How to Choose Between a Nanny or Daycare
For many new parents, the decision of who should watch their baby is stressful, emotional and confusing. Many moms are not emotionally ready to go back to work but have limited or no maternity leave policy.
Without paid maternity leave, many parents are left without many options. Aside from being a stay-at-home parent or having relatives watch your child, the two most popular childcare choices are enrolling your child in a daycare center or hiring a nanny to watch your child in your home. Evaluating the pros and cons of both options can help you make the decision that is best for your family.
Pros and Cons of Daycare
Both choices have positive and negative aspects, but it is most important that you find a childcare situation in which you are comfortable and where your baby will thrive. Daycare helps build social skills that can help your child in school and throughout life. It’s also cost-effective.
- Builds social skills
- Offers toys, books, and resources
- Follows state regulations and accreditation rules
- Means multiple teachers
- Costs less
- More germs and illnesses
- Not available to sick kids
- More likelihood of accidents
- Less flexibility
- Not right for every child’s temperament
Benefits of Daycare
Here are some reasons you might lean toward a daycare center.
Daycare provides the benefit of socialization where kids can learn and grow with other children. Children are stimulated by other kids and develop social skills through their daily experiences in daycare.
Toys, Books, and Resources
Most daycare centers offer a wide variety of toys, books, games and play equipment. Daycare provides opportunities for creative play with art supplies, educational games, dress-up outfits, and building blocks.
Some daycare centers also bring in people for extra activities, such as music or yoga. These items are usually included in your monthly or annual costs so you don’t have to pay extra for the supplies.
State Regulations and Accreditations
Day care centers must follow state regulations around safety, staffing, sanitation, and space issues. Ask about the center’s most recent state license and if they have been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Many daycare centers have wonderful teachers who have been working with kids for many years. Some may have training in child development. Children will be supervised by a group of teachers and form relationships with more than one individual.
The price of daycare tends to be more affordable than a nanny since you are sharing the cost with other families. The price varies based on location and type of facility. An in-home daycare center, also known as family care, is usually less expensive than a traditional daycare (but also offers fewer benefits like resources and multiple teachers.
Drawbacks of Daycare
While there are many daycare pros, every pro comes with some sort of con. Here’s why you should not choose daycare.
More Germs and Illness
Germs are prevalent in daycare with kids sharing so many toys, wiping their noses and touching the toys again.Given close contact with so many children, in daycare, a child may get sick more times a year than one not in daycare.
Daycare centers have strict sick policies so if your kid falls into their “sick” category, you have to take time off from work or find other childcare arrangements when your child has an illness. Further, if your kid gets sick at daycare, you will have to pick them up and keep them home until they are free of the illness.
Bites or falls are common in daycare.With many kids, it is difficult to keep an eye on all kids at one time so there may be more bumps and bruises.
Daycare centers run on specific hours so if you are late picking up your child, it is probable that you will be subject to an extra charge. If you have a job where you cannot leave at a specific time each day, you may need more flexibility than daycare can offer.
Your Kid’s Personality
Daycare has many transitions and stimuli, so it’s important to know your child’s personality. Think about whether they will be overwhelmed or overstimulated by this environment.
Also, other kids’ behavior and development can impact your child’s day. Will your child be influenced by a child who needs additional discipline? How do you feel about teachers caring for more than one baby at a time?
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Nanny
From more parental control to flexibility, having a nanny around the house can be an attractive option, but it comes at a cost.
- More parental control
- Individual attention
- Stronger attachment
- Simpler logistics
- More flexibility
- More consistent care
- Parenting style conflicts
- Sick time
- No regulations
- Having to manage an employee
Benefits of Hiring a Nanny
Many parents appreciate the flexibility and control they get from having a nanny who works in their home.
More Parental Control
With a nanny in your home, you have more control over what your child is exposed to, where they go, what they eat, and what their schedule looks like. Most nannies provide detailed reports of the day and send parents pictures. If this is important to you, a nanny is a good option.
Your nanny is focused on your child’s individual needs. There is no competition for attention and the nanny can solely concentrate on your child’s development.
A nanny provides the benefit of a primary attachment figure. With a nanny, your child can develop a special relationship with one person and rely on them to be a secure and comforting person in their lives.
Having a nanny come to your home makes being a working parent much easier. If you forget to do something at home, you can call your nanny. If you are having a repairman come to the house, your nanny can be there to let him in.
Further, many nannies help with light housework, cook your child’s meals and do their laundry. These tasks lessen the parenting load for you.
You set the hours for when you need a nanny ( may it be Full-time Nanny or Part-time Nanny). If you start work later in the day and work evenings, you can find a nanny who will work with your schedule. If you are stuck in traffic, your nanny will be at home waiting.
Most nannies stay with their families from birth through school age. Turnover at daycare centers tends to average at least one caregiver leaving each year or sooner which may be emotional for your child.
With a nanny, you don’t have to prepare or pack up for the day. No lugging pumped milk or packed lunch across town with you.
Drawbacks of Hiring a Nanny
With nannies come parenting style conflicts and issues with regulation. Here’s why you may not want to have a nanny.
Parenting Style Conflicts
If you and your nanny disagree on topics such as discipline, sleeping, or other parenting issues, it may be a conflict and make for a difficult relationship. It is best to find a nanny who is on the same page as you in terms of parenting style. Consistency between caregivers is important for child development.7
Nannies usually cost significantly more than daycare centers. Nanny costs vary depending on location, the number of kids, and other factors. If you want a nanny, but cannot afford an individual nanny, think about a nanny share where two or more children share one nanny or you may contact Good Nanny Finder to help you find the right nanny for you.
When hiring a nanny, you should discuss sick time and vacation days and create an agreement or a nanny contract. Also, as the employer, you should give your nanny feedback and have open conversations about their work.
A Word From Good Nanny Finder
When choosing a childcare situation for your family, sit down and make a list of what is most important to your family. Be honest with yourself about your needs and wants and think about things that may upset or frustrate you. Remember that no decision is permanent and you can always change your situation based on your needs or your child’s needs.
You may also visit our latest blogs here for more Nanny Tips and Ideas.
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