Author Topic: Wife wants to spend lavishly on child care when our hair is on fire. HELP!  (Read 12521 times)

S0VERE1GN

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Help is needed.

My wife and I have done well reducing expenses, and we're getting reallllly close to a more mustachian lifestyle. in fact, I just started another thread this morning touting how we're close to living off of only one of our incomes.

however the evil advertisement bug has bitten my betrothed, and she wants to send our loving daughter to yet another premium priced daycare facility (twice the price of the one we just switched to as we moved).

I'm trying to explain to her that we can use that extra $500/month we're slated to save by going to this cheaper daycare to pay off our HAIR ON FIRE student loans, which absolutely need to go. between the two of us we have about $100k in student loan debt.


now, we're lucky: we both have good jobs, and my wife;s parents are rich for lack of a better word.  They give us the max gift exemption every year in cash ($14,000) because it helps lower their tax bracket.


I'm trying with all my might to explain to her that between that extra $500/month, the regular principal payment, and putting some or all of that yearly 14k gift toward student loans will make them evaporate in 3-5 years easily.  She is convinced that we'll have that debt forever, and changing our lifestyle to try and pay it off is stupid.


I've showed her the numbers, how paying off the Student loans is like giving our household a 15k/year raise, even told her that Its more important we do things with our child than to pay someone a premium to do that same shit.


any ideas on how to push her more toward the aggressive loan payoff?

S0VERE1GN

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Noted as correct yes.  but They aren't THAT rich :] so they cap it for my wife and give her a fat check,  helps their AGI, helps us pay down debt. win win.

homeymomma

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How have you convinced her to reduce expenses in other areas if she doesn't think that changing your lifestyle is worth getting out of debt?
That is really generous of her parents. Have you considered compartmentalizing their gift as "her" money to spend on high quality child are if she feels that is a priority?
Sorry, I'm a mom here. I stay home with our baby because it's a priority for me, obviously I'm biased because I'm willing to take a much bigger financial hit by remaining a one income family.
Perhaps your wife would prefer to be home with your daughter and she's rationalizing that using a more expensive daycare would be the next best thing? If this is the case, perhaps your mutual goal could be to get to a place financially that she would be able to stay home? That would be a huge motivator for me. And more tangible than getting the giant student loan debt (which doesn't affect your daily life) down to $0.

Good luck! Darn kids make us spend our money like crazy people. :)

S0VERE1GN

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Thanks for the input, and yes it is exceptionally generous of her parents, I'm lucky and proud to be a part of their family.

I've positioned it to her now (we debate stuff like this while were at work via email lol) as "pay off the debt sooner and then you can spend as much time at home as you want with baby number two and our current daughter!"  she's willing to entertain the cheaper daycare for the time being.

Also bringing home an amortization table to show her how much more rapidly the debt goes away with that extra $500.

mlipps

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Thanks for the input, and yes it is exceptionally generous of her parents, I'm lucky and proud to be a part of their family.

I've positioned it to her now (we debate stuff like this while were at work via email lol) as "pay off the debt sooner and then you can spend as much time at home as you want with baby number two and our current daughter!"  she's willing to entertain the cheaper daycare for the time being.

Also bringing home an amortization table to show her how much more rapidly the debt goes away with that extra $500.

I hate when people give unsolicited advice, so I apologize in advance, but I gotta do it here. I think you'd have a lot more luck if you talk about this in person that via email while she's at work! It sounds like a point of contention between the two of you, at least to some degree. I don't think you're helping your case by approaching it this way.

FIreDrill

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From a purely numbers standpoint, here is another way to think about it.  Assuming a daycare savings of 500 a month over a 3 year period of time.  You could invest that money into an index fund, and given a 6-7% inflation adjusted rate of return, that money would grow to 48k-57k in a 18 year time period.  Enough for a good in state college education for the child. 

