Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value

Trixie is back in daycare today after so far missing 3 out of 8 scheduled days due to stomach problems. That leaves quite a bit of room for improvement. No one passes out gold stars for a 63% attendance record. Our primary concern is for Trixie to feel better and enjoy her time at daycare, of course, but my next thought is, “What a waste of money!!”

Now, I don’t fault the daycare — we are paying to reserve the space whether or not it’s actually filled by a child every day. But the situation makes me think that there may be a market for daycare sickness insurance. You could pay a small premium to hedge against lost days. Or maybe it could even be set up like options where it’s tied to the calendar. Buying sickness calls at the beginning of the flu season cost more than in the middle of summer. Maybe they could even be traded in a daycare hedge market. Parents of healthy kids would make a killing as they sell off contracts to those whose children are setting new records in projectile vomiting. It might sound crazy now, but this time next year we’ll see Superbowl Ads — complete with CG talking babies — for DaycareHedge.com.

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23 Responses to Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value

  1. Abbycat says:

    Ha! Our experience exactly. Although it’s not so much Sophie’s illness that keeps her away (sniffles aren’t too bad), but our desire to keep her home (work schedule-permitting) because the daycare concept freaks us out! It’s a nice place; staff are great, but if she cries when I leave her there….

    Anyway, I like the idea of insurance. But the root of the problem is that decent daycares are in short supply, so we have to pay for that slot. Oh if only the grandmas lived closer…

  2. haeshu says:

    i was horrified when i found out this dirty little secret of the daycare world. we had an odd situation where david was doing some free lance editing on a random basis and needed childcare. we were lucky enough to find a great daycare that was associated with a near by hospital. since it caters to doctors and nurses they had a flex option, where you just paid for the days you used. it was kind of a crap shoot, they would set the schedule a week in advance, so on friday you could see what slots were available. we lucked out and never had a problem getting a slot and didnt have to pay out buckets of money for those few months.

  3. Jamie says:

    Better yet, you could sell your unused vacancies like unused airline tickets or a scalper outside the concert hall. Parents looking for just a day off from being parents could bid on them on eBay and ship the kids off when they win.

    Of course, any Day Care with STANDARDS might object to this random stream of lowest bidders who have no reason to maintain a good, long-term relationship with their children’s care-takers, but if it works for the government… 🙂

  4. lori says:

    It would be a long heading, but don’t forget…”Investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.”

    Loved the angle you took on this topic, but sorry to hear the daycare industry is taking advantage of parents. Well, taking advantage is a strong way of putting it…exercising the law of supply & demand to the fullest. I can see their side of it, but I also agree that you should only pay if they are actually “caring” for your child.

    Your option idea has some substance. Maybe they should give you “sick days” (like an employer) – 10 sick days a year where you DON’T have to pay if your child is sick.

  5. Heather says:

    So glad that my mother in law watches Kyle & I don’t have to deal with daycare!

  6. Erica says:

    Hi, I’ve been looking at your site daily but have never written.
    This issue with the day care is horrible, my little girl Audree goes to day care on a Navy base and they make you pay for every day, days the staff doesn’t work they still get paid also if we were to take a vac. we would still have to pay for those weeks.
    I hope all turns out well for you and Trixie is a real sweetie.

  7. Christy says:

    While a 63% attendance rate doesn’t seem good right now, it will get better. I lost count of how many days my son missed his first year, but this past year (2-3 yrs old), I think he only missed one day the whole year.

    So far everyone’s being pretty negative towards daycares. They work really hard to keep your kids safe and provide a fun place to be when you can’t be with them. Let’s keep that in mind. Sick days and holidays are built in to the cost of tuition. Day care workers deserve a good salary and paid holidays just like other workers. To keep the good teachers, you have to give them good benefits.

  8. Amy says:

    The pain, I feel it. Esp. since our little one is the canary in her daycare room’s coalmine. If it goes through the room, she gets it, with only one exception so far: hand, foot, and mouth disease. And I have to say, if there was something for her to skip, this was it! Dreadful name, wretched illness.
    I’m glad Trixie is on the mend! She’s adorable in today’s TPOD.

  9. benmac says:

    I totally agree with Christy. Let the record show that I am very appreciative of the work our daycare does. You do not want to underpay people who are willing to take full responsibility for your children. And it’s in my best interest that they are happy and rested.

