I’m not going to pretend like I’ve been an advocate for affordable childcare & early childhood education for years now, I’ve honestly just discovered how broken the system is. Before children, this is not something on your mind. There is no room for these concerns in your busy lives if you, one, don’t work or participate in some way with the childcare system or two, have kids. BUT when you have kids and you start working out your new responsibilities, it hits you like a brick wall! After recently being hit by this brick wall in my own personal experience and jumping in some crucial talks with #CareForAllChildren advocates, I’ve developed quite the fire for societal change on this topic. Let me tell you why.
We’ve been blessed in our own situation, that we have a close family member, my mother-in-law, to watch our daughter after I returned to work after just 6 weeks (don’t get me started on America’s maternity leave plans, that’s another blog post). And despite the amount of love and care Pia receives, my mother-in-law is not a licensed early childhood development teacher. Pia also lacks the social interaction while staying at home with a family member. There is so much scientific and peer-reviewed studies out there on the importance of early childhood education. A few things are:
Children engaged in early learning and childcare development are…
- More Likely to graduate from college
- More likely to obtain higher levels of income and professional success
- Much less likely to have issues with substance abuse or get in trouble with the law
(Found some studies for you to read below)
It’s important to us for Pia to have a well balanced mix of formal learning and informal playtime… so then why not just sign her up for preschool? Here’s where it gets ugly.
As we researched schools in and around the area, we found the schools that matched our desire for a structured education rather than just “babysitting” would cost us more than our mortgage each month… and that was just for ONE child. Affordable childcare should cost less than 10% of a household’s income, yet a majority of families spend 30-50% of their take home pay on childcare. I’ve recently learned that the US is 3rd lowest ranking for government assistance in childcare programs. In Denmark, couples spend about 10.7% of their income on child care costs; that percentage drops to 2.9% for single parents, according to the OECD report. I have several friends that left their careers to stay home to watch their kids as a result of the high childcare costs. They were simply working to keep their kids in childcare, and this is a problem, that shouldn’t be one.
During this season of Covid-19 we may run into bigger issues with our already fragile childcare system. With childcare nearly completely dependent on parents funding in the US and majority of parents not working or household budgets under strain, most of these childcare facilities can’t afford to stay open for more than a month, some no more than two weeks without funding. Australia’s government waived all parent fees during the Covid-19 pandemic for childcare. Where does that put the choices of quality and affordable childcare facilities when we come out of this quarantine?
It’s really become apparent to me that it’s not a parent problem, it’s a societal problem. It’s time for politicians to take action. For that to happen, here are a few things we parents, soon to be parents, supportive friends and family can do…
- Sign & share the petition here https://actv.at/7D7/
- Share your story, comment below or send me a private message, I want to hear everyone’s two cents!
- Send a letter https://actv.at/7CR/
- Vote. Period.
- Follow CareForAllChildren to see what amazing advocates and initiatives they are doing for all of us. Twitter: @RaiseUpECE
- Facebook: @CareForAllChildren
- Instagram: @CareForAllChildren
This post was sponsored by CareForAllChildren, but of course all thoughts and opinions are my own.