Daycare, nannies, aftercare, au pairs—there are endless childcare options in the NYC suburbs.
If you’ve got kids in the city, there’s no doubt you’ve got your childcare on lock. But in the NYC suburbs? Sometimes the path to childcare isn’t always so straightforward—and, in many cases, that’s a good thing. Because once you leave the city, there are tons of options for full-time, part-time and on-demand childcare.
While some are familiar to your urban options, chances are you’ll score the same or more comprehensive options for less. And in some cases—bonus!—you’ll have new, diverse options that appeal to your kids’ schedules and interests.
#1. Nannies—Live In or Out
Maybe you had a nanny in the city—or maybe that’s something you’re exploring in the city. In the suburbs, though, many families find they have more space, which opens them up to having a live-in nanny. For families with two working parents, parents who travel or, simply, parents who have non-9-to-5s, a live-in could be a great option now that an extra bedroom is (more likely) in the cards.
And for live-outs? Like in the city, there are tons of options for childcare. You’ll also be more likely to find a nanny who drives in the suburbs, especially if you’re looking for someone local.
#2. Au Pairs
In the bonus-bedroom vein, many suburban families opt for a live-in au pair post-move. With the added space, these full-time sitters can be a great option whether you can commit to regular weekday hours or need flexibility. Most au pairs are in their late teens or early 20s, fluent in English and can work up to 45 hours per week based on the family’s schedule.
In exchange, your family provides your au pair with their own room, all meals and access to a car—plus, on average, about $175 to $185 per week. Compare that to the $700 to $1,200-plus many suburban families pay a nanny, and the main benefit is clear. But many families love giving their kids exposure to other cultures, plus having a “big sister” in the mix.
#3. Day Care
Daycare, of course, is another option. From standalone daycare centers to in-home providers to preschools and private kindergartens that double as childcare, there are tons of options in the NYC suburbs. Better still, options tend to have flexibility in terms of hours, rates and commitments—some families need full-time while others may, simply, need a few hours here and there. Ask your Strategist for suggestions based on your unique needs.
#4. In-School Before & After Care
Many public and private schools offer before and aftercare services for enrolled students—so, if you’ve got a kindergartener or older, you could be in luck. Often these options are a fraction of the cost as “regular” daycare.
“Our before care is $6 per day,” says one Long Island mom, “and $12 to $15 after school. For three kids, we’re only spending $315 per week—less if we don’t need before and aftercare every day.”
#5. Outside Before & After Care
Beyond school options, many outside programs offer aftercare—and they’ll even bus kids from school, making afternoon childcare easier than ever.
“We must have a dozen programs that pick up at our school,” says a Great Neck mom of two. “Language immersion, coding, enrichment, reading skills, even art and sports. The buses line up right behind the ‘regular’ buses and shuttle kids off for the afternoon.” Not only do these options provide flexibility in terms of hours and costs, but they also help kids tackle their preferred extracurriculars during the week.
“By having our kids go straight to soccer and swim after school, we’re seriously freeing up out weekends,” she adds. “That’s good for everyone!”
#6. Neighborhood “Swaps”
“We have three families in our cul-de-sac—each takes a day or two after school,” a Mamaroneck mom reports. “All six of the parents work, but we can make it work—someone can always be home and at the bus stop to grab the crew. They have a snack, they play and, with about an hour or two, the rest of the parents come home and the kids head out.”
It’s a free approach to childcare that many suburban families are diving into. By rotating responsibilities, everyone wins—and kids get to expand their inner circles. The challenge? “We can’t really manage kids’ activities,” she says. “We’d be driving non-stop. So the rule is, if your child is enrolled in any activity, it’s your responsibility to get them to and from—even if it’s not your ‘day.’”
#7. Local Moms Networks
Likewise, many moms report tapping other moms to get kids to and from school.
“I drop my kids with another mom in town,” says a Westfield mom of two. “We met through a local Facebook group, and her kids are older—in the middle and high school. So my girls love having cool older girls to hang with in the morning. Then, once they leave, their mom walks my girls to school—she even picks them up sometimes, and has driven them to practice and playdates when we’ve needed it.”
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t… without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.