Affordable Child Care Options for Online College Students

With education becoming an increasingly popular choice for college students, affordable child care options are always important to consider if you are a non-traditional student with a family. Students pursuing their degree online find that they need a quiet time to study, even if they are working from a home computer. Childcare can be an obstacle for students to overcome, but it can also be a hidden blessing to find new ways of having quality time with children. Depending on the age of the children there are several affordable childcare options which are not only cost-effective, but can pose new opportunities to learn together as a family:

Finding Affordable Childcare – It Can Be Just Around the Corner

For  students with infants or toddlers, it can be quite challenging getting any school work done. Needing constant attention and care, young children need to be looked after while their parent studies online. Traditional day care or babysitting services can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily, there are some alternatives to traditional childcare that can save money. A good place to start is for the parent to get to know their neighbors if they don’t already. Is there a teen on the block who is trustworthy? It’s a good bet that teens will want to work for a few hours a day to earn extra cash. Teens will often work for a fraction of the cost of a professional nanny. An added bonus is that as a part of the community, these teens are usually well known and trusted by parents.

Retirees are another group of people in a parent’s community who might be willing to watch a young child. Often times retirees have time on their hands and are willing to work for less money than a professional babysitter or daycare. They might also love the chance to spend a few hours a day with a child.

Babysitting Co-ops

Another alternative for parents to consider is looking for a babysitting co-op to join. If one is not already established in the neighborhood, co-ops are simple to begin. They can be a valuable asset to the community. Since co-ops use time as their currency rather than cash, they are great resources for students who are parents of young children.

Working Around Early Childhood Education

Don’t forget, early childhood education should never be underestimated. If your child is old enough to go to school, and you can work your classes around their schedule, it essentially takes care of two birds with one stone!

Family Study Time

With school-aged children, an alternative to childcare is to set up a few hours a day to have a family study time. Interruptions may still happen, however family study time is a chance for parents and children to quietly study together and increase their family bond.

Government Aid

Some states have childcare programs for parents whose income levels qualify. There may be government subsidized programs to take advantage of. Some of these programs can be very fun and educational for children, such as after school art of sports programs and summer camps. Local libraries offer children’s story hours, when the parent can use the library’s computer to do college course work.

Any of these options would give an online college student with children the time that they need to complete their coursework.

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.