Parents may soon be desperate for day care. That means new job opportunities


Sandy Smith has been working from home handling payroll for an international company and social distancing to avoid the coronavirus since late February. Hunkered down with her husband and toddler in Long Island, N.Y., there’s only one thing she knows for certain. When all of this is over, the demand for child care is going to soar.

“Babysitters are going to have more business than they ever imagined,” she said. Even though centers are closed now, “there are already people trying to steal slots.”

Within days of coronavirus-related school closures, stories about parental meltdowns and odes to teachers and day-care providers started popping up on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


Wonderschool helps you set up a new day care program, leading you through the necessary licensing, certification, administration and marketing.

April 23, 2020

Parents say they love their kids every bit as much as they did before the pandemic. But those lucky enough to have kept their jobs have been trying to work from home. Working with restless kids underfoot is challenging, bordering on impossible, says Smith, who runs an online magazine as a side hustle.

Not surprisingly, many maintain they’ll be sending their offspring to professional sitters and day-care providers the moment their communities reopen. That could provide an independent business opportunity for people who have lost their pre-pandemic employment.

In many states, schools won’t reopen until September, which could leave parents who normally don’t need child care scrambling to find educational camps or other forms of help. Some parents, newly cautious of big gatherings, may also be looking for day care in smaller settings.

That’s likely to mean ample work for babysitters and people who want to take the additional step of opening their own day-care operation. Babysitting typically pays $10 to $25 an hour. There are several sites, such as Urban Sitter,, Trusted and Bambino, that can help you find babysitting work. You can also trumpet your availability on neighborhood sites, such as Nextdoor.

However, if you go the extra step of creating a day-care center in your home, you can earn far more. The returns vary widely based on where you are located and the age of the children you serve, says Mia Pritts, head of early care and education at Wonderschool, which provides billing and support for day-care centers.


Day-care tuition is higher for infants and toddlers than tweens. And rates in big cities are far higher than they are in smaller, rural communities. Additionally, you can charge more for programs that provide learning and enrichment than those that simply provide care.

The bottom line: Child-care centers charge $600 to $3,000 per child per month, Pritts says. In other words, if you watch four children you could earn $2,400 to $12,000 per month.

However, if you want to position yourself as a day-care provider, rather than a simple sitter, it can take some time. It typically takes two weeks to a month to obtain the necessary licenses to start a day-care center in your home, Pritts adds. And it’s not something you should take lightly.

“Working with children is really important and really hard,” Pritts says. “It should be done intentionally.”

Kathy Kristof is the editor of, an independent site that reviews hundreds of moneymaking opportunities in the gig economy.