Gin1984

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What is the benefit of the more expensive daycare?  What do you get for the $500?  We are trying to decide about moving our daughter (for a lot less, about $120/month), and the downside with the cheaper daycare is less toys and a smaller daycare and less exposure to other languages.  Maybe if you can articulate what is missing at the cheaper daycare, you can supplement it at home.

athomeintheworld

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Maybe more specific details could get you more specific responses?

How old is your daughter? How many hours/week is she there?  Can you adjust your or your wife's work schedule so she needs less child care but could stay at the facility your wife is more comfortable with?

You mention a second child - is your wife pregnant or is this planned for the near future? 

Very honestly good childcare is hard to find and never inexpensive.  This is one of the reasons I stay home with our daughter, though the primary is that I want her raised by her parents and not someone else. 

Thegoblinchief

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Freedom is the ultimate pitch. Good luck.

quilter

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Noted as correct yes.  but They aren't THAT rich :] so they cap it for my wife and give her a fat check,  helps their AGI, helps us pay down debt. win win.

Can someone explain how this gift lowers their AGI? 

TrMama

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Devil's advocate. Is there something wrong with the current daycare? Does she just have a gut feeling that something isn't right there? If the answer to either question is yes, then by all means switch. Good daycare is hard to find and it's worth paying for when you do find it.

However, if the answer to either question is no, then proceed with amortization tables, spreadsheets, timelines and other visual tools to help make your case.

If that doesn't work, delay. Say, "Honey, let's give the current daycare 3 (or 6) months and see how it plays out." Perhaps inertia will take over after that and you can just stick with the status quo.

Dee18

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"They give us the max gift exemption every year in cash ($14,000) because it helps lower their tax bracket."

Giving money to someone does not lower one's taxes.  (Having a dependant does, but I am guessing they are not claiming you, your wife, or your child as a dependant.)



Catbert

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Gifts don't lower your AGI or otherwise show up on tax documents.  They do, however, move money out of your estate.  1st 5million is exempt from federal estate taxes, but anything above that is heavily taxed.  Many states have lower estate limits so the tax bill can start sooner.  Also if parents have *enough* then gifting the money means they don't have to pay taxes on future capital gains, dividends, etc. generated by the money.

S0VERE1GN

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Noted as correct yes.  but They aren't THAT rich :] so they cap it for my wife and give her a fat check,  helps their AGI, helps us pay down debt. win win.

Can someone explain how this gift lowers their AGI?

you don't pay tax on money you don't keep if I'm not mistaken, you can write it off as a gift.

S0VERE1GN

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Gifts don't lower your AGI or otherwise show up on tax documents.  They do, however, move money out of your estate.  1st 5million is exempt from federal estate taxes, but anything above that is heavily taxed.  Many states have lower estate limits so the tax bill can start sooner.  Also if parents have *enough* then gifting the money means they don't have to pay taxes on future capital gains, dividends, etc. generated by the money.

^ also this.

Cpa Cat

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You don't pay tax on money you don't keep if I'm not mistaken, you can write it off as a gift.

I wish. ;)

Unfortunately, there is no gift write-off, unless it's a gift to charity (or alimony).

In the same way, the gift is not income to the recipient (you).

It's kind of besides the point of your entire post. But your in laws are probably just being generous.

MicroRN

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Is there something that is concerning your wife about the current daycare?  If she honestly doesn't feel your child's needs are being met, more expensive daycare is absolutely worth it.  Some of the expensive daycares offer better teacher/child ratios.  If it's a choice between a basic but good daycare vs one that does yoga for 6 month olds and all-natural, gluten -free snacks, some more discussion about priorities is in order.

alibean

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In my experience (I'm the one who does all the child care research in our family for our 2 kids), there is typically a huge difference in the quality of cheap daycares and more expensive ones- especially with such a large difference in price.  I've always been willing to pay for better staff to child ratios and quality of care.  I took my daughter out of a daycare where I felt they did not maintain proper ratios and I regularly heard the staff yelling at the kids.  (They went through some staffing changes in the time we were there.) I talked to the owner/director and saw no changes, so we moved my daughter to a more expensive daycare.  We chose it for the quality of care.  I can tell the teachers really care about the kids.  They have plenty of staff to help out in the classrooms.  The staff have excellent working conditions and it shows in the way they treat the kids. 

