Parents are usually divided between sending their infant to child care centers, independent caregivers or leaving the new baby under the care of family members or relatives. However, for younger mothers whose parents are still working, and the relatives are working too, their options become much more limited. Most of the time, they will resort to entrusting their bundle of joy under the care of institutionalised childminding services. But, what about the cost of sending an infant to child care centers, which are usually higher than the cost of independent caregivers like a babysitter or nanny?
Infant child care centers licensed by ECDA
In Singapore, licensed child care centers are regulated by ECDA or Early Childhood Development Agency. The total number of child care centers are more than 1500, however, only 615 such centres offer infant care services. Infant care is meant for children between 2 to 18 months old. For children above that age, they can join regular child care centers and preschool education.
It is quite competitive to obtain a place in these centres for your infant, so you must act early to secure an enrolment spot. As of the second quarter of 2019, total enrolment at such centres were more than 6,300. Most infants stay there full-day. So what about the cost? Be prepared to spend an average of $1,563 per month as this is the average full-day fees, with the median of $1,364 per month.
Fortunately, Singaporean government is very supportive of working mothers because parents can claim subsidy from the government. The subsidy rate is based on household income. After subsidy, the fee may be reduced between $300 to $400 at the most for each family. An affordable infant child care center to consider is My Little Campus’: https://mylittlecampus.com.sg/our-services/infant-care/
Private child care centers
Other than child care centers licensed by the government agency, parents can also opt for privately owned ones. Even though a bit higher on the cost scale, it is still very affordable for working parents. Private child care centers usually have their own methods and techniques incorporated into their daily activities with infants.
We can say that private child care centers can be divided into community-based centers and premium centers. Cost of sending an infant to community-based centers are lower, between $1,300 and $1,700. Premium centres with international curriculum can range from $2,000 and $3,000.
Parents prefer child care centers because their children are looked after qualified caregivers and there is fixed routine blended with learning. The environment also supports infant learning.
Domestic helpers or live-in nannies
Other options for parents who prefer their children to grow within own surroundings, are to find a domestic helper or live-in nanny. However, there are many challenges to be wary about in such arrangements, especially with both parents working. Some says that this is more beneficial, including cost-wise, but if we burden the helper or nanny with too much house chores, their energy to look after an infant will be depleted and it negates the purpose of finding quality care for the children.
Hence, parents must consider every choice wisely because an infant deserves the best loving care from responsible adults. The caregivers can be any adults, but there is a non-negotiable standard called quality.