    My point was simply that there appears to be an opening for a third party to come in and offer to absorb some of the sickness risk.

  10. Abbycat says:

    Mea Culpa–I forgot about the caregivers.

    I pay $115/week–and I know I couldn’t expect to find a babysitter to come to my house for up to 40 hours for that kind of money. Nor would I normally have any great expectations of a service that is so cheap (our daycare is open 6am-7:30 M-F and half day on Saturdays). So why am I grumbling?

    It’s just that all other baby expenses are $20 here for a sack of diapers, or maybe a one-time upgrade in carseats. But that $115 is every Monday. Sigh.

    I do value the caregivers; I don’t think I could cope with up to 15 infants 5 days a week like they do. But I sure do wish I could sell options on her spot on those days we know she’ll be at home 😉

  11. lori says:

    Sorry if my comment read negatively. I was writing completely from a business standpoint…and as a wishful parent (who, incidentally would pay for quality over cost when the time comes).

    I agree with Christy and Ben. I worked for years taking care of other people’s children and there’s a lot of responsibility that goes into child care. There also needs to be a high level of trust with whom you’re leaving your children with and that can be hard to come by…but they’re out there! I was a latch-key kid from K-6th grade and I was fortunate to have great sitters.

  12. monkeysmom says:

    I would love to pay $115 a week! Here in the SF Bay Area we pay around $1,000/month for infant care and $700/month for preschool, for full-time care in a good licensed daycare center. Our center is full-time or nothing, and we also have to pay when our kid is out sick or on a vacation with us.
    When our kid is sick and we can’t stay home we can hire a backup nanny for an annual registration fee of $225 plus $20/hour for the days we book a nanny. We hate to do this, but by day 3 of the flu it’s worth it to keep our jobs.
    Even with my complaints, though, I recogninize that this is a small price to pay for caring, qualified people to care for and teach our son. And even with the prices we pay, I worry that the providers don’t get paid enough. The high prices are mostly a reflection of real estate and business costs in our area.

  13. Christy says:

    We too pay $225/wk for our 16 mo old and $180/wk for our 3 yr old. Wow, $115/wk would be nice. I guess it all depends on the area.

    Btw, I’m sorry if I sounded like I was a real goody-goody accusing you all of not appreciating your caregivers. I didn’t mean it to come out that way and I agree it would be nice to have some kind of “insurance” to cover the sick days.

  14. Abbycat says:

    OK, so it’s “cheap” by the standards of anyone who lives in an urban area (I MISS the city; heck, I miss “up north”).

    We are fortunate to have a low cost of living where we live but, ahem, there’s not much to do around here. Of course, now that we’re parents, we realise that boring is good. Our small southern college town is touted as being a great place to raise kids, so I guess we finally fit in 🙂

  15. Russ says:

    LOL – I think you might be on to something here!

    We paid $185 a week for daycare when our youngest was an infant, but that was only for a few months (until I quit my job to be a stay-at-home dad).

    Now she’s in preschool, and like daycare you pay for the space not the attendance. Sick days, vacation, doesn’t matter. Plus the preschool (which is private) closes whenever the public schools close, so we lose more days there too.

    I know that’s just the way it is, but it still hurts to “waste” the money.

  16. Cara says:

    I am a stay at home mom and I would pay a premium to slide into someone else’s daycare spot. The daycares here on Kadena allow parents to “lease” their spots when they’re not using them: so you can essentially sublet your daycare time if you can’t use it. I think that’s a great option because there are a lot of us SAHM’s who would jump at the opportunity to get a day, or even a few hours off, even if it was on short notice. Of course you have to be registered at the daycare and all, but it’s a nice option. I don’t know if non-military daycares allow that, but they should. They’re getting paid for that child anyway, & it’s not an extra cost to them, it just avoids a quasi-windfall.

  17. Melissa says:

    Please no talking babies. That Quizno’s kid really gives me the creeps.

  18. julia says:

    I don’t think anyone’s dissing daycare workers. But there’s no denying it is frustrating as HELL to have your kid be home sick — in my case, reverse the numbers, Max has been ill about 63% of the time.

    I am a SAHM, and have my son in daycare T/Th, for MY SANITY and so he will not be inadverantly killed (kidding. Chill.). I really, truly, badly, deeply need those days, especially since my husband works 2,000 miles away M-Th.