Rube

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We looked at a center/school for the first when she was an infant and I'm sooo glad we didn't do that. The only thing that held us back was $300+ a week. We ended up going with a home daycare supplemented by what's basically a once a week 'mommy and me' class through the school district, then pre-school. We are doing the same with #2. The new daycare actually does some sort of pre-school with the kids and she's cheaper and is very regimented.

Unless you have some sort of special interest like art, music or total language immersion or you live I a dicey area or have a special need, I'm a big fan of a friend recommended daycare.

T-Rex

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From a purely numbers standpoint, here is another way to think about it.  Assuming a daycare savings of 500 a month over a 3 year period of time.  You could invest that money into an index fund, and given a 6-7% inflation adjusted rate of return, that money would grow to 48k-57k in a 18 year time period.  Enough for a good in state college education for the child.

But how will their kid get into college if she doesn't attend Ivy League daycare? ;)

S0VERE1GN

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Maybe more specific details could get you more specific responses?

How old is your daughter? How many hours/week is she there?  Can you adjust your or your wife's work schedule so she needs less child care but could stay at the facility your wife is more comfortable with?

You mention a second child - is your wife pregnant or is this planned for the near future? 

Very honestly good childcare is hard to find and never inexpensive.  This is one of the reasons I stay home with our daughter, though the primary is that I want her raised by her parents and not someone else.


Daughter is 2 and she is in daycare full time. we both have full time jobs.

Wife wants to have a second child. My "pitch" right now is that we spend lesson daycare, aggressively rid ourselves of student loans, and then have second baby once they're gone with a MASSIVE bump in financial freedom.

I agree on the fact that good childcare is never cheap for sure. the funny thing about OUR situation is that our "cheap" daycare we're sending her to is a close friend of ours, and her home daycare service is really damn good. Not to mention since shes family friend its almost more like she's "going to Aunt Allison's" than goign to daycare. which I know I would have preferred when I was little.

The wife's concern is that Auntie Allison's wont be as structured as the high quality center's that have a full activity schedule, a more classroom environment etc (even though Allison has a curriculum as well) 

I agree with her, but I'm convinced that two (more) financially secure parents will equal a better home life for us, and will also give us that extra energy to take her to the museum or the park or for a hike ourselves, instead of paying someone else a premium to do that stuff for us.

Thegoblinchief

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I'm sorry, but when did 2 and 3 year olds need a curriculum? Structure and rigidity is the last thing kids that age need a lot of.

I'm guessing the home daycare would get them outdoors a lot more as well?

Hearing more details, I'd keep your child where she is HAPPY and LOVED.

S0VERE1GN

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I'm sorry, but when did 2 and 3 year olds need a curriculum? Structure and rigidity is the last thing kids that age need a lot of.

I'm guessing the home daycare would get them outdoors a lot more as well?

Hearing more details, I'd keep your child where she is HAPPY and LOVED.

THATS WHAT IM TRYIN TO SAY MAN!

my wife was saying a lot of stuff about how these are super impressionable years for learning things etc. and I agree with that, the brain changes more during these years than during any other time in your life ever....however I completely disagree in her thought of "getting her used to" the classroom early.  Keep her out of that shit as long as possible. I hated it, she probably will too. (my wife loved school, 3.9 gpa)

Thegoblinchief

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I'm biased, as I made the decision to homeschool even after paying for private school. Just not a great experience for MY kids all around.

It can be hard to focus them when the weather is nice, but seeing how much they absorb through unstructured or semi-structured play is amazing. My 4 year old (youngest of 3) has never seen the inside of a classroom and I've spent close to zero hours of structured time, but he already knows everything he'd learn in kindergarten.

avonlea

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Preschool curriculum is often not what adults envision it to be.

