How much does child care cost?
$100 – $350 average cost per week
$400 – $1,500 average cost per month
$5,000 – $18,000 average cost per year
Average child care & daycare costs
The average cost of child care is $400 to $1,500 per month or $100 to $350 per week for center-based daycare programs. Infant daycare costs $650 to $1,500 per month, while toddler programs cost $550 to $1,100 per month. Preschool programs cost $400 to $1,300 per month.
|Care type||Average cost per week||Average cost per month|
|Infant daycare center||$150 – $350||$650 – $1,500|
|Toddler and preschool center||$125 – $250||$550 – $1,100|
|In-home family care center||$125 – $225||$540 – $1,000|
|Preschool||$100 – $325||$400 – $1,300|
|Center-based before & after-school||$40 – $125||$150 – $500|
|Babysitter||$500 – $800||$2,200 – $3,400|
|Part-time nanny (20 hours/week)||$240 – $480||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Full-time nanny (35-40 hours/week)||$525 – $1,000||$2,300 – $4,300|
Daycare costs per day, week, month, & year
Daycare prices depend on the age group. Infant care is the most expensive, with costs decreasing as children age and become more independent.
However, preschools often charge more than daycare centers because they hire licensed teachers to prepare children for kindergarten.
|Child's age||Per day||Per week||Per month||Per year|
|Infant (1 to 18 months)||$30 – $70||$150 – $350||$650 – $1,500||$7,800 – $18,000|
|Toddler (18 months to 3 years)||$25 – $50||$125 – $250||$550 – $1,100||$6,600 – $13,000|
|Preschool (3 to 5 years)||$20 – $65||$100 – $325||$400 – $1,300|| $4,000 – $13,000 per year
(Sept – June)
Child care cost per month
Child care costs $550 to $1,500 per month for full-time infant and toddler care and $400 to $1,300 per month for preschool programs for 3- to 5-year-olds.
School-aged child care costs $150 to $500 per month for before and after-school care programs.
Daycare cost per week
Full-time day care costs $125 to $350 per week. Part-time day care costs $50 to $140 per week for 2 days and $75 to $210 per week for 3 days.
Commercial child care centers cost more than home-based family child care centers and may not offer part-time care rates.
|Days per week||Family child care center||Commercial child care center|
|Part-time 2 days per week||$50 – $90 per week||$50 – $140 per week|
|Part-time 3 days per week||$75 – $135 per week||$75 – $210 per week|
|Full-time 4-5 days per week||$125 – $225 per week||$125 – $350 per week|
Daycare cost per day
Daycare centers cost $20 to $70 per day. Home-based family care centers cost $25 to $45 per day and may offer more flexible scheduling options for parents needing part-time care.
Daycare cost per year
Most families spend $5,000 to $18,000 per year on child care for one child, with a 10% discount off the regular rate for each additional child.
|Number of children||Average annual daycare costs|
|1||$5,000 – $18,000 per year|
|2||$9,500 – $34,000 per year|
|3||$14,000 – $50,000 per year|
Child care cost by type
Infant daycare cost
Infant daycare centers cost $150 to $350 per week. Infants aged 6 weeks to 18 months need the most care and require one trained adult for every three infants, with up to six infants per class.
|Days per week||Infant child care center|
|Part-time 2 days per week||$60 – $140 per week|
|Part-time 3 days per week||$90 – $210 per week|
|Full-time 4-5 days per week||$150 – $350 per week|
Toddler and preschooler child care cost
Toddler child care costs $125 to $250 per week for children aged 18 months to 3 years. Toddler care needs one adult for every four children, with up to eight children per class.
Preschool child care costs $100 to $325 per week for potty-trained children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. A ratio of one trained adult for six to ten preschoolers is common.
In-home child care rates
In-home daycare costs $125 to $225 per week on average for one child. Licensed home providers typically care for fewer than six children, limiting the number of kids in each age group to provide a better balance of care.
A private full-time nanny costs $525 to $1,000 per week. A live-in nanny costs $700 to $1,200 per week, plus room and board. In-home nannies provide individual attention and often work more flexible hours than daycare centers offer.
Some cheaper alternatives to a private nanny include:
An au pair costs $325 to $480 per week, providing child care for their host family as part of a cultural exchange program.
A nanny share costs $350 to $600 per week to split the costs of a private nanny with another family.
