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Day and night: Increase cost of child care has parents searching out other alternatives

You've probably heard the cost to raise a child from birth to the age of 18 costs somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars.
Little did most parents know that a good portion of it would come before their kids even reach kindergarten.
The cost of childcare or daycare ranges anywhere from five thousand dollars to nearly 20 grand, with the latter number reflecting in bigger states such as New York. Even the low end of that spectrum is rather daunting for moms and dads who are just scraping by and earning enough to pay bills, utilities and make sure their kids have clothing, food and shelter.
Childcare is quite the dilemma for most families, more so than it was 20 to 30 years ago when a household could afford to have one parent stay home and watch the kids, while the other one worked a full time schedule.
Today's family doesn't have that luxury as typically both mom and dad work at least one job, leaving the role of day time child care to someone other than the parents, at least some sort of maternity leave ends.

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So what exactly are parents to do if they can't afford the high cost of childcare?
The easy answer is probably only a phone call away, and that is asking for assistance from parents, in laws, siblings or anyone else that has their entire day free to, in essence, work for free. Grandparents typically are the ones who seem more apt to take on this responsibility and most likely won't ask for anything in return. They just enjoy that time they get with their grandchildren. But don't over pursue too much of a good thing. You might want to employee the services of grandfather and grandmother a few times per week to help offset the cost of an entire five days of wall to wall, eight hours of daycare charges.
Maybe mom in law can take two or even three of those days off your plate to help minimize the cost.
In addition, one or both of the parents might want to turn to their place of business for help in a variety of ways. Often times, your job might give you the flexibility to work from home on an "office day," and some companies even offer discounts on childcare services locally in your area. Some of the more progressive organizations are starting to put together a child care barter system with other area businesses or even contemplate opening up an on site, in the office childcare service to really make things convenient for employees.
Perhaps you can be the one to put that in the suggestion box?
Avoiding paying for childcare or day care on some level isn't easy and, in some cases, is downright impossible. That doesn't mean you have to blindly except the sticker price or can't get creative to the point that you pay for and use childcare services on your own terms.

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