Who can resist the precious look on a child’s face when they are smiling? Have you ever counted the cost of what it takes to see that on a child? It’s something that most people don’t sit around calculating but in case you’re wondering, someone has already figured it out.
The Center for Nutrition and Policy Promotion released their recent report on the cost of raising a child based on findings from their 2015 data. Be prepared: the total cost of raising a child born in 2015 for 17 years is an average total cost of $233,610 for a married family with two children. Costs contributing to this staggering figure include the basics of food, clothing and shelter with housing representing the largest expense which may increase as the family size grows.
Perhaps not such a shocker in the study was that one of the second highest expenses, rivaling food, is child care and education which is notably higher for children under age 6. The report tosses a figure of $37,378 for this expense for one child. While this represents 16 percent of the total cost of raising a child, bear in mind that it occurs at a time when parents are generally at the lower end of their earning spectrum, there are few if any scholarships or assistance to offset these costs, and unlike college expenses - absent from the total cost of raising a child - there is usually minimal time to prepare for this expense.
All of which brings us to these realities:
Brain development is at its most active level before age 3
Finding and affording a quality early education for children is difficult
Children from lower-income families tend to lag behind peers in academic achievement
Childcare Resources recognizes the seemingly unsurmountable challenges raising a child presents. Chief among these challenges is finding and affording the best early education setting for the child. The task is daunting and confusing, and sadly, placement may result in less desirable outcomes for the child such as injury or even in some cases, death. Childcare Resources is available to walk alongside parents in this search process to empower parents to make as informed a decision as possible to minimize risk while maximizing each child’s potential and easing the parent’s mind.
When one considers the staggering cost of raising a child to age 17 - not to mention the hours of lost sleep, trips to the doctor or ER, stress over the teenage years - and that’s just for a typically developing child in a two-parent, average middle income family, one may wonder if it is all worth it. Of course it is! When your child smiles back at you as they walk take their first steps on their own, when they safely return home after their first solo driving trip or walk across the stage to accept a diploma or achieve some other significant milestone, <sigh>, that’s payback. Parents and other adults in a child’s life have a lasting impact on his/her future. The earlier you can start directing children on a path to success, the greater the return on investment will be for both the individual child and society as a whole.