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It Takes a Village

Many of us take the hit with childcare costs in order to preserve our standing in the workplace and allow our kids an experience that will help them acclimate to other kids, be exposed to different learning opportunities, etc. However, that is a luxury and rising costs mean that the decision will become harder and harder.

Costs are justified when considering all the things that go into running a competitive daycare / preschool. But what do families do when they can't afford the costs? Or how can you take advantage of these high costs long-term? Here are some generic thoughts from someone who isn't an expert by any means [me].

- We have to sacrifice just like those in this article []. Take some time to read the article, it calls out some very interesting things that many deal with when making the decision to pull out of the work force or continue to keep the kids in daycare. But here's something to consider, the sacrifice is a GOOD thing. We cut our expenses down wherever we could and we quickly saw how much we spent on things that were "unimportant" in the grand scheme of things. So now, when the kids enter our great public schools here where we live, we will have trained ourselves to live without some of these luxuries and we will work hard to invest all the money we spent on daycare in children's education / our retirement. We are already committed to knowing that we will not view the money coming back as a wind fall to fund things that provide short term benefits (sure we may want to add a night out in the mix here and there), but if you start putting away the money as if it never existed, we'll take joy in knowing we trained ourselves to "do without".

- We are fortunate to be able to afford daycare at this point in our lives, and know that many others have to make other arrangements. The scary thing in some of these articles is the potential long term advantages and gaps we could be creating between the "haves" and "have nots." If these kids in daycare truly start off life with a leg up, then how can we make sure that those who are less fortunate have access to these services? "It takes a village" is a common expression, but it is true. If businesses are smart, they will look to lure parents to their firms through creative daycare funding / programs. Also, perhaps there will be "co-ops" that start up with smaller independent care takers to participate in centralized activities that inspire collaboration and interaction with youths [Can't afford all the bells and whistles at other daycares, you still have options]. Parents can research these activities and help their helpers / babysitters (i.e., parents who help out, neighborhood baby sitters, etc.) to find these kinds of activities at libraries, museums, etc. Even if we don't have the luxury to stay at home OR pay for more expensive daycare, we do have the luxury to help find things that will benefit our children when we aren't with them.

-Technology should also be important for smaller "care providers" who want to interact with others. Lesson plans, curriculum helpers and other resources can be a touch of a button away on websites like Pinterest and YouTube []. Parents can help those who are taking care of their kids to find these resources and help make sure their kids are getting access to "more" rather than "less."

-We often want to complain about costs, but in many cases if you do the math, you realize that these day care businesses are NOT exploiting the parents. Overhead, training, and proper insurance, etc. are all things that drive up costs. But as a parents and as a society, we should be actively investigating ways to give all our kids the best leg up we can. And as employers, what kinds of loyalty can we expect from our workers if we are helping to make sure their kids get the best chances possible while keeping our valued employees in the workforce (i.e., longer leaves, in-house savings and programs, etc.)? Here's a link to Glassdoor's blog to see

some corporations that do offer child care services:

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