This is the preschool my daughter attended.  The children were engaged in play-based learning.
http://www.bloomingtonchildrenscorner.org/curriculum.html

This is a good piece that mentions what to look for in a quality preschool program.
http://families.naeyc.org/accredited-article/what-you-do-and-dont-want-see-toddler-program



alibean

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Maybe more specific details could get you more specific responses?

How old is your daughter? How many hours/week is she there?  Can you adjust your or your wife's work schedule so she needs less child care but could stay at the facility your wife is more comfortable with?

You mention a second child - is your wife pregnant or is this planned for the near future? 

Very honestly good childcare is hard to find and never inexpensive.  This is one of the reasons I stay home with our daughter, though the primary is that I want her raised by her parents and not someone else.


Daughter is 2 and she is in daycare full time. we both have full time jobs.

Wife wants to have a second child. My "pitch" right now is that we spend lesson daycare, aggressively rid ourselves of student loans, and then have second baby once they're gone with a MASSIVE bump in financial freedom.

I agree on the fact that good childcare is never cheap for sure. the funny thing about OUR situation is that our "cheap" daycare we're sending her to is a close friend of ours, and her home daycare service is really damn good. Not to mention since shes family friend its almost more like she's "going to Aunt Allison's" than goign to daycare. which I know I would have preferred when I was little.

The wife's concern is that Auntie Allison's wont be as structured as the high quality center's that have a full activity schedule, a more classroom environment etc (even though Allison has a curriculum as well) 

I agree with her, but I'm convinced that two (more) financially secure parents will equal a better home life for us, and will also give us that extra energy to take her to the museum or the park or for a hike ourselves, instead of paying someone else a premium to do that stuff for us.

If I ever had the option to have a close friend take care of my little ones, I would have done it in a second.  It makes a huge difference to have somebody who actually loves your child care for him/her.  Bonus that it's cheaper!  Also, kids at that age learn a lot if they are just included in every day life- helping to fold laundry, water the plants, cooking, etc. 

homeymomma

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Now that you've explained a bit more... It sounds more like a parenting style difference than a purely financial issue. I would choose a family friend over a structured classroom setting any day, regardless of cost. But that's my parenting philosophy at play. I suggest you talk to your wife more, perhaps look together at some research about early childhood development and learning environments, then tackle the financial issue (if there is still a disagreement).

S0VERE1GN

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Now that you've explained a bit more... It sounds more like a parenting style difference than a purely financial issue. I would choose a family friend over a structured classroom setting any day, regardless of cost. But that's my parenting philosophy at play. I suggest you talk to your wife more, perhaps look together at some research about early childhood development and learning environments, then tackle the financial issue (if there is still a disagreement).

we found a center that is regular school hours (730-3pm) and my wife has flex hours so she's going to change her schedule to match that better.  the cost is much lower as well. should be the right answer.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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I'm actually going to come out in favor of center-based care, but my kids go only part-time: There's a certain economy of scale that I think makes them more likely to do art projects and whatnot. Also they have their own fenced playground. "Curriculum" at that age can be learning songs, learning the names of your classmates, etc.--good home-based care provides that, but a lot of it does not.

MountainFlower

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I'm sorry, but when did 2 and 3 year olds need a curriculum? Structure and rigidity is the last thing kids that age need a lot of.

I'm guessing the home daycare would get them outdoors a lot more as well?

Hearing more details, I'd keep your child where she is HAPPY and LOVED.

And to back this up:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288

Unstructured play is what develops brains, not handwriting worksheets for 3 year olds.  You would be paying $500/month extra for meaningless and probably boring days for your child versus being allowed to play all day with someone who loves your child. 

My child is 4 and I purposely kept him in the play based center vs moving him to the popular, but more structured, Montessori program.  I look at the other kids who did move over (because my older daughter is in Montessori as a kindergartner) and frankly, they look  like they're not having a lot of fun. 

Also, how much outdoor time do they get?  To me, this is also huge when it comes to the development and health of small kids. 

