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boy arranging blocks on the floor, childcare benefits

Childcare benefits – how they can help you develop your child’s competences?

Childcare benefits vary from country to country. Not only are their values different, but also the requirements for obtaining them. In this entry we discuss a benefit available in the USA, i.e. the child tax credit. We are also discussing the Polish “Family 800+” program.

Nowadays, child education and development are a priority for many parents. Therefore, all educational benefits become an important tool supporting families in this process. Unfortunately, some parents still use them incorrectly, spending them on their own needs. This is their dark side, which has been talked about for a long time. In the article below, we will take a closer look at childcare benefits and consider how these funds can be used for the development of our children. Find out how such benefits can become a tool supporting the development of your child’s competences that will influence his or her future. Check what steps you can take to fully use the potential of such programs.

What it is childcare benefits? What does it look like in Poland and USA?

Let’s start by explaining what these types of child benefits are. Generally, the idea of childcare benefots is that parents receive a certain amount every month to help them support and raise their child.

Child welfare benefits vary from country to country. In Poland, there was the “Family 500 Plus” program, which provides systemic support for Polish families. This threshold was introduced to increase the number of births. This program includes childcare benefits, which are provided from April 1, 2016. This is a form of financial support for families, which is intended to partially cover the child’s maintenance expenses. The “Family 500 Plus” program contributed to reducing child poverty in Poland. “Family 500+” is a progmam in which parents can receive a benefit of PLN 500 per month for the second and each subsequent child.

The “Family 800+” childcare benefit, which is valid in Poland, is a continuation of the “Family 500 Plus” program. It is paid for each child up to the age of 18, regardless of the family’s income. Its purpose is to partially cover the expenses related to raising a child, caring for him and meeting his living needs. It is worth knowing that 500+ was introduced in 2016 and was valid until the end of 2023. From January 2024, the amount of this benefit increased. Currently, it amounts to PLN 800 per month per child.

childcare benefits, woman holding a miniature bank and a piggy bank in her hand

In March 2021, the expanded child tax credit was introduced in the United States. Its goal was very similar to the Polish “Family 500 Plus” program, which is why many sources claimed that it was modeled on the Polish childcare benefit. This relief contributed to a significant reduction in poverty and additionally did not have a negative impact on labor supply. The full amount of the benefit is available to families earning less than $150,000 per year. So this is the vast majority of American families. The reform aims to reduce the number of American children who live in extreme poverty by as much as half.

Before the changes were introduced, a family could receive a maximum of $2,000 per child. The act increased the previously applicable Child Tax Credit. After the changes, these amounts increased to $3,600 for children under 6 years of age and $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17.

It is worth noting that differences in child welfare systems between countries can be significant. For example, in some European Union countries child benefits are awarded to parents regardless of income, while in others there are income thresholds. Additionally, the amount of benefits and the conditions for granting them may vary significantly from country to country.

Social programs – advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of social programs, including childcare benefits, include:

  • financial support,
  • improving living conditions,
  • atrengthening family policy.

The disadvantages of such systems include:

  • possible abuse, which may lead to the misuse of public funds,
  • dependence on support – some critics argue that long-term use of welfare benefits can lead to people remaining dependent on state support, rather than striving for financial independence,
  • costs for the state budget – the amount of social benefits may generate significant costs for the state budget, which may pose a challenge to financial stability.
piggy bank, in the background there is a black board with a drawn speech bubble in which a mortarboard is placed

What is worth investing money in from childcare benefits?

People approach the topic of investing differently. You have probably noticed that some people see it as an opportunity to make money, while others are afraid of it because of the financial risk. There are also those who see investing as a necessity to ensure a stable financial future.

You may be wondering now what does this have to do with the parental benefits (like 800+)? First of all, many parents or guardians do not really know what they can spend this money on. Some of them treat it as an addition to the household budget, simply spending it on current expenses. There are also those who deposit these funds into their child’s savings account.

Others, in turn, are looking for opportunities to multiply these funds. In such cases, they decide on one type of investment, e.g. investment funds or real estate. They are also increasingly choosing cryptocurrencies due to their popularity. However, it is worth remembering that every investment carries the risk of failure.

At this point we come to the point of this article. In our opinion, the best way to spend these funds is to invest in the development of the child’s competences. It can be said that this is the only safe type of investment. We’ll explain what exactly we mean in a moment.

