How Daycare Staffing Affects You and Your Child

Daycare staffing is a perpetual problem for both providers and parents. There is a lot of staff turnover in this industry. Recruiting and retaining new employees is difficult, especially when the industry has a history of low wages and few benefits. Additionally, working at a daycare can be both physically and emotionally challenging.

Staff turnover can impact the quality of care a child receives at a daycare facility. However, this is not the only metric you should consider when looking for a provider. Below, we’ve unpacked some common costs associated with running a daycare, as well as why turnover is important for parents to understand.

The Costs of Running a Daycare

There is a considerable expense associated with running a daycare. These costs, in turn, affect staff turnover.

For example, let’s examine the cost of payroll. Most parents prefer to have at least one trained adult for every 6-10 preschool-aged children. Even in a relatively small daycare setting, that’s still around 10 trained adults to pay. In most cases, this does not account for requisite administrative staff and any workers responsible for preparing the food or cleaning the building. Most daycare providers earn about $25,000 per year, which means a daycare pays $250,000 in just provider staffing – plus an estimated $100,000 for other staffing needs. Additionally, the cost to calculate and distribute paychecks is considerable. Even the cheapest small business payroll software is $269.

To that end, daycares can be high-stress environments. When the average daycare staff member makes 50% less than the median yearly salary in the United States, they are less likely to stay in a single position for very long. This, in turn, creates staff turnover and shortages.

Why Turnover Should Be Important to You

When researching daycare providers, asking about staff turnover is important. When a provider doesn’t have staff with experience in their particular facility or with clientele, the quality of the care can suffer. Importantly, young kids tend to form close relationships with the few adults in their life. The departure of a beloved daycare staff member could create emotional distress and dysregulation in a child.

But while turnover is an important metric to keep in mind when searching for a daycare, it is not the best indicator for a facility’s quality. Daycare provider turnover has been an ongoing problem, and it is a result of low wages and few benefits – not necessarily the value of the employer’s service. In other words, high staff turnover is not an indicator of a bad daycare. Instead, it should be viewed as an indicator of the times. Small businesses everywhere are stretched thin and struggling, especially after pandemic-era layoffs.

Daycare providers are an essential part of having children in the United States. Unfortunately, the industry rarely gets the respect – and funding – it deserves. If your daycare is seeing high staff turnover, or if you’re looking for providers and seeing a lot of turnover, don’t panic. In most cases, this is a result of the system – not poor care quality.