Good luck!

MicroRN

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That clears things up a lot.  I'd personally opt for a family friend over a center daycare, especially with a huge price difference.  What if you took some of the difference, maybe $100/mo, to spend on additional enrichment programs if your wife is concerned about that?  At 2, they really just need space to play and be creative, but it wouldn't hurt her to do Kindermusik or something similar. 

S0VERE1GN

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That clears things up a lot.  I'd personally opt for a family friend over a center daycare, especially with a huge price difference.  What if you took some of the difference, maybe $100/mo, to spend on additional enrichment programs if your wife is concerned about that?  At 2, they really just need space to play and be creative, but it wouldn't hurt her to do Kindermusik or something similar.

my thoughts exactly. lets spend a fraction of that saved money on fun things that WE can do with her.

athomeintheworld

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Preschoolers don't need structured daytime activities/etc.  They need reliable, consistent care from someone they are familiar with.  You will do much better for your child academically and emotionally by focusing on meeting their needs rather than getting them a jump start on the rat race. 

Check out Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards.  Think hard about how you want to motivate your child.  I think most would agree we would rather have children with intrinsic motivation and a love for doing the actual activity rather than seeking achievement for external validation.

S0VERE1GN

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Preschool curriculum is often not what adults envision it to be.

This is the preschool my daughter attended.  The children were engaged in play-based learning.
http://www.bloomingtonchildrenscorner.org/curriculum.html

This is a good piece that mentions what to look for in a quality preschool program.
http://families.naeyc.org/accredited-article/what-you-do-and-dont-want-see-toddler-program

and see here's the funny thing: the premium priced preschool she went to before sounds a lot more like the "things to not have" list than the "things to have" list. constantly doing a million activities, our child was always mentally fatigued when she got home and upset etc.  and he wasn't being challenged appropriately either because there "just wasn't a spot for her" in the more "advanced" classroom.

I also completely agree that spending as LITTLE time as possible in a classroom situation is the best way to learn. many learning experts seem to agree (that guy who made khan academy did a long presentation about the death of the classroom)

OldDogNewTrick

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I'm sorry, but when did 2 and 3 year olds need a curriculum? Structure and rigidity is the last thing kids that age need a lot of.

I'm guessing the home daycare would get them outdoors a lot more as well?

Hearing more details, I'd keep your child where she is HAPPY and LOVED.

This! I'd place my kid at Aunt Allison's over some structured baby warehouse with 'enrichment' programs. If you want your kid to speak French, get a Rosetta Stone and start parley vousing yourself.

avonlea

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Constantly doing a lot of activities was not on the "to-do" list.  They suggested a balanced amount, not too few and not too many. 

I stayed at home with both of my children.  They did go to preschool but part-time.  My main point in posting those links was to try to show that preschool curriculum is focused on more than academics--social growth, emotional growth, etc.  And it is generally age appropriate.  (Sorry that I made it confusing by getting off-topic.  I have seen comments on other threads on this forum where people seem to misunderstand what a typical preschool curriculum is like and I just wanted to share what we experienced, having our child in a nurturing educational setting.)

I think you have to find what works best for your own child.  If having your wife quit her job works out best (what we did), that's great.  Having your child stay with a friend who cares well for her, that's great, too.  At an appropriate daycare center, also great.

Best wishes to you and your family in making your choice!

former player

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I suspect that your daughter has already got a head start with learning, because she has two intelligent, educated, interested parents, plus a secure and good daytime environment with "Auntie Allison".  It is highly unlikely that she is missing out on anything.

The high-cost childcare is at least partly high-cost because of the money spent on advertising and marketing - probably a relatively small part of the additional money you would be paying goes to improving your daughter's experience.

I'm against too many changes in a child's life - they change so much so quickly themselves that they thrive best on surroundings that don't change too much.  A single change to the cheaper daycare probably won't matter, but please don't bounce your daughter around between carers any more than you have to.

