A national survey shows many parents are unable to pay down debt or save money in order to pay for child care services for their children. (KOKH)

What surprised you the most about having a child? For many Americans, the overwhelming cost of child care is a major blow.

The toll it can take on your finances can make it difficult to recover.

According to the CDC, the younger generation is waiting longer to have children. The average age used to be about 25 in 2000 and now it’s about 26 years old. Many women waiting until their 30s to have kids. Though many factors are at play, parents are blown away by the cost of child care, so waiting until a person has more earning power is often an option.

Personal finance and savings website, The Penny Hoarder asked parents across America, about the cost of childcare, and some of the words that kept coming up included unaffordable, disheartening, out of control, and sad.

“The major takeaway was that the majority of parents are just overwhelmed by the cost of childcare, and regardless of their social situation, very few take government assistance to help cover it,” says Alex Mahadevan, a data journalist with The Penny Hoarder.

According the survey, to be able to pay for childcare, 80 percent of people put off paying debt, and 90 percent couldn’t save any money. Most parents pay between $500 to $1000 a month per child.

“Single parent homes pay over 36-percent of their salary every year to child care alone,”

Says Danielle Morgan, volunteer program coordinator for Infant Crisis Services.

Infant Crisis Services is a diaper, food, and formula pantry in Oklahoma City, and its mission is to help parents who are struggling with the cost of diapering and feeding their young children. Morgan says there are added costs to child care on top the already steep cost. Most daycares require parents provide certain items before they accept your child.

“Most childcare facilities– whether they are in home or public open — ask for a weeks’ worth of diapers upon the enrollment of your child. So, you need 40 or 50 at home for 7 days’ worth, and you need an additional 40 or 50 for child care,” says Morgan.

In Oklahoma, Mahadevan says, the average child care cost is $581 a month per child.

“For some context, a one bedroom apartment cost about $675 a month. Can you imagine having to pay what is essentially a second rent check every month,” adds Mahadevan.

What can you do if you are struggling? You can reach out to see if you qualify for any child care assistance through the government. You can also ask your company about policies on taking young children to work, so you pay less on child care at the start of your child’s life. The Penny Hoarder says it found that parents who did nanny sharing could save up to $15 an hour, compared to standard day care options.

No matter your income level, you can call the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association. It can help you figure out what area childcare facility might work best for your situation. A specialist will help put together a list in the part of town you choose, and sort them by needs and price.

The referral specialist number is 800-438-0008

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