BBB offers tips on finding the right child care provider
Whether you have a 2-year-old or a 12 year-old, child care can be expensive. But you don't want to cut corners.
"It's going into preschool, going into day care, child care services, and they can be very costly, so you want to make sure that you're spending your money wisely," says Better Business Bureau Chief Marketing Officer Paula Fleming.
The average family spends $20,000 for infant care in Massachusetts, according to Child Care Aware. It's not much better in Rhode Island at $13,000.
And the costs keep coming, even as kids head off to school.
Fleming says, it's a double-edged sword. You don't want to spend too much, but you need a child care provider you can trust.
"First I always say, ask friends, because if they've had positive experiences, that's one step," says Fleming. "Second, you can always go to BBB.org, we've got a list of accredited day care providers, and also going to the facility prior to signing your child up."
Once you've found the right provider, ask about family discounts.
"If you have two, three, four, children and they all go to the same day care, they will often cut or discount the cost," says Fleming.
Depending on your income, you may also qualify for tax credits or government assistance.
"Some of the larger facilities, some preschools, will offer you help financially, but it's up to you as the parent to go seek that help out," says Fleming.
If you're looking for a nanny or baby-sitter, you can find a list of accredited service providers on BBB.org.
When it comes to after school care, Fleming says there's probably an affordable option close to home.
"There are great programs put on at the YMCAs across New England, but at schools, they do provide after school program depending on what town or city you live in," she says.
Act fast though – these programs can fill up quickly.