The best way to evaluate how good daycare is for your particular child is to carefully analyse how they are in the hour or so when they come out of daycare each day - are they zonked, too quiet, too hyper (not good) or happy, relaxed and eager to engage with you both and talk about their day?

S0VERE1GN

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I suspect that your daughter has already got a head start with learning, because she has two intelligent, educated, interested parents, plus a secure and good daytime environment with "Auntie Allison".  It is highly unlikely that she is missing out on anything.

The high-cost childcare is at least partly high-cost because of the money spent on advertising and marketing - probably a relatively small part of the additional money you would be paying goes to improving your daughter's experience.

I'm against too many changes in a child's life - they change so much so quickly themselves that they thrive best on surroundings that don't change too much.  A single change to the cheaper daycare probably won't matter, but please don't bounce your daughter around between carers any more than you have to.

The best way to evaluate how good daycare is for your particular child is to carefully analyse how they are in the hour or so when they come out of daycare each day - are they zonked, too quiet, too hyper (not good) or happy, relaxed and eager to engage with you both and talk about their day?

I was just talking to my wife about this. At Alison's she's a) more relaxed when she comes home, has more energy to spend on us, and is generally happier. 
b) learning more in my humble opinion as well! There she's playing with children who are between the ages of 6 and 14, instead of a group of children her age. BEFORE she went to the premium priced center, she was nearly potty trained, since she's seen no other child in their "group" doing that, shes lost all interest again.  the premium priced daycare, if anything, has caused her to regress!

not sure how my wife will took that statement, hah!

zhelud

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Although "Aunt Allison" may be a great child care provider, there are some advantages to center-based care vs home based care, and this may be what your wife is thinking of. For example, when Aunt Allison is sick, does she close, or care for the kids while sick? Do you pay Aunt Allison enough so that she can afford her own health insurance? What kind of licenses and certifications does she have? How many kids is she taking care of at once? These are non-trivial concerns, and addressing them properly adds to the cost of center-based care (at least, at a good center.)

Believe me, it is the cost of things like providing health insurance to staff, not the cost of providing organic snacks or yoga (or whatever people think is happening at "fancy" centers) that drives up the cost of a child care center.

S0VERE1GN

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Although "Aunt Allison" may be a great child care provider, there are some advantages to center-based care vs home based care, and this may be what your wife is thinking of. For example, when Aunt Allison is sick, does she close, or care for the kids while sick? Do you pay Aunt Allison enough so that she can afford her own health insurance? What kind of licenses and certifications does she have? How many kids is she taking care of at once? These are non-trivial concerns, and addressing them properly adds to the cost of center-based care (at least, at a good center.)

Believe me, it is the cost of things like providing health insurance to staff, not the cost of providing organic snacks or yoga (or whatever people think is happening at "fancy" centers) that drives up the cost of a child care center.

all good questions! Yes shes fully licenses and certified, and actually brings in "educators" once a week to do special learning with the kids. She also has a nutritionist she consults with for meals and so forth.

When she is sick one of us has to take a day with the little one, though. Not a major issue for us as we're both in finance, so we just log onto the laptops at home and remote in.

Thanks in large part to you guys, I have sold her on the idea!  Lots of talk about the extra freedom the money can afford us: both now to do things with our girl on our own, and later because our debt will be gone!

Thanks all!

athomeintheworld

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Congrats - sounds like a great change for many reasons

mm1970

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Now that you've explained a bit more... It sounds more like a parenting style difference than a purely financial issue. I would choose a family friend over a structured classroom setting any day, regardless of cost. But that's my parenting philosophy at play. I suggest you talk to your wife more, perhaps look together at some research about early childhood development and learning environments, then tackle the financial issue (if there is still a disagreement).

we found a center that is regular school hours (730-3pm) and my wife has flex hours so she's going to change her schedule to match that better.  the cost is much lower as well. should be the right answer.
I personally prefer home daycares as long as possible for the "getting outside" factor.  My older son did not go to a center "preschool" until he was 3.5, and my younger son will probably be 4.