How To Find Affordable Daycare and Preschool Options in the Windy City

Written by Eric · 3 min read >
How To Find Affordable Daycare

Finding an affordable daycare or preschool in Chicago has become a challenge as childcare (enrollment in early education institutions) has become quite pricey for many families. As a result, more parents are choosing to leave their young kids in the care of babysitters or family members. Meanwhile, other parents are letting their kids skip preschool and opting to enroll them in kindergarten once they’re old enough to attend. These choices, while sadly sometimes necessary, can put growing students at a disadvantage. 

Early education plays a huge role in the development of young children. Kids learn social, reading, math, and language skills in preschools and daycare centers. Equally importantly, early education teaches critical life-long skills like emotional regulation and communication skills. The most committed Windy City daycares also impart an invaluable love of learning that can make the investment in childhood education very worthwhile. 

Recent research shows that children who attended preschool were not only more likely to hit the ready-for-kindergarten markers but also were more likely to graduate high school and earn a higher salary as adults. For low-income families, preschool offers a chance for parents to work while their little ones get access to high-quality nutrition, language courses, and experiences that would otherwise be difficult for their families to access. Chicago families have several options for affordable early education for their little ones. If you live in the Windy City, read on for our tips on finding a budget-friendly daycare or preschool. 

Start Looking as Early as Possible

Chicago has affordable daycare options to choose from, but it’s best to start looking as early as possible if you want your child to have a spot in one of the state’s top daycare facilities. You’ve probably heard your friends talk about getting on waitlists as soon as they give birth — it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment rings true. Some expecting mothers apply for a placement while still pregnant, especially if they intend to go back to work a few months postpartum. The same general guidelines can work for toddler care, too. Consider looking into Illinois daycare providers and applying around a year before your desired start date to increase the chances of securing daycare placement for your little one. 

Some Chicago daycare providers like LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool have a way to help parents with the dreaded wait times. Since LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool know that the search for early education schools can be particularly stressful for parents of multiples, they offer shorter waitlist times for parents with a child already enrolled. 

Look for Tuition Discounts

Some Chicago preschools and daycares offer discounted rates for additional siblings enrolled. Ask if the Windy City preschool you’re looking into offers a percentage off for each enrollee. Family budgets may feel strained when a new little one enters the fold; this discount (especially when compared to the shortened waitlist time) can be a relief for many.  

See if Your Workplace Offers Childcare Discounts for Benefits Programs

Some companies in Chicago offer childcare discounts for their employees through partnerships with one or more daycare centers. Talk to HR and see if your workplace offers this benefit, These businesses might offer a certain amount of money for the facility of the parent’s choice. Other companies only give out credits for centers they’re partnered with. You can also ask if the company provides reimbursements for working parents — that could help cover the cost of your child’s daycare fees. 

This perk can enhance company culture, boost employee retention, and maybe even increase productivity in the workplace. If you can talk with HR or upper management, you might be able to bring up the benefits of workplace-supported daycare funds. If there are other parents like you in your organization struggling to find affordable daycare options for your children, try advocating for onsite childcare. Some companies have the facilities and the means to build an onsite preschool or daycare within their premises. This one is probably the hardest reach; setting up a daycare center requires a lot of resources, planning, and certifications. 

Consider Daycares That Provide Meals

We can’t expect our cars to run without gasoline (or electricity), and we can’t expect our little ones to learn in preschool without healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks! Interacting, playing, learning literacy and school-readiness skills can build up quite the appetite. Daycare tuition that includes meals can provide significant relief for families. Busy, working families can save time and money when their kids’ school takes care of the meal planning, preparation, and serving. LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a mid-morning and late-afternoon snack. 

But food alone isn’t enough it needs to be high-quality food. Well-balanced childhood nutrition can help promote cognitive development, including motor skills and language skills. To ensure their meals meet nutritional standards (as well as introducing new colors and textures), LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool had the American Board of Clinical Nutrition approve their menu to help ensure the maximum positive impact of meal time. 

Affordable Windy City Daycare and Preschools

When it comes to finding a Chicago preschool or daycare, there are several options that parents can choose from if money is a little tight. Consider these options if you’re based in the Windy City so your children can get excellent care and have access to early education without breaking the bank. 

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.

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