Childminding operators charge $1,180 to $3,500 a month , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Childminding operators charge $1,180 to $3,500 a month

On a typical weekday, Ms Luiza Lee’s parents help to look after her two sons, who are four years old and four months old, while her domestic helper handles the household chores.

But as and when she requires more help – such as when her elder son is ill and cannot attend pre-school or when her parents are not free, she turns to Aunty SG, which provides on-demand childminding services, for help.

Ms Lee, 33, started using Aunty SG after her elder son was born.

Ms Lee, who works in the investment management industry, said: “I like the flexibility of having ad-hoc services. Infant care centres are more structured and more rigid, as you have to attend for five days a week.”

She also prefers to have a childminder come to her house, as she does not know who else is in the childminder’s house, among other reasons.

On March 6, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is launching a new childminding scheme in the second half of 2024 to give parents another infant care option.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will fund appointed childminding operators to keep fees affordable.

The ministry plans to keep childminding fees similar to what a median-income family pays, after subsidies, for infant care at centres run by anchor operators, Ms Sun said. This sum works out to be around $700 a month.

An MSF spokesperson said these median income families have a household income of $10,500 to $12,000 a month, adding that they are referring to families with at least one Singaporean child of pre-school age.

Ms Sun added that families will be able to use the Child Development Account (CDA) to further defray the cost for the service.

The CDA is a special savings account for children that can be used to pay pre-school and healthcare fees, while anchor operators receive government grants that help offset costs in return for meeting fee caps and quality criteria.

Ms Lee, the parent, said any subsidy would be most welcome.

She currently pays an average of $25 an hour for services provided by Aunty SG. Her expenses come up to less than $1,000 a month, as she hires a childminder for her younger son a few times each fortnight. 

Under the pilot childminding scheme, the ECDA will appoint childminding operators, who will hire people to look after babies between two and 18 months old in the childminder’s home or at community spaces, such as community centres.

Childminding operators said they expect demand for their services to rise when parents can tap the CDA, among other things.

One common reason why parents turn to childminders is that they cannot get a place for their baby at infant care centres, operators said. Other parents are unable or unwilling to get a domestic helper to care for their baby for various reasons.

Director of Nanny Pro Becky Eng said: “Many parents use their domestic helper to do the household chores. They want a nanny to provide dedicated care for their baby, until the child goes to pre-school.”

There are more than 10 childminding operators in the market now, operators interviewed say.

The MSF spokesperson told The Straits Times that childminding services cost around $1,200 to $2,800 per month, and this varies according to the type of childminding arrangement.

With a nanny caring for one baby at the baby’s home, Nanny Pro’s fees range from $2,900 to $3,500 a month for full-day care from Mondays to Fridays, depending on the nanny’s experience.