If you do not need full-time childcare, you may be wondering what it would cost to place your child in part-time care or in a special program called "drop-in care." Drop-in care allows you to drop your child off at daycare when there are available openings so that you can go to work and/or pick up extra shifts at the last minute. Most of the time daycares and childcare centers can be rather accommodating, so long as they are not already full or they have teachers out sick. However, you may find that drop-in care has some costs that should be weighed against those of full-time care.
The Financial Cost
Drop-in care is based on a per hour or per diem rate. It is often much higher because the daycare is not expecting your child and has to make adjustments to classroom size, teacher-to-child ratios, and food and snacks for the time your child will be in the center. If you sat down to figure out what it would cost you for drop-in care five days a week and compared it to the full-time weekly rate or part-time weekly rate, you would find that drop-in always costs more. For parents that only need a day of care here and there, this rate is irrelevant, but if you become dependent upon it for more than a few days a month, you may want to switch over to part-time enrollment for your child.
The Emotional Cost
Leaving your child with someone else is hard on you emotionally. It is hard on your child too, since they are not used to the schedule and the classroom expectations that come with preschool and daycare. As a drop-in child, the emotional levels are elevated for everyone. If your child attended more regularly, then he/she would be more familiar with the teacher, his/her classroom, and some of the children in the room as peers. The emotional costs for everyone involved drop as everyone would be more comfortable with an expected schedule.
The Educational Cost
Your child could benefit from so much more than a day here or there. Children in preschool learn a lot in one day, and even more in one week and one month. After all, preschool prepares them for school and gives every child a jumpstart on learning. Your child only learns bits and pieces in drop-in care, but learns what his/her peers are learning in part-time or full-time care. Visit a preschool, like http://www.kidscountry.net, for more help.