidies, and classes on how to be a good parent. You can ask places like the United Way, the YMCA, or community centers what programs they have. Also, in the United States, there are agencies that help parents find childcare providers at the state level. You can look for more information online at your community website or pop into your local community center.
Benefits as an Employee
Some employers in many countries, like the US and UK, offer child care benefits like flexible work hours or help to pay for child care. So, you should always ask your HR department what options are available. Some employers even offer on-site childcare facilities. And if your employer doesn’t offer child care benefits already, you might be able to ask for them to be added as part of the company’s overall benefits for parents. It just might be worth a shot.
Your Children’s School
Some schools have activities for kids after school or camps during the summer that can help with child care. If you are busy or a single parent, these can be a huge help. Some of these programs might also give kids breakfast, and snacks, and help with their homework:
- Programs that take care of your kids before and after school while you are at work.
- Activities outside of the school day, like chess club or technology classes.
- If your child is falling behind in school, they can do extra studies to catch up.
- Extra classes that help your children learn more about a subject.
- Getting kids involved in the community and getting them outside into nature.
- Child health and fitness programs to help kids get fitter and socialize with others.
- Skills classes like Scouts and Guides give students something to work towards.
Many schools also let parents sign their kids up for summer camps that offer child care during the summer. There might be a variety of things to do at these camps, like sports, arts and crafts, and field trips. They are also a big part of making friends and getting along with people.
Support from Friends and Family
If you’re feeling stressed, you could ask friends or family members if they can watch your kids sometimes or if they know of any good babysitters in your area. Friends and family can be a great way to find someone to watch your kids. But it’s important to make sure everyone knows what to expect, so there aren’t any misunderstandings or problems. For example, if your friends or family will have to pay money or lose time, talk to them about adequate payment right away.
Help from Your Local Community
Most places in the community, like libraries and parks, offer free or cheap things for kids to do. So check with your local community center to find out what choices you have. For example, kids can do things like sports programs, art classes, and summer camps for free or at a low cost in parks and recreation centers. Additionally, some museums and science centers have educational programs for kids after school that are free to access or often cost very little.
Specialist Providers Offer Resources for Child Care
You should always look into local childcare providers, like daycare centers, nannies, and care that comes to your home. Before making a choice, you should make sure to read reviews and check references. Some people are more trustworthy than others. Think about what kind of child care you need before you start looking. For example, do you need care all the time or just some of the time? And if you can, go to the childcare provider in person to check out the place.
Parenting and Children’s Groups
Lastly, you can always join a group or forum for parents to meet other parents and share information and tips about child care in your area. Talking to other parents is a great way to get help. And they can often tell you about places to find child care, classes for parents, and other resources in your area. But being part of a supportive community can also make you feel less alone and more connected to people who understand what you’re going through as a parent.
You might be feeling the stresses and strains of finding good, affordable child care. Yet there are a few ways you can access resources for child care. You can use online resources from various sites. You can also enquire about extra school activities and find support from parenting groups.
This is a contributed post.