Before trusting your child to anyone's care, it is recommended to make sure they have the proper accreditation and licensing. The Bureau of Child Care is a New York institution that regulates child care services (public and private) operating within New York City. They are also an excellent reference to help you search for child care facilities in their database.
Types of Childcare Options
Some childcare options may be distinguished simply by their opening hours or management structures, and others by the curriculum of education that they use. Staff training can also determine the type of service available, as can the general needs of parents in your area.
In status-obsessed NYC, the best day cares can be very exclusive with waiting lists dating back to before the child's birth. Research and reserve a space as early as possible.
Different types of childcare services include:
- Full-Day care: This is a structured care service for more than 5 hours per day and may include a sessional service. Providers care for children from 3 months to 6 years. Some may also include an after-school facility.
- Session Services: These services offer a planned programme consisting of up to 3.5 hours per session (such as a morning or an afternoon). Generally, they cater for children from 3 to 5 years of age.
- Nanny - A nanny is a carer who works in the family home, sometimes living there as well. Nannies are the family's employee, so the family is responsible for all relevant tax and social contributions. To learn more about being or hiring an "Au Pair", consult "Find a Job" section.
- Au-Pair - Au pairs also live in the home, but are a bit different in that they are usually from another country and are best arranged by an agency to handle visa requirements. Au pairs are not professional child minders and will not be a qualified nanny. Although there are no set conditions to become an au pair in New York, American or European females between 19 and 30 are commonly preferred. Experience with children is usually required, as well as a conversational level of English. There are also strict guidelines on their responsibilities and rights.
- Home Childcare Centers: Childcare takes place in the minder's own home. A child-minder can care for up to 5 children under 6 years of age (including the child-minder's own). The service is usually offered for the full working day or for different periods during the day. By law, they must have a license and possess some basic CPR training.
- Drop-in centres: It offers a service for short periods during the day. These centres are often provided in shopping centres, leisure centres and accommodation facilities.
- School-age childcare: Services for schoolchildren can include breakfast clubs, after school clubs and school holiday programmes such as summer camps. Depending on the service, there may also be homework supervision, planned activities or a nutritious meal.
How to Find a Babysitter or Childcare Center
Most families find a babysitter by word-of-mouth and letting friends and family know that they are looking. Parents may also try posting on bulletin boards at community centres, grocery stores, or expat hang-outs.
Another way to find a sitter is through advertisements on community forums like craigslist, in the Yellow Pages, or posting it on expat classified's, like on Easy Expat's babysitter search.
In any case, before trusting your child to anyone's care, it is always recommended to make sure they have the proper accreditation and licensing.
Childcare Prices in NYC
The cost of hiring babysitters, nannies and Au Pairs vary depending on what part of the city you live in, what service is required, qualifications, experience, extra services required. Manhattan and Brooklyn are the most expensive when it comes to childcare costs. Also note that infant care usually comes at an additional cost.
- Babysitter – This is often an informal, occasional childcare arrangement rather than full-time care. It is common to hire someone more inexperienced like a student, and pay just 15 euro per child, per hour.
- In-Home Day Care - These facilities tend to be cheaper and more flexible than bigger day cares. In New York City, they usually cost at least $9,600 a year ($800 a month) for pre-schoolers.
- Day Care Center – These centers are usually fully accredited and can offer extracurriculars like art classes and sports, often for an additional cost.The cost of day care in NYC starts around $16,250 per child, per year.
- Nanny - A full-time nanny generally works Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Any extra hours, overtime and additional babysitting is not included within their weekly wage. Rates vary depending on the nanny's experience, how many children are in your family, the nanny's qualification and location. The average NYC nanny salary is between $15 and $20 per hour.
- Au-Pair - He or she will get food and accommodation provided by the family free of charge, as well as a small allowance in addition (pocket money).