The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the soaring cost of child care for American families. As the WSJ explains, “the cost of child care and nursery school has increased nearly twice as fast as overall inflation since the recession ended” in 2009.

Particularly striking is the change in child-rearing costs between 1960 and 2013. As the chart below shows, the costs of raising a child have declined in many areas, except for healthcare and education/childcare. The latter area has seen a huge leap from two percent of overall costs in 1960 to 18 percent in 2009. 

Many parents believe these expanded costs are unavoidable, particularly if they want their young child to be lovingly cared for and placed in a preschool environment that will lay a solid foundation for education. 

But what if parents attempted preschool on their own?

The drawbacks of such an idea are clear: one parent would have to stay home and be the caregiver and teacher. The family might have to make sacrifices: that bigger home; the latest cars; the Hawaiian vacation they’ve been waiting to take.

On the flip side, however, the family might not miss the second income as much as they might imagine, as the expenses of daycare/preschool, commuting, and other costs of working in the office can often take a large portion of a family’s second income.

Furthermore, recent studies have called the effectiveness of preschool into question, finding that children who did not attend traditional preschool were less likely to exhibit negative behaviors later in life and were more likely to do better academically the longer they were in grade school than their preschool-attending peers.

In her book School Starts at Home, Cheri Fuller notes that the first few years of a child’s life are “one of the most critical times of intellectual development.”

Are many parents shortchanging both their abilities and their wallets by thinking they have to pay the experts in order to foster that development in their child?

Image Credit: Insignifica