Pet Peeve: Daycare Upselling

I love Jack’s daycare, I really do. He goes two days a week and his teacher is fantastic. She’s the exact right mix of super sweet and on top of things. I’m incredibly impressed how she somehow manages to have her entire class adore her AND keeps a group of 2 year olds under control. I actually feel like Jack learns something new every single day that he attends, which is great!

We have had a couple small issues though, so when Jack moves up to the 3’s class and on to a new teacher, we are planning on re-evaluating to decide whether we will keep him there or move him somewhere else.

The daycare isn’t the cheapest option in the area (it’s not the most expensive either), but ‘cheap daycare’ doesn’t actually seem to be a thing that happens in reality. To give you an idea of the cost, we pay almost $700 a month.

Which brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves… upselling.

I feel like every week I’m presented with another “opportunity” to spend more money. One week it’s a special music lesson where I can opt to have Jack leave his class and do a 20 minute lesson with a group of other kids once a week. The next week, he’s invited to do special art projects… even though he already DOES art projects in his class, he can do “special” ones that will cost me an extra $15 for supplies.

Is this normal?!

We are already paying $700 A MONTH for him to attend the daycare (and that’s not even full time)! He’s ALREADY doing art projects and pretty much brings home something from school twice a week. WHY are they asking me for more money?

This week I got an email from the center director about upcoming holiday workshops. Yup, I can pay them EVEN MORE money (on a project-by-project basis) for Jack to make a holiday plate, a clay creation or an assortment of holiday cookies.

Are you freaking kidding me? What is wrong with the normal holiday projects that they will ALREADY be making in class?

I feel like I’m being nickel-and-dimed like crazy and it’s gotten to the point where I have a really bad taste in my mouth about it. I’m almost to the point of sending the center director an email… but first I want to know, is this typical of all daycare centers?

For any daycare parents out there, do you feel like they are always trying to upsell? Am I being a total Grinch about this, or would this drive you nutty too?

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10 thoughts on “Pet Peeve: Daycare Upselling”

  1. This seems ridiculous. I have Solomon in daycare full time for $600 a month and absolutely no up selling. They do all the activities you listed in class. I have only been asked to donate once – $5 for the Halloween/fall festival day where they rented a bouncy house, had special treats during the day, and came home with a bag of treats, totally worth it! I would definitely reevaluate and look some more around your area. I found my daycare through other parents in my area on Facebook on the community yard sale page. It’s mostly parents and they always have great recommendations.

    1. Part of the price problem is the area where we live — EVERYTHING is expensive here because we are in the Baltimore/Washington DMV area. The constant asking of money though is making me crazy! I will be looking into other options in the spring…

  2. This would drive me nuts! Just to give you an idea for comparison, my son goes to a Nationally-Accredited pre-school on the university campus where I work (which is also open to the public) for around $500 per month. Full time. While they do fundraisers (pumpkin patch, school photos, etc.), I never really feel like I’m being sold a lot of stuff. I can’t believe they actually try to coerce you into paying for “special” art projects! That’s nuts!

    1. RIGHT?! I think I’m going to say something to the Director. She’s new, so maybe she just doesn’t realize how it comes off to parents who are already paying hefty bills.

  3. Sounds a bit like revenue gathering to me! What do the other kids who don’t do all these paid extra classes do in the meantime?

    We are so lucky here in NZ – 20 hours free in a preschool for all kids aged 3-5, and not much for extra days. The only times we have to pay for stuff are the occasional themed day, but that tends to be a collection for a charity.

  4. Ahhh…daycare. One of the topics I both love and love to hate. I do love that my 1 year old is at daycare. A lot of socializing, learning, and burning off all that extra energy. But the germs, the cost, the learner bad behavior. I digress. We live in CT, another high cost of living area and pay for a similar “not the most expensive but not the cheapest option daycare.” But the only “extras” they offer are things like school lunches a couple times a month (yep we have to pack our own lunches on top of the cost) and occasional field trips in the summer. All other activities are included. I wonder if the Director (does she have a child in daycare) really realize how much all these things add up for parents. Also I do think the child-related industry realizes one important thing – $$$ parents will pay tons if they think/are convinced that whatever additional fee/service is beneficial in any way to their kids. Huge additional money maker. I bet tons of parents sign up for those “extras.”

    1. There is certainly a guilt factor of NOT signing up for all the extras. However, the kids that don’t do the “special stuff” are still doing their regular activities in their classes… so I can ignore that guilt most of the time. Our daycare does include breakfast, lunch and snack time, so that is a HUGE help to me because I barely pack my own lunch, much less anyone elses!

      Of course, this morning I got a note for an upcoming picture day…

  5. Oh honey. Get used to it, especially in your area. It only gets worse as they get older, trust me. Then, if your son also get super-involved in a sport, be prepared to be nickled and dimed to death there, too.

  6. Gosh, sorry it took me so long to get to this post. This is definitely NOT the norm. My kids both go to/went to Wesley Freedom (which if I’m not mistaken is close to where Jack goes now). We love it there. I don’t think it’s cheap, but at $42 a day Zoey is there full-time for a little more than what you pay for only 2 days a week. You should consider taking a look at the 3-year old class for next year. Plus they have an awesome summer program. We pay an activity fee at the beginning of the year and if a parent wants to join in on a field trip they pay $6 for the bus ride, but that’s it for money grabbing. I’ve never even heard of *extra* classes for 2 year olds. I mean, they are 2. They are having a blast playing with all their friends! Let me know if you want more info; Zoey is in the 3’s now and will move up to the 4’s next year.

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