Are Infants Worth More to You Than Preschoolers?

6a0133f3fc5805970b015432ff6f73970c-320wiAcross the county family child care providers tend to charge less as the children in their care grow older. Preschool rates are lower than toddler rates which are lower than infant rates.

The question is: why?

I posed this question on my Facebook page and received a lot of feedback that was split pretty evenly between providers who lowered their rates as children got older and those who charged the same rate regardless of age.

Why do providers charge less as the children grow older?

* “Babies are harder to care for.”

* “Because everyone else in my area does it. I’d love to change to a set weekly rate, but I don’t think parents would stick around if I did.”

* “Infants require a lot of equipment and more direct attention and are a higher risk.”

* “I can only care for two infants and infants are in high demand.”

Why do providers charge the same rates regardless of age?

* “I have done this for years but have no idea as to why!”

* ” Every age has their challenges.”

* “I feel that a two or three year old is still taking up a spot just like a six month old, so why charge older children less?”

* “Babies do require extra care, but as a child gets older she needs more constant interaction. Older children eat more food and tend to break toys more frequently.”

There is no right or wrong way to charge for your services. Probably the most important factor driving higher rates for infants is that infant spaces are harder to find and therefore parents will pay more for infant care.

Regardless of how child care provider charge for their services they tend not to raise their rates much from year to year. This is a shame, considering how hard you work and how much additional knowledge and skills you acquire over the years.

How do you set your rates and why do you do what you do?

Tom Copeland –

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Contracts & Policies book For more information on creating a contract, see my book Family Child Care Contracts and Policies.




Marketing smallFor more information on how to set your rates, see my book Family Child Care Marketing Guide.

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3 replies

  1. The rate is higher for infants at my daycare because infants require one on one care consistently throughout the day. That means that payroll goes up. It’s that simple.

  2. There is a two-fold reason why I charge more for infants. The first is because licensing regulations in my state require a lower staff/child ratio, the more infants you have in your care. So, if I have 3 children under age 2, it eliminates an entire full time spot. My ratio goes down from 7 children to 6, and so on. After age 2, my rates drop each year. I do this as extra incentive for parents to stay with me. With so many public options now for ages 3 and up, I think many parents are drawn to the idea of getting their child out of daycare as soon as possibl to eliminate that extra cost. I love the kids so much by the time they are 3 or 4, I almost want to pay the parents to keep them with me! ALMOST. 😉

  3. I am in NYC and own a group family daycare. While I would love to care for infants, I dont because it reduces the overall # of children I can have in my program which consequently reduces my revenue. My rates are good for September to august the following year and my agreement states that. Upon interview/registration, i do tell parents that our rates are increased every September. I send out the renewal agreements with higher rates about a month or 2 before it goes into effect. Rates increase anywhere from $5-$7 a week. I believe that if you provide a quality program with additional perks (i.e. a preschool curriculum, backyard, trained staff) and parents value the care you give to their children they will not object to your increased rate. If they do, tell them you need to increase your rate to maintain a quality program and a living.

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