How can you develop your child’s competences?

As we wrote, educational benefits can help you develop your child’s competences. You’re probably wondering now how this can be achieved. We have good news for you – there are many ways in which you can contribute to its success in the future. We’ll discuss them briefly so you can better understand what we mean by this.


First, let’s focus on something quite obvious, i.e. various classes and forms of activity. In this case, you may decide to enroll your child in additional extracurricular activities, which must be paid for. This may be, for example, a language course, learning to play an instrument or sports activities. Thanks to this, the child can develop his or her interests or start discovering them. In addition, he will also gain completely new skills.

You should also know that investing in the development of artistic, scientific or language skills contributes to the comprehensive development of your child.

a boy holding a basketball in the gym

Extracurricular activities

Another way to invest in your child’s development is to participate in workshops or thematic camps. In this way, they will gain new experiences and skills in specific areas. Such extracurricular activities are a great way to expand children’s horizons.

Additionally, you can also organize various types of trips for your child, e.g. with your family. Traveling provides unforgettable memories and experiences. It has long been known that traveling educates, broadens horizons and helps understand the world in a different way than at school or during extra-curricular activities. These types of trips are a great opportunity to learn through experience. The child can see with his own eyes what he has read about in books or learned at school. Visiting museums, historical places or nature allows you to better understand topics that are difficult to learn only in theory.

You should also remember to invest in your child’s emotional development by supporting his or her interests, passions and dreams. This can be achieved by going out together, e.g. to a museum, theater or participating in cultural events. They are able to naturally broaden a child’s horizons and develop empathy and understanding for other cultures and perspectives.

Private lessons

It is also worth considering supporting his education. It may happen that your child has a problem with a certain subject at school and you know that you will not be able to help him. Then the ideal solution is to pay for additional classes, e.g. tutoring in a specific subject.

Depending on the age of your child, these may also include courses preparing for school exams. Thanks to this, the child will be able to cope better in learning and achieve better results. However, you must know that such things are not cheap, so many parents simply cannot afford them. We will also add that this type of activities must be carried out regularly to bring results.

boy using tablet while studying, childcare benefits

Technologies supporting learning

Another way to use childcare benefits may be to invest in modern educational technologies. This may include, but is not limited to: educational software, computer games or mobile applications that support a child’s learning and intellectual development. In addition, there is the purchase of books (except textbooks) and other educational materials that develop children’s cognitive skills and creativity.

If you have a younger child, you can use these funds for special educational toys that will be adapted to his or her age. They also often cost a lot.

School trips

The next item on our list is school trips, which can significantly contribute to the development of children’s competences through practical experience and acquiring knowledge outside the classroom. You certainly realize that there is not enough time at school for practical classes, so they appear sporadically.

During such trips, children have the opportunity to learn through play and having fun. This, in turn, helps develop competences in mathematics, history and geography. Field lessons are a perfect complement to school learning, and their program may overlap with the topics currently studied at school.

Additionally, school trips can help stimulate students’ interest and activity. Physical activity during trips also has a positive impact on children’s development, both health-wise and socially. Group integration, gaining new experiences and developing interpersonal skills are other benefits of participating in school trips.

All children learn some foreign language, right? An interesting solution is to organize a trip abroad to test your language skills in practice. Unfortunately, this is another issue that many children have to forget about due to the costs involved. However, thanks to support in the form of this type of benefits, you will be able to finance such a trip for your child.

2 boys during a school trip

Mental health support

You also cannot forget about your child’s mental and emotional health. It may happen that the child cannot cope with certain emotions, e.g. anger. Then it will need specialist help, because let’s face it, not every parent is a psychologist.

Additionally, children who have special educational needs must also benefit from the help of people who know this and are able to help them. We probably don’t need to mention how much a visit to a psychologist or psychotherapist can cost these days. And it probably won’t end with one visit.

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In the context of childcare benefits (such as 800+ in Poland), it is most often said that the funds from this program constitute financial support for families. You’ve probably heard about it many times. However, no one mentions that they can also be a tool to stimulate children’s development and education. Both older and younger ones.

We hope that our article will inspire you to some extent. After reading it, you should have a lot of ideas on how to use the funds you receive from childcare benefits.

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