You want to give your child the world. But the unfortunate reality is that sometimes your finances limit your child care options. Here are a few things you can consider to make quality childcare more affordable for your family.
How Much Does Child Care Cost?
There are several options when deciding what type of child care you want for your little ones. Although the average monthly costs in Calgary hover near $1000 per month, there are ways to diminish the overall financial impact on your family. As over 60% of young children participate in care outside of their own homes, the government has programs to assist new parents.
Be aware that there are many ways to make daily care costs effective and approachable within your budget. The decision to enroll your child with a daily provider does not need to be a financial burden. Decide what service is best for you and your child, and understand the programs and resources that can help.
What Type of Care Do I Want for My Child?
This type of child care is focused on the interaction between children of the same age. Services can include care for infants, toddlers, and young children making the transition to Kindergarten.
Daycares have an emphasis on activity, and parents can expect more caregivers at the facility. The daily structure mimics the experience at most public schools.
Daycares are licensed and regulated in Alberta and must all comply with current standards and practices.
Dayhomes resemble more of a family setting, in which a variety of age groups may coexist in a shared space. Your child will be in the provider’s own home when under their care. A caregiver’s own children may be present, but with a maximum of 6 children total.
This type of service may offer before and after school programs. Registered dayhomes are licensed just like daycares, but you will also find private child care providers operating outside of the officially designated provincial dayhome category.
Early educational programs are designed for children between the ages of 2-6. There is an emphasis on learning and academics that will mirror some of the processes in Kindergarten and beyond. Also known as Early Childhood Services (ECS), these centres administer a curriculum to help prepare young children for traditional learning methods that they will encounter later in life.
Before & After School Care
Before and after school care programs are designed for school-aged children (ages 5-12). These types of programs typically operate for a few hours before school begins and a few hours after school ends, giving parents time to start and end their workdays on time. Usually, before and after school care will take place in or near a child’s school and include a variety of activities and homework help to keep kids engaged.
Child Care Subsidies
Child care is one of the most important decisions you can make in your child’s early development. It is important to know that financial assistance aids exist at both a provincial and federal level.
Government of Alberta
Depending on your income, Alberta families are eligible for subsidies to balance the cost of child care. Although monthly prices can vary according to location and expectations, Alberta’s Government has an actively-updated list of child care facilities available for less than $25 a day.
Financial assistance can be provided for Alberta families in need of a child care subsidy. In fact, subsidy rates increased as of August, 1, 2020. Review and complete the Government of Alberta’s Child Subsidy Application to evaluate your own eligibility and decrease week-to-week child care costs.
Government of Canada
The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has programs in place to recognize and assist parental financial obligations. Gaining access and understanding of the resources available can significantly make child care more affordable and less stressful. The following provisions set forth by the government are designed to help families cope with the costs associated with child care.
- Canada Child Benefit (CCB): This is a financial benefit available to families raising children under 18 in Canada. This is a tax-free monthly benefit that can assist with your child care costs consistently.
- Income Deductible: Child care costs are a legitimate tax-deductible in accordance with the CRA. Take full advantage of the provisions set out by the government to reduce your income taxes and minimize your net costs.
Understanding Your Bottom Line
Make child care more affordable with 2 simple principles:
1. Work With Your Government
Get the most from social assistance by applying and inquiring about all the programs you may be eligible for. This online calculator will help estimate your potential child care subsidy.
2. Find the Child Care Provider That Works Within Your Budget
Stay aware that there are many child care options available, be it a dayhome, daycare, or preschool. Depending on your budget and your child’s individual needs, find the right and responsible provider that allows affordable care for your child.