Nanny Vs. Daycare: Pros and Cons

April 12th, 2016 by

nanny vs daycare: pros and cons
“What will I do about childcare?”

Every new mom who has considered returning to work has asked herself this question and weighed the options. Each family has different needs when it comes to childcare—what’s right for your neighbor or your best mom friend might not be right for you!

To help any moms who are embarking on this decision for themselves, we’ve looked into the pros and cons of two common childcare solutions: hiring a nanny and enrolling your child in daycare.

Pros: Hiring a Nanny

  • A nanny can provide consistency and stability in your child’s life. Ideally, your child’s nanny will be a part of his or her life for many years; she could even grow to become part of the family.
  • Because she’ll be giving your child personal attention, your nanny will have a special one-on-one bond with them. This will also allow her to prepare activities and games that will intellectually stimulate and enrich your child, based on their individual interests.
  • A nanny will often be flexible with her hours, which means if you have a late meeting at work, or need to go in early, she will generally be able to accommodate that. In comparison, a daycare often has set hours that may require you or your partner to rearrange your own work schedules.
  • You’re in control when you have a nanny; as their employer, you have the ability to design their position to fit your family’s needs exactly. When you draw up a nanny contract, you can detail your nanny’s duties and responsibilities to the letter.
  • If you require it, your nanny can also handle daily tasks in the home, such as light housekeeping, preparing meals for the children, or household errands.
  • Your nanny can provide both unstructured and structured opportunities for socialization and play. For example, she may take your child to play at the park, schedule playdates, or enroll them in classes suited to their interests and age group. Many nannies know a network of other nannies who work with children in the same area; this can provide great opportunities for your child to befriend other nearby kids.

Pros: Enrolling Your Child in Daycare

  • Daycares can provide your child with built-in social interaction with other children. Some parents believe this can help only children learn to play well with others.
  • Daycare can be more cost-effective than a nanny. However, if you have multiple children, daycare costs (paid per child enrolled) can skyrocket quickly.
  • Most daycares provide lunches and snacks for the children in their care.

Cons: Hiring a Nanny

  • Parents often find themselves developing a surprisingly strong emotional attachment to their nanny. Because the nanny works in the home and oftentimes stays with a family for years at a time, she can easily become part of the family.
  • It’s true that having a nanny can feel like a luxury. Because you’re the nanny’s employer, the tax situation can also be confusing. However, unlike daycares, nannies don’t charge per child, and some nanny agencies have an in-house payroll service to help you navigate the red tape.
  • If your nanny is sick, late, or needs the day off, this can potentially disrupt your entire day. However, a good nanny understands this and when possible will work out a solution with you well in advance.

Cons: Enrolling Your Child in Daycare

  • Enrolling your child in daycare will absolutely expose them to more germs. This can be good because it can build immunity. However, it may also result in your child getting sick more often. Daycares tend to have a strict policy regarding illness, so if your child is unwell, you will likely need to arrange for emergency childcare or take time off work to stay home with them.
  • Due to a host of societal factors, including long hours and low pay, there is often high turnover at daycare facilities. The constant change in staff members could lead your child to feel inconsistently cared for or expose your child to caregivers who perhaps have less training than they should.
  • Daycares are usually open a specific set of hours. If you work an unusual schedule, you may find yourself having to rearrange your work schedule or arrange for additional evening or early morning childcare.
  • If your child has special needs or is sensitive to external stimuli, they may find daycare overwhelming.

Remember, childcare is a personal decision. It’s important to outline your family’s childcare needs before beginning your search. For further research, feel free to read other posts on our blog, which focuses on the nanny-family relationship, how to find a nanny after maternity leave, what you can expect from a nanny, and a nanny’s typical duties and responsibilities, among other topics. And, if you’d like to find out more about what one of our nannies can do for your family, please contact us today!