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Monday, June 7, 2010

Edition 23: Working Moms Can Save On Child Care

Katherine Lewis
The cost of child care shocks most new working moms. In many cities, spending on the child care can be as costly as paying an adult’s college fees. Here are 10 ideas for lowering your child care cost.

Just as you compare the price of apples in the supermarket, you should take into account the cost of child care. I’m not saying that price is the only factor, but it must be weighed.
I admit, when I was first choosing child care, I was focused on finding a place where I was comfortable leaving my precious baby -- and that should be your top priority as well.
But now that I’m a savvier mom, I make sure to pay attention to our daycare and preschool prices and how they change.

Babysitting Cooperative
When my first baby was born, I joined a new mother’s group at the local birthing center. Every Wednesday morning we sat with our babies at our feet, comparing sleep techniques, sharing breastfeeding woes, and gradually helping each other become comfortable in our new role. I stayed close with several of the moms after returning to work, and we decided to start a babysitting cooperative.
If there’s no babysitting coop in your neighborhood, start one! Invite other parents in your child’s daycare center or preschool. It’s important that each member is comfortable with the other adults’ parenting styles and trusts that they’ll keep her children safe.

Maybe you've found the ideal daycare center for your needs, but the cost is too steep. Ask the director if they need any part-time assistance in the office that might win you a tuition discount.
If you have a special skill like accounting or fundraising, even better. But there's always more filing to be done, and parents to call about the wait list. You'll never know unless you ask Or with other parents, you can simply swap babysitting. You watch their kids this Saturday night; they watch your children the following one.
If you have an only child, a babysitting swap can be even easier than just caring for your own kid, because they play together.

Enlist Family Members
If you’re lucky enough to live near your child’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles, ask them if they’d be able to watch your offspring one or two days a week.
For far-off relatives, consider whether they might visit for a month in the summer to care for your little ones. Or if your children are old enough, send them to your relative’s for a week or two. You might enjoy the novelty of a quiet house at the end of the work day.

Neighborhood Children
My husband and I love the 11-year old girls in our neighborhood. They adore babies and preschoolers, and consider it an honor to spend a couple of hours playing with them while we have a meeting in our home or get some work done.
We would never leave a mother’s helper alone with our children. But she keeps the kids occupied enough for us to attend to things that require undivided focus. Teens certainly have more energy for active play than a lot of adult babysitters! Once in a while, their moms have even volunteered to come over and supervise.
We hope that as these helpers grow up and become more responsible, they’ll continue to babysit. It’s such a relief to leave the girls with a babysitter they’ve known for years.

Girls, Be Cautious Of Boyfriends!
With rise in cases of young girls being exploited by their male friends, State Commission for Women in Assam has asked all college-goers to be careful while being in a relationship. "This is a serious matter and a new trend in Orissa.
We will sensitise girls through a state-wide campaign," SCW Chairperson Jyoti Panigrahi told reporters. During the campaign the girls will be told to be careful while being in a relationship with boy, she said.
The initiative comes in the wake of a number of girls, committing suicide or attempting to end their lives after being ''blackmailed'' by their boyfriends. A 22-year-old girl committed suicide last year in Cuttack after she found her objectionable pictures in a CD allegedly made by her male friend. He was later arrested by police.

Three more girls fell victim to pornographic CD racket in Dhenkanal district last month. A similar incident came to light in Balangir district. In all the cases, the boys were in "relationship" with the girls, Panigrahi said.
In a message to parents, the SCW of Orissa chairperson also advised them to be friendly with their growing daughters so that they can openly discuss about their acquaintances, friends and relationships.

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