Childcare Options for Working Parents When Starting a Family

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re a soon-to-be parent, or are at least considering starting a family of your own in the future. As a future working parent, understanding the best childcare option available to you so that you can maintain your career is incredibly important. Fortunately, there are a number of possibilities available to you that support working parents; and in this post, we’ll cover some of the best options to help with childcare choices and costs out there.

What are the Best Childcare Options for Working Parents?

A private nanny or au-pair is a fairly common childcare alternative to a nursery for working parents. Day-care and nursery, family support, childminders and even creches are all popular options when you’re thinking about starting a family for the first time. However, managing the childcare costs of these possible services is something that is probably sat at the back of your mind. Don’t fret, we’ll run through the pros and cons of each below:

Hiring a Nanny or Au-pair

Searching for and eventually employing a nanny can be difficult, but if you’re able to find a caring and reliable nanny, the benefits soon overcome the stresses of finding someone to begin with. For you working parents that may not have thought about a nanny as a viable option; a nanny (or au-pair) is a childcare professional that will care for your children in your absence, in your family home for as many weeks of the year as you need. An au-pair is usually someone from outside the US or the country you live in, and it’s common for them to live in your family home.

What are the benefits of hiring a nanny or au-pair?

The main benefits for working parents are the one-to-one daily childcare your child will receive. Unlike in a daycare nursery, your child will be the sole responsibility of the nanny. Whereas in a daycare center, the employees will likely need to provide care and support for multiple children at the same time. The costs of a nanny are usually a lot higher than daycare. In fact, the average weekly costs of a nanny in the US is $766.

Daycare Centres

Sending your child to daycare is also a very popular option for new parents. One of the bonuses of daycare is that it allows you to introduce your child to early education or childcare with someone that isn’t you. Daycare will often help guide your child in their development, so as parent’s you don’t need to worry about the lack of development and interaction whilst you start working again.

Before committing to daycare as a childcare option, remember to consider what your requirements are. When you get back working, chances are you’ll need to know how much childcare a week or even as much as how much childcare per year you’ll need to help gauge what the best option is to support your new working routine.

Daycare is a great solution when you’re returning to work as it can help relieve the stress of not knowing if you’ll be eligible for parental leave. In addition, daycare is considerably cheaper in the US than hiring a nanny or even using nanny shares (sharing a nanny with another family). In fact, 58% of working parents find and rely on daycare centers when getting back into work; that’s about 6.38 million parents across the nation.

Family Support When Going Back to Work

Another alternative option for you when you’re returning to work is the support of your family. This is a great solution for you if finances are tight as families won’t usually charge you to look after your children whilst you work – a bonus for them is that they get to spend extra, special time with their grandchildren, nieces or nephews. This can work even better if you’re self-employed, but don’t have the time to keep an eye on a young baby and stay focussed at the same time. It gives you the flexibility to stay close to your new baby, but also avoid having to rush around in the morning or afternoon dropping off or collecting them from daycare.

Supporting children in their own home will also allow them to increase their confidence around the house. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they develop without the support that daycare or many nurseries may offer.

What do you do when you have no childcare for work?

Don’t panic. There are many reliable, registered babysitters in the area to help you if you’re let down at the last minute. Alternatively, a cheaper and more trustworthy option would be to see if a family member is available at short notice whilst you’re able to arrange alternative care for your child as working parents.

You could also look at local school clubs or breakfast clubs as a short term option. They’ll have qualified carers and be able to keep them entertained and provide meals throughout the day whilst you work.

Things to Consider as Working Parents


One of the key considerations for new parents is costs. Unlike in other countries around the world, childcare costs in the US aren’t cheap, nor free in some cases. In preparation for your new child, it’s advised that you start to build up a savings pot to help cover the costs of childcare. This isn’t something you should take lightly either as childcare in the US varies anywhere from $192 to $766 per week!

Maternity and Paternity Leave Entitlement

Speak to your employers to understand exactly what the maternity and paternity policy is. This is sometimes referred to as parental leave or family leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for parents of newborn or newly adopted children if they work for a company with 50 or more employees. So factor this into your planning when you want to start a family.

So what’s best for us when we want to start a family?

It’s important to remember that there are a number of options out there for you. It’s important to figure out what suits your needs best. That may be finding someone that’s looking for nanny jobs, the flexibility of a professional daycare center, or even the added trust and reliability of a family member to help you look after your children whilst you return to work.