Preschool costs $400 to $1,300 per month. Free preschool programs for eligible families are available in many states using government-funded programs or vouchers. Preschool focuses on early learning for kids aged 3 to 5 years old.
After-school kids care program cost
After-school care programs cost $140 to $400 per month for public school extended day programs and $280 to $750 per month for programs at daycare centers and preschools.
Summer camp costs $50 to $500 per week for full-day enrichment programs during the summer school holiday. Overnight summer camps cost $1,000 to $2,000 per week.
A babysitter costs $14 to $20 per hour for one child, and $1 to $3 per hour more for each additional child.
Overnight babysitters cost $15 to $21 per hour for one child, with higher rates for additional children or infants requiring feeding and changing through the night.
Daycare rates & fees breakdown
The following factors affect daycare rates and fees:
Child's age – Infant and toddler care is more hands-on, requiring fewer children and more adults in each class. Class sizes grow and teacher numbers decrease as children become more independent.
Number of children – Child care rates are per child, with most centers offering a discount up to 10% for each additional child enrolled.
Location – Areas with a higher cost of living have higher daycare rates.
Quality of care – Accredited centers that exceed state licensing requirements charge higher rates for their higher level of quality.
Hours – Most daycares are open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays. Some offer flexible part-time schedules, half-day sessions, after school care, and drop-in care.
Sliding-scale fees – Some daycares like church programs and YMCA centers offer rates based on family income.
Military discount – Many daycare providers offer discounts for military service members.
Pre-payment discount – Some schools offer a discount up to 5% for paying the annual tuition in one lump sum.
Absence and closures – Most programs do not offer credits when children are out for illness but may pro-rate holiday weeks and offer a floating vacation week at half-price.
Additional daycare fees
In addition to tuition, daycares may charge these additional fees:
Application/Registration/Enrollment fees – Most centers charge $50 to $125 for registration or enrollment fees for new and returning students
Supply fees – Many centers charge an annual $50 to $200 material fee to cover arts and crafts supplies. Others provide a list of supplies that parents purchase each year.
Late arrival fees of $1 to $2 per minute are charged for parents that run late picking up their child.
Late payment fees of $5 to $20 per day or more are charged when tuition is not paid on time.
Returned check fees of $25 to $30 are charged if the tuition check is returned for non-sufficient funds.
Frequently asked questions
How to save money on child care?
Save money on child care by following these cost-saving tips:
Ask your employer about enrolling in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to use pre-tax money aside to cover daycare costs.
Look for church-based, YMCA, or other non-profit child care centers.
Use home-based family daycare centers.
Join a co-op with other parents to share child care duties.
Is daycare tax deductible?
A portion of child care costs are tax deductible using the federal Child and Dependent Care tax credit. Tax savings are capped at $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for two or more children.
Can a daycare charge you when they are closed?
A daycare will often continue to charge you when they are closed for vacation or a public health emergency. Parents may ask the daycare for a reduced rate to hold their child’s space when the center is closed for an extended period.
How accessible is quality child care?
Quality, affordable child care is inaccessible to many Americans. The government describes affordable child care as 7% or less of annual household income, yet the average cost of center-based infant and toddler care exceeds this in every state.
Tips for finding and hiring a daycare
When searching for a daycare, be sure to:
Ask for referrals from trusted friends and family.
Look for licensed daycares with hours and rates that suit your needs.
Check their reviews on TrustedCare and Google.
Tour locations in person to evaluate the indoor and outdoor spaces.
Make sure the spaces are clean, safe, and friendly.
Confirm the class sizes, teacher-child ratios, and daily schedule.
Make sure the children engage in enriching, hands-on, and age-appropriate activities, with plenty of outdoor play and exposure to nature.
Request a list of references and ask the parents what they like and dislike about the program.
Visit the daycare with your child and see their reaction.
Get on the waiting list as early as possible, especially for high-demand infant programs.
Questions to ask
Are you licensed and accredited?
Are your teachers credentialed? CPR/First aid trained?
What is your class size and student-teacher ratio for each age group?
What are your hours and rates?
How do you handle discipline?
Will you help with potty-training?
How much time do children spend in free-play and outside?
Are meals and snacks provided?
How do you handle food allergies?
What enrichment programs and activities are offered?
Does your program prepare children for kindergarten?