Can’t I Just Pay for Childcare Later?

Can’t I Just Pay for Childcare Later


Is your childcare bill a priority to you? Do you pay for childcare first, or do you see it as an afterthought? Being a family childcare provider, I have had times in the past when it was super hard to get paid.

Can’t I just pay for childcare later?

Childcare is a super hard job. We work an average of 50 hours a week. We work really hard. It’s not glamorous at all, but it’s very rewarding. Time and time again I see childcare providers burn out because parents are hard to work with.

I have THE BEST daycare parents, I really do. I don’t have to ask anyone to pay me, they make a point to remember to do it. They each make me feel super appreciated in their own way. I know I am loved and I know I am respected. 

I have not always been so fortunate. Forgetting to pay for childcare once in a while is understandable, but there are people who chronically pay late and they don’t care. People think it should be fine, it’s not that big of a deal.

Can’t I Just Pay for Childcare Later

Childcare should be your first priority

Quality childcare is hard to come by and if you have it, you are blessed. The person you have trusted to care for your child or children is not doing it as a hobby, they do it for a living. When I get paid from my business, I pay my bills just like you do. Would you want to beg your boss for your paycheck every week, or do you like it being ready on payday?

You’re not going to be able to work for your company well if you lose your childcare because you wouldn’t pay on time. Looking for a new childcare is a big deal. It takes time and it’s stressful to find the right fit.

What you pay for childcare is mostly spent on your child

Every day I see articles about how childcare is more expensive than college or hear people say, I think I’ll watch kids and make a ton of money. It’s expensive to do childcare. Most of what I make goes back into the business. Personally, I don’t even make anywhere near minimum wage. I do the job because I feel like it’s my calling, not because I’m too dumb to do anything else or because I’m getting rich.

Childcare is NOT more expensive than college. Students attend college for a few hours a day, children attend childcare for an average of 10 hours a day. College tuition does not pay for love, attention, supervision, or any of the other myriad of things that childcare provides. We are even physically supporting your child. College tuition does not pay for any one on one attention, meals cooked, or other services such as diapers, potty training, boo boo kissing, etc. These articles and comments make me so irritated.

Your provider has a lot of regulations to follow and some of those regulations cost a lot of money. Having all of the equipment and paperwork to run the business takes a ton of time, money and effort. Your provider LOVES your child and puts their heart into the job.

Childcare is expensive

I do understand that childcare is a big percentage of your income. I know that it costs a lot. I know that it’s hard to pay for childcare for most people. I totally get that, I can relate. I had to pay for childcare myself for a few years and it was tough.

No one is saying it’s not a big expense, but when I chose to have my daughter, I chose to pay for the expenses of raising her. I really felt like my provider earned more than her money. I scrimped and struggled every week to pay her but I WANTED to pay her and made sure I did. She was a lifesaver for me.

Can’t I Just Pay for Childcare Later

When you pay for childcare late, I have to pay my bills late

When you decide to take my paycheck on vacation and catch me up later, I have to pay my bills later. Guess what happens when I pay my bills late? Late fees! If I have to pay late fees for my bills, I have to pay more to run my daycare and I’m losing money right and left. I haven’t had anyone pay for childcare chronically late in years, but I remember how hard it was to stay financially afloat when that happened.

Do you know what happened to me? One time, years ago, my husband’s brother got into a serious car accident. He pulled out on the highway in Tulsa and someone smashed into the side of him. His car was totaled. When I saw it, I was perplexed at how he lived through it. Miraculously, he was not injured beyond having glass cuts all over his body. No broken bones, he walked away. He was young at the time, and we ran over there to check in on him.

I asked him if he wanted to get something to eat and he did. We had to take him to A & W and use my LAST $11 to buy our meal because we could not afford a meal for him at a restaurant. I had 5 daycare families and NONE of them had paid me that week. If you think your check won’t matter, think again. It stinks being put off until later.

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If your childcare charges late fees, you shouldn’t begrudge that either. They earned them by putting up with your late paying shenanigans.

What it feels like when you pay me for your childcare late

If you went into work on payday and your boss said, hey, can I pay you next week, how would you feel? I don’t think you would want to work for them. It’s HUMILIATING to beg for your paycheck. Seriously, when I have had to do it, I felt like I was totally worthless.

I work hard for my money and I’m super glad I don’t have to beg anyone for my paychecks these days. My parents respect my business and appreciate what I do for them. When I had people who wouldn’t pay on time, I felt so unappreciated and like the hard work I was doing was not worth anything to anyone. I know it was. I know it was important to the kids.

Small businesses take late payments so much harder

If you don’t pay for your electricity, what happens? You don’t have electricity. If you don’t pay your car or house payment, what happens? You don’t have a car or house. If you don’t think it’s important to pay for childcare, you may not have childcare. Your childcare should be your first bill to pay.

Big companies don’t take much of a hit if you pay your $100 electric bill late, but your childcare provider, hair stylist, or other small business owner may not be able to buy gas to go take care of their hurt family member when you don’t pay them. They may not be able to afford school pictures for their child or FOOD for them because you didn’t pay.

We depend on our income just like you do and when it’s not there, it really puts us in a bind. We don’t make huge salaries to begin with. Obviously, we are okay with not being rich or we wouldn’t be doing childcare, but we do need the money we earn to live.

It’s the same as if you make a nail appointment and then you don’t show up, your nail technician has saved that appointment for you and doesn’t get paid because there is not someone else waiting there to pay them. They just lose the income. Childcare providers charge for your spot whether you are there are not for that reason. We can’t just not feed our families every time your child is sick or you decide to take a trip. It’s a business, not a hobby.

Remember that when you are dealing with how people make a living. Running a small business depends on having great clients like I have. If you are not being a great client to your childcare provider, think about how you would enjoy working in a place where your paycheck was late or you had to beg for it. Not fun.

Your childcare provider is waiting for you to arrive, ready for your child with her best foot forward to care for them the best way she can. Remember to appreciate that by having your money ready and making it a priority to treat her (or him) that way too.

Click here for some ways to appreciate your childcare provider.

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Can’t I Just Pay for Childcare Later

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  1. Jackie says:

    Love you post, I’m in that situation today, going to write the letter tomorrow, children are lovely, but I’m sick of having to beg each week for my money, and then she doesn’t even pay the full balance… not a happy bunny

  2. Joyce says:

    Thank you for your kind words. I always appreciated you and your promptness in paying me. I know that it was very difficult for you at times. Many times in my career of childcare I was made to feel like the low man on the totem pole with parents disrespecting me both in words and in having to pay for their childcare. Many felt they shouldn’t have to pay for days that their child didn’t come. Never mind that I was counting on that money to pay my bills. This was well written and I am sure what many childcare providers would like to say.

  3. Kayla says:

    Although I’m not a child care provider, I can certainly relate. People always want to get out of paying for those services. Thanks for speaking up!

  4. Jen Barbeau says:

    Very well stated. After 23 years in this business, I have not received a full paycheck in almost a year. This really hit home.

  5. Winsome says:

    Great article, more than 50% of my income goes on childcare because I have 3 little children but they are the first people that I pay on my payday. I pay them both 2 weeks in advance because without them I won’t have my job either. Plus I don’t want to disrespect them or embarass them by putting them in the position of having to ask for money.

  6. Awesome post! You spook for so many providers. Well done!

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