    And did you get the part where I’m a SAHM? That is, we are doing this on one income: it is a huge strain to pay for daycare when the child is ill. And I just wrote about this today in Max’s blog: I don’t blame the daycare … I blame the other parents. I blame them because they work and so they don’t keep their kid home the one or two extra days they need to for he/she to really be well, so that when Max goes, he and everyone else (whose parents do work, and also must take time off in addition to losing tuition) gets ill. WHENEVER I drop that kid off, everyone is sick. Period. No, it’s not with fever or vomiting. Not trackable. Contagious, oh yes. And this is a very nice center. Don’t fool yourself.

    As much as my kid has been made sick by other kids in daycare, there is NO WAY a parent who works would keep their kid out — they’d be fired. Yeah, I guess I could foist Max on the center when he’s really too sick to be there … but I don’t. So screw me, too.

  19. Nina says:

    I’ve been thinking about it for some time and now after reading these comments on the costs and such I have decided…. I am deffinately going to open up a daycare!!! I worked in one it was a sort of sleazy one we didn’t get paid well and god the stories I could tell you about those poor kids and the horrible lady I had to work under who spent more time on the phone to her husband than watching the kids. I hated it, but fortunately I know they’re not all like that. I spent most of my preschool days in a day care that was run by nuns and I remember loving it!

    I’m glad Trixie is in a good daycare and not one like where i worked. I was just a teachers aide and that mean lady left me with over 8 infants and toddlers when policy stated it was 4 kids to one adult. It was sooooooo horrible!! My daycare will be run much better! heehee big bucks in that business i see!

  20. Our dilemma is that with twins it is twice as expensive to put your kids into daycare. While babysitters are more expensive than daycare, they are not two times the cost. We pay $15 an hour for a about a dozen hours a week of care: $200. Our kids are 13 months old. I don’t know what we’re going to do as we need more hours of care.

  21. miri says:

    I am a part-time daycare provider for one six-month-old infant. His mom pays me fairly well considering how little daycare providers usually get paid (I have a master’s degree, by the way, and earn thousands of dollars less than other masters-degree-holders–simply because I love children), and she asked me for 10 hours per week. I agreed and made that time available in my schedule. I am also working another job and going to school full-time, so you can imagine that this was not easy. Then, she said she wanted to cut back to 6 hours per week. It was quite an adjustment in expected income, I adjusted my schedule accordingly. Now, I have been caring for her child for 5 weeks (ten sessions at twice per week), and she has cancelled five times. She has not offered to compensate me in any way for this lost time. She also calls to cancel at 11:30 PM the night before, so there is no way that I can reschedule other work to take advantage of that time. So basically, I am giving her 6 hours of my time each week and getting paid for only half.

    This is a slightly extreme case, but it is not at all unusual. I’ve been a childcare provider most of my adult life, and not one single parent has ever compensated me for my time when they schedule me and then cancel at the last minute.

    I love children more than anything in the world, and I know that things come up. I’m willing to be flexible, but I also often am tired of how parents take advantage of me. I wish parents would understand how very difficult it is to make a living taking care of children. I could earn three times as much money in nearly any other field, but I stay in childcare because it gives me joy. I can’t afford to buy a car, I wear clothes that are more than 5 years old, and I can’t afford to buy health insurance. But even so, I take care of other people’s children because it is my calling.

  22. benmac says:

    miri: It totally sounds like the parent is taking advantage of you. At the least, I would expect the doctor’s office rule to apply: if you break an appointment with less than 24 hours, you still have to pay for the appointment. I’m sorry she doesn’t respect the service you provide. Good luck – I know it’s hard work.

  23. miri says:

    Thanks for your reply! I didn’t want to complain; I just wanted to point out the other side. I was also offended at Nina’s comment regarding daycare being a big-bucks enterprise. Even though there are bad, corrupt daycare centers (just as there are bad, corrupt businesses and people), for the most part daycare providers earn very, very little money or respect compared to the education and effort they put into loving other people’s children.

    Hope you’ll stay healthy.

    By the way, about the nap thing–sometimes at daycare kids nap/don’t nap even though it’s not their usual pattern. Although in my experience, it’s usually the other way around. I sometimes have trouble getting kids to take naps according to their usual schedule because their environment isn’t quite like home.

    I enjoy reading your posts! Good luck in your new venture.