The Cost Of Raising A Toddler From Age 2-4

by Andrea

childcare, saving money

Here's an estimation of how much it will cost to raise a child

In another article, I addressed the cost of having a baby and raising your child from birth to age 2.

I focused on absolute necessities that parents would have to buy including food, clothing, diapers,  and hospital costs.  Not included were things like a crib, the cost of a bigger home with an extra bedroom, and toys — because a savvy parent can probably do without those items or figure out how to get them for free.

As your child reaches age 2, your family will find it absolutely necessary to carve out personal space for the newest member of the family.  He or she will need a bedroom, a bed, a full wardrobe, and other necessities. 

Following are the types of expenses generally required when raising a toddler age 2 to 4:

A Toddler’s Personal Space

If you haven’t made more space for your little one in your home yet, as they turn 2, they will certainly need their own room, bed, and play area.

This may or may not mean that you will have to buy a bigger home or apartment.

The difference between a 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartment or house is $100 to $200 per month, depending on your existing price range.

Here are some things you should know about a toddler’s space:

Toddler Daycare

Toddler daycare costs vary greatly from state to state.

States like Washington DC, Illinois, and New Hampshire can top $10,000 a year.  Other states such as Georgia and South Carolina average around $5,000 a year.

Assuming full-time day care for a 2 year old child on weekdays, according to Runzheimer International, the U.S. national average cost for full-time day care is $611 a month. 


Check out this list of State-by-State Day Care Costs

Educational Toys For Toddlers

You don’t have to purchase educational toys for your child, but you probably should.

Even if you don’t purchase educational toys, you will certainly purchase some kind of toys.  Generally, parents want to purchase something new every month or so to keep the child’s interest.  Educational Items and toys can cost between $10 and $20 apiece.

You can see how educational toys are different than “regular” toys simply because they are geared toward a child’s particular stage of development. Educational toys help a child learn to solve problems, to get along with others, and develop the fine and gross motor skills they need.

Here are a few stores that specialize in educational toys for toddlers:

Toddler Clothing

It doesn’t make sense to purchase extra clothing for a child who is growing like a weed.  For that reason, it makes sense to only get the bare minimum in terms of a wardrobe for a toddler.

Every season, you will need to purchase undershirts, underpants, pajamas, socks, pants (or other bottoms) and shirts.  You might also want to purchase a couple of nice outfits each quarter.

This type of wardrobe shopping for a toddler can cost about $150 per season. Plus, depending on where you live, you may also need a coat or snowsuit and a couple of lightweight jackets each year. This will add another $150.

You can always spend more or less if you are not shy about hand-me-downs.

Food For Toddlers

A toddler drinks about 1 gallon of milk per week, 1 gallon of juice per week, plus water (which you can get from the tap). These drinks will cost about $32 per month.

Besides that, toddlers really don’t take up much of the food budget, as they only need one-fourth of an adult serving size.  That simply amounts to a portion of the parent’s food that was probably going to waste anyway.

For that reason, I would say that a toddler’s food bill typically only amounts to about $50 per month.

Here are some great tips for Feeding Your Toddler From Age 1-3

Toddler Medical Expenses

Let’s not forget medical costs.

Even with health insurance, you will still pay several hundred dollars a year for co-pays and medications for your toddler.

Here is some helpful information regarding the medical costs you can expect:

Total Cost of Raising a Toddler From Age 2 to 4

Parents walking with their little one, holding hands. Here's more about the cost of raising a child. photo by nosha on Flickr
  • Increased housing $1,440
  • Daycare $7,500
  • Educational items $180
  • Wardrobe $750
  • Medical and prescriptions $300

This brings the cost of raising a toddler between the ages of 2 and 4 to approximately $10,700.

Remember, this includes childcare.  If you are a stay at home mom, that total amount will be greatly reduced. That is, unless you gave up a job to stay home.  Then you would have to take some of the lost wages into account.

Helpful Tips Regarding Childrearing Expenses