What is 24-hour daycare?

Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

24-hour daycare helps parents who need childcare outside of typical working hours. Some children spend the night at the daycare or get picked up very late, but they aren't at the daycare for 24 hours straight. 24-hour daycares provide overnight care and are typically open on weekends as well.

How do 24-hour daycares work?

While most daycare centers have set hours between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., 24-hour centers are open around the clock, seven days a week. They offer the same services, curriculum, activities, and food a normal daycare center would, along with overnight and weekend services.

During evening hours, providers will:

  • Feed children dinner

  • Get them ready for bed

  • Put them to sleep

  • Gently wake them up for pick-up (when applicable)

Most 24-hour daycare centers have employees working one of 2 to 3 shifts, including a night shift. When touring or evaluating 24-hour daycare centers, ask them how many employees will be on staff overnight.

Is 24-hour care at a center or in-home?

You can find 24-hour care providers at traditional daycare centers as well as in-home daycares. However, in-home 24-hour care is relatively rare. Most 24-hour care comes from daycare centers because they have enough staff and space for it.

Who typically needs 24-hour care?

You may need 24-hour care for your child if you:

  • Work an overnight shift

  • Work weekends

  • Commute or get off work late

  • Are on call for work

  • Have a rotating or changing schedule

What age does my child need to be for 24-hour daycare?

24-hour daycares typically accept children from 6 weeks to 12 years, just like traditional daycares. For infants and young children, you will need to drop off any milk, diapers, or pull-ups your child will need.

How much does 24-hour daycare cost?

24-hour childcare rates vary depending on the location and level of care. Some centers charge per hour or day, while most have a weekly or monthly fee based on your child's age and how many days you need care. These prices typically include curriculum, activities, breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.

24-hour daycare cost
Fee schedule Average cost
Per hour $10 – $20
Per day $30 – $80
Per week $150 – $400
Per month $1,000 – $2,500

A young girl sleeping at a daycare center
A young girl sleeping at a daycare center
Get free estimates from daycares near you.

How to choose a 24-hour daycare

When choosing a 24-hour daycare near you, follow these steps:

  • Get referrals from friends or family members if possible.

  • Look for a licensed, NAEYC-accredited center.

  • Check out their reviews on TrustedCare and Google.

  • Schedule interviews with 3+ centers that match your needs, schedule, and budget.

  • Ask for a tour of the center.

Questions to ask 24-hour daycare providers

Ask these questions to find the best 24-hour daycare center:

  • How long have you been open?

  • What ages do you enroll?

  • What training or certifications do your teachers have?

  • How many employees are on staff overnight?

  • How do you handle discipline?

  • Do you follow a schedule? What does it include?

  • Have you ever had to manage any emergencies in the center?

  • Do you conduct regular safety drills?

  • Do you care for kids with special needs?

  • Do you have experience with dietary restrictions or allergies?

Find providers nearby